James W. Whitlock was born in 1818, probably in Kentucky as were the other members of his family. [Morgan, Wyandotte County, Biographies] On the other hand, the roster of the Legislature lists John's place of nativity as Missouri. [Wilder, Annals, 68] James Whitlock lived in Platte County until 1854, when with his wife, he joined the large group moving to Kansas. [Paxton, Annals, 978] The Whitlocks lived three miles south of Lawrence in 1855, agents on a claim belonging to an absent Missourian. Joseph Savage, a free-state settler remembered his pro-slavery neighbor Whitlock: "Still nearer, on the Saulsbury claim, was then living Jim Whitlock, a member of the first Border Ruffian Legislature at Shawnee Mission. He often came to my spring for water, to use in his family."[Clark, Joseph Savage, Expanded Version on KSHS Website]
Andrew Reeder (1807-1864)
Reeder remained in Kansas after being replaced as first governor.
Since he was from a well-known Platte County family, Whitlock was a natural choice as a candidate for the legislature by the men surrounding David Atchison. He told the Howard Congressional Investigating Committee that he did not campaign at all for the office, since he was ill most of the period from nomination to election. He thought there was a split among the free-state men and the more radical abolitionists. Since the abolitionists picked the candidates, the free-state men did not support their ticket, allowing him to win. [Howard Report, 165, 166]
Former Governor Andrew Reeder and free-state leader Charles Robinson were indicted for treason by a grand jury composed of pro-slavery men at Lecompton in May 1856. Reeder recorded Whitlock's part in the affair in a diary entry on May 7, 1856:
"...James Whitlock (a canting, sneaking scoundrel, who was elected to the bogus Legislature by the 1,000 Missourians that came over to Lawrence and took possession of the polls, and who does the most atrocious things under the garb of piety), suggested that it was important to get out of us all the facts we knew, and that perhaps, if they once presented us for treason, they could not put us through an examination, and if not, the presentment would be better suppressed, and send subpoenas for us first; that we could then be examined, and afterwards be arrested. District Attorney Issaks was sent for, and inquired of whether we could be as well examined after we presented as before, and he of course said 'No.' All of this Whitlock knew as well before, his main object being to bring us to Lecompton on a subpoena, knowing that on a warrant for treason we would not come..."[Reeder, Escape From Kansas, 208]
Whitlock later moved to Leavenworth where he continued to live until his death in 1892. [Paxton, Annals, 978]