James S. McDonolds was born July 11th, 1841, in Branchville, Sussex Co. His parents were Henry and Catherine (Stivers) McDonolds, of Branchville. He attended the common schools of his native town, and was graduated from Allen's Private School at Howard, Pa., after which he removed for a short time to Horseheads, N. Y.
When scarcely twenty years old he enlisted as a private in the Seventh New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, and went to the front. In a very short time he proved himself to be in all respects a brave soldier, and, after a year's service in the ranks, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant of Company D, Fifteenth New Jersey Volunteers. In March, 1863, he was again promoted to the First Lieutenancy of Company H, of the same regiment. This position he held until 1864, when, for bravery on the field and efficient service as an officer, he was made Captain and placed in command of Company B, of his old regiment. This position he retained, doing good service for his country, until May 12th, 1864, when, at the battle of Spottsylvania, he was wounded in both legs and was also shot through the chin, the bullet carrying away the lower part of his jaw. It became necessary to amputate his right leg, and the shock of the operation, in the feeble condition in which he had been left by his recent exertions in battle, rendered his hope of escaping death but slight. For four months he was confined to his bed in the Armory Surgical hospital of Washington, D. C., when, with the best surgical care and the nursing of kind friends, he had improved sufficiently to be removed to his home.
When he left Washington he carried with him an honorable discharge from the army, dated December 15th, 1864. Soon after his discharge from the army he opened a store in Branchville, and was engaged in that business when he was appointed to a position of Register Clerk in the Post Office in New York City.
In 1872 he was appointed Librarian of the State of New Jersey, and then made his home in Trenton. In 1884 he went back to Branchville, having been appointed Postmaster at that place, and there he remained until his death.
Captain McDonalds was married January 1st, 1866, to Frances A. Hendershot, daughter of John and Martha (Struble) Hendershot, of Hampton Township. They have four children: Louis J., Henry J., Morris and Martha, the last two being twins.
Captain McDonolds was a member of Bayard and Aaron Wilkes Posts, G. A. R., of Trenton, and the Captain Walker Post, Branchville, the latter of which he was instrumental in organizing. The Captain James McDonolds Post, Sons of Veterans, received its name from him.