James M. Trimble biography

JAMES W. TRIMBLE, the subject of this family record and the founder of this branch of one of Texas’ ancient families in Clay county, is a gentleman revered for his manly qualities, a citizen esteemed for his public spirit and air of progress, and a farmer admired for his energy, thrift and expending tendencies and for the businesslike management and conduct of his personal affairs. The time was not when he was not a Texan. His father and grandfather Trimble founded the family in the Lone Star republic away back in the early forties and they were men of standing and wide acquaintance in Red River county, where their settlement was made. The patriarchs of that county yet testify to a personal knowledge of Judge William Trimble, an advocate at the bar, who came among them at an advanced age and practiced his profession at Clarksville until his death, about 1853. The latter was our subject’s paternal ancestor and he emigrated to Texas from Hempstead county, Arkansas, where he won the legal title with which he was afterward honored. He was born in Kentucky, read law and was admitted to the bar there and made his home in Texas about three miles east of Clarksville, on his newly-opened farm. Judge Trimble’s family consisted of David, our subject’s father; Sarah, who married W. J. F. Morgan, and died in Jefferson, Texas; Lucinda, who married Mordaci Fleming, of Red River county; John, who passed away in Navarro county; Maria, who became the wife of Thomas Halsell, of Wise county; William, who died in Red River county; James H., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Isaac.

David Trimble was of Kentucky birth, and in that state and in Arkansas he was reared. He seemed to be the family prodigy, for his hand was adapted to any of the trades, and whether as carpenter, blacksmith, wheelwright or at the lathe his genius for mechanics shown always to his advantage. He served in the Confederate army through the Civil war and spent his later life at his trades in Hays and Wise counties, in which latter he died in 1883. In his political beliefs he was a Democrat and in religious sentiment he professed Christianity and held to the tenets of the Christian denomination. For his first wife David Trimble married Ellen Sims, a daughter of J. W. Sims, who came to Texas from Louisiana and was a farmer in Red River county. Mrs. Trimble died in early life, leaving children: James W., our subject; Kate; William D., of Oklahoma; and Monroe, who did not reach maturity. For his second wife David Trimble married Cornelia Hopkins, who is yet a resident of Austin, Texas, and has a son, Charles, of San Antonio.

James W. Trimble’s boyhood advantages were poor, for he was growing into manhood when the Civil war was on, when there was no thought of anything but “win the fight.” His parents lived two years in Austin in his youth and during that period he obtained his chief knowledge of books. Subsequent to his attaining his majority he began life on his own account as a cowboy, spending a year with Tom Burton, whose ranch lay in Hayes county. He then returned to the place of his birth, Red River county, and engaged in farming, and followed it in a temporary sort of way for eight years. The nucleus of his real start in life was four hundred dollars in gold and a horse and saddle. In 1882 he moved to Wise county, bought land, raw and in the open, improved and cultivated much of it and sold the two hundred and fifteen acres in 1889 and invested the proceeds in Clay county land. Here his labors have been satisfactorily, rewarded and his estate of nine hundred and sixty acres, fenced and cross-fenced, much of it with net wire, and with permanent and comfortable buildings and other fixtures, is one of the centers of interest about Halsell. His place is abundantly stocked, and three hundred and fifty acres of its soil respond to the turning process of the plow and yield in season abundantly of the products of a North Texas farm.

July 15, 1871, Mr. Trimble married Sallie Davis, a daughter of Iredell Davis, of Red River county, the ceremony being performed by Rev. Anderson at the home of Mr. Davis. Martha Fleming was the maiden name of his wife’s mother and her other children were: Edward, Narcissa, wife of J. H. Trimble; Mary E., the present wife of our subject; Joseph, of Red River county; Abbie, who married Henry Whiteman, of Clarksville; Columbia, wife of Thomas Peak, of Red River county ; and Matthew, also of that county. Mrs. Sallie Trimble died November 12, 1879, and on the 23d of September, 188o, Mr. Trimble married her older sister, Mary E., born July 19, 1844. Three children came to bless the home of Mr. Trimble by his first marriage, viz: Polly wife of W. A. Chowning, of Clay county, with children Lloyd, Alvis and William A., Jr.; Kate, deceased wife of attorney R. E. Taylor, of Henrietta, left issue at her death, February 29, 1904, Cedrick; and Abbie Trimble who married J. A. Pierce and died July 5, 1901, being the mother of two children, J. A., Jr., and Abbie. A son, David, was born to the second marriage of Mr. Trimble, but he passed away at two years of age.

In his capacity as a Democrat Mr. Trimble has a record of attendance on county conventions of his party, and as a fair-minded citizen he has been called to serve as a school trustee more than a third of his natural life. He confesses to a firm belief in the Christian religion, is a Methodist and a Blue Lodge Mason.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 431-433.