CAPTAIN JAMES M. KINDRED, postmaster of Amarillo, is a leader in public-spirited enterprise in this flourishing city of the Panhandle, and it is to men of just such energetic and progressive caliber as he that Amarillo and the surrounding country owe their rapid development of the past few years. Courageous and resolute in whatever he undertakes, broad-gauged and liberal in his interests, and exceedingly popular with all classes of citizens, Captain Kindred has naturally made himself an important factor and has been a doer of things in every community where any part of his lifetime has been passed. He has lived in Amarillo almost from the inception of the town, and for the past ten years has been permanently and closely identified with the welfare of the place.
Born in Madison county, Kentucky, March 27, 1837, he was a son of Lorenzo Dow and Mary Jane (Varner) Kindred. His father, a native of Kentucky and of Virginia parentage, whose ancestors came from England, was a farmer in Madison county nearly all his life and died there in 1899 at the age of eighty-three years. The mother, of German ancestry, is also deceased, having passed away in Madison county.
The old farm in Madison county was the scene of Captain Kindred’s earlier efforts and rearing to useful manhood. He was well privileged from an educational standpoint, and after his school days were over he began teaching school. He was engaged in that occupation in Estill county, Kentucky, at the time of the breaking out of the Civil war. Enlisting as a private in Company E, Eighth Kentucky Infantry, of the Union army, he served with that regiment as long as it was with the army, it being attached to the Army of the Cumberland. From a private in the ranks he was almost at the beginning of his service made a quartermaster sergeant, and through subsequent promotions, based on bravery and meritorious service, he became quartermaster of his regiment, with the rank of first lieutenant and the pay of captain. Just prior to the battle at Chattanooga he hauled the last train of Federal supplies to Lookout Mountain, and his was the first regiment of the Union army to plant the flag above the clouds on that mountain. The Eighth Kentucky was all over Tennessee two or three times, and also in Kentucky. Captain Kindred was in a number of important battles. After the battle of Kenesaw Mountain the regiment continued no further with Sherman’s army, but Captain Kindred went on to the siege of Atlanta with supplies, and at the end of the war he was mustered out at Louisville.
A short time after his return to Madison county and his re-engaging in school teaching he was elected sheriff of the county to fill out an unexpired term, and remained in that county for about two years after the war. After a brief experience in Washington county as a school teacher he went to Louisville and became a commercial salesman, a line of business which he made his principal occupation until a few years since. As a “drummer” he was on the road throughout the southern states for nearly thirty years, representing a number of prominent houses in St. Louis and Louisville. Fifteen years ago, in 1889, he moved out to Amarillo, Texas, to make this his home, and bought a ranch in Randall county, the operation of which, however, he turned over to his son-in-law, and he himself continued on the road for five or six years longer. In 1895 he gave up traveling altogether and took charge of the Amarillo Hotel, which he conducted very successfully for two years and a half.
Captain Kindred has held the office of postmaster since June, 1898, when he received the appointment from the late President McKinley. In the subsequent six years he has rendered a most excellent and progressive administration of the postal affairs of the city. Only recently he has secured free city delivery, and the way in which he worked for this indicates the enterprising energy with which he undertakes every worthy work. He had no sooner become the incumbent of the office when he began a systematic effort to get Amarillo from a third to a second class office, and in this he was successful, When the postal receipts Were brought to the necessary limit when a free-delivery system might be legally demanded, the authorities from Washington could not yet be satisfied by the absence of good sidewalks, lights and house numbers, so that a civic campaign had to be waged for municipal improvements. The city council was stirred to activity, the postal inspector was convinced of the reasonableness of Captain Kindred’s demands, and in the end free delivery was installed and the city has taken one more long step in advance. Captain Kindred is also interested in improvements outside of the postoffice, in fact is foremost in every enterprise that means better schools and institutions, ampler growth and the permanent welfare of Amarillo. He is an active worker on the board of trade, and his services are in demand and freely furnished whenever a plan is on foot to plant some other industry or enlarge the commercial influence of his adopted city. Captain Kindred is a leader of the Republican party in Texas, and it is said that, by reason of his great popularity, if it were possible to elect any Republican in Texas he would be “it.” In July, 1904, he was honored by the Republicans of the thirteenth congressional district by being nominated for congress, and he made an excellent run at the fall elections. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order.
Captain Kindred married first Josephine E. Cooper, of Lebanon, Kentucky, in 1866, who died fourteen years later in Lebanon, leaving one child, Minnie C., now wife of C. H. Lelfwich. In 1881 he married Mrs. Maria (Haner) Rodman, a native of Scott county, Kentucky.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 280-281.