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James E. Vaughan

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Lieutenant Junior Grade James E. Vaughan, USN (ret.) “was born and reared in eastern Kentucky. He attended Michigan State College and served in the U. S. Navy during World War II, achieving the rank of lieutenant (jg). He received his BA in mathematics and physics from Oklahoma University in 1947, and his MSE degree in 1962. He managed a commercial broadcast station in Miami, Florida for a time before moving with his wife Wanda Lee to an Arkansas farm in 1955, where he lived for 50 years, teaching and writing. He was member of the Arkansas Educational Telecommunications Commission from 1980 to 1988, and played a major role in establishing a statewide academic competition known as Quiz Bowl, which endures to this day.”


Lieutenant Junior Grade James E. Vaughan is the author of Bankmules: The Story of Van Lear, a Kentucky Coal Town and The Alchymist and The Silurist: A Historical Novel.


According to the book description of The Alchymist and The Silurist: A Historical Novel, it “is a historical novel based on the sometimes tortured life of Thomas Vaughan, the 17th-century Welsh Anglican pastor, who became obsessed with alchemy, and his twin brother Henry, the mystical poet known as the Silurist, distant kinsmen of 83 year-old author James E. Vaughan.


When Thomas Vaughan's church was taken down by Puritan rebels, he sailed to America to meet a Harvard scientist named George Starkey, nee George Stirke, who was said to be pursuing the same goal as Thomas. Upon landing at a port on the River of De La Warr, he was met by Andrew Boynton, a tall red-headed stranger who introduced him to a tribe of Lenni-Lenape Native Americans. He spent a year amongst the Lenni- Lenape, met and mated with a lovely Lenape maiden, and returned to England where he resumed his scientific experiments in the King's laboratory at Whitehall. Oxford University, the English Civil War and the Plague all play key roles in the telling of this story.


The different character traits of the twin brothers were not always discernable even to close friends, who often mistakenly regarded them as identical in personality as well as in appearance, witness the comments of their friend Thomas Powell of Cantref, who once remarked, "What Planet rul'd your birth? What wittie star? That you so like in Souls as Bodies are! Not only your faces, but your wits are twins."


Stories of the controversial alchymist Thomas Vaughan were revived some two hundred years after his death by a roguish French writer named Gabrielle Jogand-Pages who, under the pen name Leo Taxil, created elaborate hoaxes, pitting Freemasons against Catholics. Taxil published a series of salacious accounts of the activities of a young American girl named Diana Vaughan, who had journeyed to Paris hoping to prove her kinship to the 17th-century Welsh scientist. The Alchymist and The Sillurist will be followed by its sequel Diana and Leo.”

The Alchymist and The Silurist: A Historical Novel
James E. Vaughan  More Info

Bankmules: The Story on Van Lear, a Kentucky Coal Town
James E. Vaughan  More Info

The MOAA said of Bankmules: The Story of Van Lear, a Kentucky Coal Town, “In the summer of 1934, the town of Van Lear seemed an idyllic place to young James Vaughan and his buddies, even though it was also the time of the Great Depression. Here in this personal account, an older Vaughan shares his warm memories of growing up in Van Lear and recalls many incidents from the history of the town – a town created by the Consolidation Coal Company to serve its new mines along Millers Creek in Johnson County, Ky.”

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