“William Earl James was born July 24, 1887, at Arkadelphia, Alabama, the son of James M. James and Mary Rice James. He was educated in the public schools of Blount and Cullman Counties, Alabama, and in law at the University of Alabama and a member of the First Baptist Church of Cullman, Alabama.
He served in the United States Army in World War I, beginning as a private and finishing as a Captain of Field Artillery. Bro. James was engaged in the practice of law in Cullman, Alabama, and served as State Senator in the Alabama Legislature for 1927.
William Earl James was initiated in Cullman Fraternal Lodge No. 421 of Cullman, Alabama, on May 8, 1911, passed May 23, 1911, and raised by the then Deputy Grand Master, Henry C. Miller on June 26, 1911. After having filled all the other chairs in that lodge, he was elected Worshipful Master of the same in June 1917 and again in June 1919. In the Grand Lodge of Alabama, he served as District Lecturer for a number of years and on December 1, 1937, was elected Junior Grand Warden and was regularly advanced and on December 2, 1942, was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master.
He received the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite from the 4th to the 32nd in the Bodies of the Rite in Birmingham, Alabama in 1919. He received the Honorary degree of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 1942. He was a member of Cullman Chapter No. 35, Order of the Eastern Star of Cullman, Alabama. He was a member of Zamora Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. of Birmingham, Alabama. He was a Past Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias of Alabama.
Brother James was a man of genial disposition, cultured and friendly. He enjoyed the company of his brethren and was ever ready to give of his time, energy and ability to serve and benefit our fraternity and humanity. These qualities endeared him to all who knew him. Past Grand Master William Earl James departed this life on May 22, 1968.
His Past Grand Master brethren have written of him. “While he never married he gave unstintingly of his time to counseling youth of his church and community. We who knew him felt that in his own mind his proudest achievement was his service to the Masonic Home, Farm and Dairy, the children and elderly who resided there while he was active in the administration of the affairs of the Grand Lodge.” May we render true thanksgiving to the Great Architect of the Universe for the examples and inspirations of this departed Brother.”