JAMES TAMBLING STALLINGS. In his capacity as a citizen the subject of this review has filled a niche in the civil and industrial development of Montague county, and the quarter of a century which he has passed within its limits have been years of rural effort which told and had its bearing on the great aggregate of substantial results achieved for the county. Coming hither as a sort of second relief, rather than a pioneer settler, he found but scarce a beginning made in the direction of nature’s reduction, and the civilized and enlightened community of today was only a hope, a wish, in the breast of the isolated settler.
The stock and farming interests of Montague county have known James T. Stallings ever since his advent to the county in 1877. The new, unopened farm which he bought at that time was a tract of a quarter section of Hill county school land, near Queens Peak, then a little settlement near one of the conspicuous natural landmarks of the county, and this tract he ever afterward made his home. He made a success of his stock venture, and as the years passed and his circumstances justified he expanded, by purchase, his original domain until he owned a section of land. As age crept upon him and his physical powers were curtailed and his family support dropped off one by one it became desirable to diminish his real holdings to conform to the boundaries of his original homestead, and today we find him in semi-retirement, a modest farmer and in possession of a competence sufficient for his future needs.
It was in 1868 that Mr. Stallings came to Texas, and he settled in Denton county, where he pursued his favorite vocation until his entry into Montague county. He was an emigrant from Jackson parish, Louisiana, where he had lived since 1847, when his father, Jeptha G. Stallings, established the family from Russell county, Alabama. In this latter county and state he was born February 7, 1840.
The Stallings were of Irish origin, and the American ancestor who founded the family in Virginia, was the great-grandfather of our subject, James Stallings, a native Irishman. The latter married a Scotch lady, a Miss Pogue, and of their family of three sons and two daughters, James, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Virginia. The parents afterward migrated into the state of Georgia, where they died, and from whence their posterity scattered over various states of the American union.
James Stallings the second was born and came to man’s estate in Jones county, Georgia, where he married Mary Huff, who bore him five sons and six daughters. He devoted his life to the farm and died in Jackson Parish, Louisiana, in 1862.
Jeptha G. Stallings was born in Jones county, Georgia, in 1807, and married Frances, a daughter of Tambling King. He went into Alabama and was a farmer there until his removal to Louisiana in 1847. His wife died in Louisiana in 1856, the mother of six children, and w hen he came to Texas he located first in Smith county, then lived awhile in Navarro, afterward a season in Denton and finally to Montague county, where he died at the home of his son in 1903. During his active life he was known in local politics, a leader of a minority party. He was first a Democrat, became an adherent of the American or Know-Nothing party, and when it ceased to exist he gave his voice to more or less independence in politics, until the formation of the Populist party, when he cast his lot with it. He was a man of opinions and capable of expressing them intelligently in private or in public, and he had some reputation as a public speaker. In his church relations he was a Missionary Baptist.
The surviving children of Jeptha G. and Frances Stallings are: Lavonia L., widow of Matthew Lindsey, of Bowie; James T., of this notice; Laura J., who married James Alsabrook, of Ryan, Indian Territory, and Harriet M., wife of James Simmons, of Denton county. Those children who died leaving families are: Missouri, who married Clinton Pipes and died in Louisiana, and Fannie C., wife of James Brown, who passed away in the same state.
James T. Stallings secured a liberal education in the Louisiana school prior to the war, and was in uninterrupted enjoyment of the farm until the outbreak of the rebellion. He enlisted April 21, 1861, in Company K, Second Louisiana, which regiment was sent to Virginia, where it became a part of Longstreet’s division. It was in the Yorktown campaign and on Lee’s second invasion of the north, where, at the battle of Gettysburg, Mr. Stallings was wounded, putting him out of service for six months. He rejoined his regiment and remained in Virginia, aiding in the desperate fighting of the last two years of the war, and being on the ground with the army at Appomattox when General Lee gave up the struggle and the war ended.
Resuming civil life, Mr. Stallings renewed his acquaintance with the farm and confined his efforts to Louisiana until his removal to Texas in 1868. July 19, 1866, he married Miss Susie Calcote, a daughter of Levi G. Calcote. Mrs. Stallings was born in Louisiana in 1849 and is the mother of: James B., of New Mexico; Rufus J. and Jeptha G., of the Chickasaw Nation; Lee C., of Oklahoma; L. Alsabrook, of Portales, New Mexico, and Oscar C. and Walter J., yet with the old home. The daughters are Nellie J., wife of Jesse P. Darrow, of Montague county; Laura J. and Katie J., still with the parental home.
Mr. Stallings has taken little interest in politics of late years, but is a Democrat, and has served in whatever official capacity he has been chosen. In 178 he was elected justice of his precinct, and he filled the office for eight consecutive years. In 1904 he was again chosen, and is performing the duties of the office with satisfaction to the public. He has not been a professional joiner, and is a member of no society, beyond that of Bowie Pelham Camp, U. C. V., of which he is adjutant.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 535-537.