James Maxwell biography

JAMES MAXWELL is by birth a son of Tennessee, by adoption of Texas, the greater part of his life, however, having been passed in the latter state. He was born in Polk county, Tennessee, July 23, 1852, and his father, Reuben Maxwell, was likewise a native of that state. While living there he was engaged in educational work for some time and he also served as justice of the peace in Polk county. About 1851 he was married there to Miss Rachael Bond, likewise a native of Tennessee and a daughter of Amon Bond, who with his family started for Texas the day after his daughter’s marriage. He settled in Cherokee county, there devoting his attention to the stock raising industry and when the settlers began raising cotton in the locality he left the county and went to Hood county. He was a member of the advance guard that opened up the state to civilization, being the means of inducing other settles to come to Texas. He was one of the first to locate on the west side of the Brazos river in Hood county. Reuben Maxwell and his family, then numbering wife and four children, followed the Bond family in 1859, also locating in Hood county. Mr. Maxwell settled on land that is now within three hundred yards of where the college stands in the city of Granbury and at that place he made his home until after the breaking out of the Civil war in 1861. The following year he enlisted in the Confederate army, but as he was in delicate health he was unable to stand the hardships of military life and died soon afterward in the service. At that time the grandfather Bond joined the Maxwell boys in an attempt to make a living through general farming and stock raising. It was at a period when western Texas was still a pioneer district. At times they would encounter Indians who inhabited the country, and on one occasion James Maxwell, when going to mill with his twin brothers about eight miles from home, discovered a small band of Indians whom they supposed were coming toward them. They were small boys at the time, and not wishing to have any trouble, James Maxwell concluded that he would ride the old blind horse that he was on to the cedar brakes along the bank of the river and there leave him and make his escape as best he could, but in the meantime the Indians had become scared away, probably by a band of cowboys near by, and instead of making toward the two lads turned and rode in another direction.

James Maxwell continued to reside in Hood county until after he attained his majority. He was married there to Miss Ellen Gafford, who was reared in Arkansas, the wedding being celebrated January 8, 1873. The young couple began their domestic life in Hood county, where they remained until 1890, Mr. Maxwell devoting his time and energies to farming and stock raising. In that year, however, he disposed of his business interests there and with his family came to Jones county, where he purchased land and was engaged in farming and stock raising until 1896. In that year he abandoned agricultural pursuits and removed to Anson, where he turned his attention to the hotel business, erecting a hotel which he conducted successfully until the time of the big fire which occurred on the 8th of January, 1904. His hostelry was then entirely destroyed and other valuable property which he owned in the city was sacrificed to the conflagration. In the fall of the same year Mr. Maxwell was called to public office by his fellow townsmen, who elected him to the position of county assessor of Jones county, in which capacity he has since served.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell was blessed with seven children, of whom three are now living, Reuben, Ora B. and Pearl. The first mentioned enlisted for service in the Spanish American war and was with his command throughout the period of hostilities, being stationed first at Porto Rico [sic] and afterward in Cuba, where he was in active duty when the war closed. Mr. Maxwell has belonged to the Masonic fraternity for about twenty years and has filled all the more important chairs in the Blue lodge. For a quarter of a century he has been a member of the Methodist church and is consistent in his religious views and in his adherency to the principles and teachings of the church.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 517.