James Azriah Frazar biography

JAMES AZRIAH FRAZAR. In the subject of this biographical notice we present one of Clay county’s widely known citizens whose business life is spanned by three generations of Texas history and whose business career, from its inception to the present, presents a succession of achievements worthy the emulation of our ambitious youth and meriting the applause of a generous and feeling public. First we see him assuming the conduct of the home farm, as a stripling of a youth, just after the Civil War, next we see him established as a merchant and man of affairs in the little community near Eagle Lake, in southern Texas, where he lived, and finally, in the height of his successes, we see him with plantations numbering thousands of acres, with a mercantile stock amounting to many thousand dollars, with the ginning and other interests of the little village, grown to manhood, the creator of a large fortune and the master of an industrial and commercial situation seldom paralleled in any locality in Texas.

The origin of the Frazars of this name is, at this date, not definitely known. Tradition tells us that a grand ancestor of James A. Frazar “ran away” from home as a youth and to escape recognition changed the spelling of the name from “Frazier” to its present form. However this may be, J. W. Frazar, grandfather of our subject, was born in North Carolina in 1807, was married and reared his family in Alabama and Tennessee, and in 1854 located on the Cibola, near San Antonio, Texas. He was a stockman and farmer and was a half brother to the Overfeel who was killed in the Alamo with Crockett, Bowie and other fathers of the Republic of Texas.

At the time of his advent to the state settlers as far west as they were frequently raided by the Comanche Indians and their stock driven off, slaves killed and citizens occasionally murdered. At almost every full moon these enemies of the white man were certain to appear in some frontier settlement and leave behind them a trail of human blood. The visitation of locusts in 1857 was more disastrous to settlers than Indian depredations, for all vegetation was consumed. Cattle were not fit to eat, fish tasted as locusts and water was barely fit for use. It was a hundred and fifty miles to good meat and the Frazars abandoned their Cibola settlement and dropped down near Eagle Lake in Wharton county, where their residence was afterward maintained.

The Frazars came to Texas direct from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where, on Shelby Pike, the family settled from its Alabama home. It was in the latter state that Isaac J. Frazar, the father of our subject, was born. His mother was Sarah Jamison, who died near Murfreesboro, while her husband died at Columbus, Texas, in 1886. Isaac J., Mrs. Amanda Kimbro and George W. Frazar, of San Antonio, were the issue of their marriage.

Isaac J. Frazar followed his father’s occupation until after the war, when he studied medicine, passed the required examination for a physician’s license and began the practice of medicine. From his country seat near Eagle Lake he rode far and near in the successful pursuit of his profession and his professional ability and unalloyed citizenship made him a character widely and popularly known. In Tennessee he married Elmira Kimbro, a daughter of James Kimbro, who passed his life near Murfreesboro on the farm. Mrs. Frazar died in her Wharton county home in 1884, her husband having preceded her in 1873 at forty-five years old. Their children were: James A., of this review; William K., who died at Eagle Lake and left a family; Robert B., who passed away at Frazarville; Annie G., wife of T. Y. Mason, of Frazarville.

The earliest impressions of Texas life with James A. Frazar were those made at their first location on the Cibola. He has lived on the frontier, so to speak, all his life, and.the open country and the pure air have always been his. A Catholic college at San Antonio provided him with a good education and at about sixteen years of age he took charge of the Frazar home and stock, while his father practiced medicine, and went to work. In response to the demands of his community he established a store, a gin and then a blacksmith shop and his management of all these enterprises brought good results, and several plantations came into his hands by purchase with the profits of his healthy and radical business policy. The little hamlet where his commercial interests existed was named Frazarville in his honor and all its business and the townsite itself was owned by him. Although he severed his active connection with his Wharton county affairs in 1890, and came to Clay county in March of that year, he did not finally dispose of all his holdings till two years later.

Among his initial acts on identifying himself with Clay county was the reopening of the failed Farmers’ National Bank in which he was a heavy stockholder. This was done that he might save the stockholders from apparent heavy losses, and he was engaged some five years in the winding up of its affairs. In recent years his farming and grazing interests have employed his time. Cattle feeding in connection with Mr. W. B. Worsham for several years, at Greenville, Texas, and of late. years alone, on his home ranch and at Tishomingo, Indian Territory, he fattens annually about two hundred and fifty head of steers. He owns a little ranch of nearly seventeen hundred acres on the Little Wichita river and Duck creek and has one thousand acres leased near by.

Mr. Frazar was first married in Wharton county, in March, 1880, to Agnes J. Smith, who died in 1885, leaving two sons, Isaac J., of Kaw, Oklahoma, and Edward B. In May, 1888, Mr. Frazar married Miss Mattie Morris, a daughter of Delaware and Hattie E. (Warren) Morris. The former died in Henrietta in 1900 at eighty-six years of age, being the second oldest Mason in Texas. He came to this state from Eufala, Alabama, in 187, and was a merchant in Egypt, in Wharton county, for some years. He was a Georgian by birth, was the father of three children and buried his wife at Austin, Texas, in September, 1881. Of his children Mrs. Frazar was born March 22, 1866, and was the oldest; Richard A. resides near Portales, New Mexico, and Mamie D., wife of L. C. Gibbon, resides in Decatur, Texas.

Mr. Frazar’s second family of children consists of James A., Jr., born January 30, 1891; Morris, born July 27, 1853; Worsham, born April 14, 1895. Like his father Mr. Frazar is a Royal Arch Mason, joining the order in Eagle Lake. and taking his chapter degree in Columbus, Texas. He is well preserved for a man of his years, being born February 7, 1851, and the weight of business cares for nearly forty years sit comparatively lightly on his shoulders’ and he gives promise of many years of usefulness to come.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 15-16.