JAMES C. POWELL is a stock farmer of Wichita county and owes his success entirely to his own efforts. He has placed his dependence upon the substantial qualities of industry and energy and upon this has builded a prosperity which makes him one of the substantial residents of his community. He was born at Winchester, Franklin county, Tennessee, in 1835, a son of George W. and Sarah Ann (Cawker) Powell. His father was a native of England and during his infancy was brought to the United States by his parents, who located first in Virginia and afterward removed to Tennessee. For many years George W. Powell carried on agricultural pursuits in Franklin county, Tennessee, and there died during the latter part of the Civil war. His wife, who was born and reared in North Carolina, died at their Tennessee home in 1877.
James C. Powell spent his boyhood days upon the home farm and was early trained to habits of industry, integrity and perseverance, thus laying the foundation for an honorable career. The Powell family were opposed to slavery and to secession, and sharing in these views James C. Powell soon after the outbreak of the Civil war went to Elizabethtown, Hardin county, Illinois, where he enlisted as a defender of the Union, becoming a member of Company C, Forty-eighth Illinois infantry. The regiment was sent south to Fort Henry and Mr. Powell participated in the engagement there and at Fort Donelson. In the battle of Shiloh he was severely wounded, but when he had recovered his health he rejoined his regiment and was with Sherman’s army in all of its campaigns. He participated in the siege of Corinth and in other important battles in Mississippi and was again wounded at Jackson that state. He was in the leading engagements of the Atlanta campaign, marched with Sherman in the celebrated march to the sea, and afterward took part in the Carolina campaign, going on then to Richmond and to Washington, where he participated in the Grand Review, the most celebrated military pageant that has ever occurred on the western hemisphere. Later the regiment was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, to do post guard duty and remained there until August, 1865, when the members were mustered out of the service. The company had started to the front more than four years before with one hundred and four men and of these only fifteen were left to be mustered out. Although twice wounded Mr. Powell remained with his command to the last, never faltering in the performance of any military duty assigned him and he returned to his home with a most creditable war record.
After the cessation of hostilities Mr. Powell established his home in Jefferson county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for about eleven years. In 1876 he returned to the south, locating near Paris in Lamar county, Texas, where he resided for fifteen years or until 1891, when he came to Wichita Falls. Here he owns three hundred and sixty acres of land and is successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising. Throughout the greater part of his life his attention has been directed to that line of business activity and the success he has achieved therein is due entirely to his own labors, careful management and unfaltering endeavor.
Mr. Powell was married in Jefferson county, Illinois, to Miss Mary Jane Carr and they have children: Minnie, Jennie, Thomas, Ella, Murl and Fred. Mr. Powell has served as school trustee of district No. 2, and is interested in all that pertains to the upbuilding and advancement of his community along social, material and intellectual lines. In manner he is free from all ostentation and display, but his intrinsic worth is recognized and his friendship is most prized by those who know him best, showing that his character will bear the scrutiny of close acquaintance. He is a generous- spirited, broad-minded man, a true type of the American spirit and an embodiment of that progress which in the last few years has drawn to this country the admiring gaze of the nations of the world.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 209-210.