Judge James C. Paul biography

JUDGE JAMES C. PAUL, of Amarillo, is treasurer of the Pecos System and for many years one of the foremost business men, ranchers and farmers of the Panhandle. His identification with the Santa Fe Railroad brought him into this section of Texas, but since he has been here he has given attention not only to the transportation and commercial features of the country but to its industries, and especially to the development of its agricultural resources. Judge Paul has firm faith, founded on over fifteen years’ experience, in the Panhandle as can agricultural center, where the varied fruits of the soil may, by proper care and intelligent industry, be raised in the same or greater profusion than in supposedly more favored localities. And his enthusiasm born of conviction has borne much fruit, and during the period of his residence here the country around Amarillo has grown with a rapidity and permanence that make it today one of the most remarkable regions in the state.

Judge Paul is a vigorous man of fifty odd years, with a wealth of vitality and the energizing power which are essential to the control of large affairs. He was born in Augusta county, Virginia, September 15, 1852, a son of James M. and Susan (Kiger) Paul, both of whom were Virginians by birth and training, and died in that state, in 1892 and in 1882, respectively. His father was a life-long farmer in Augusta county.

The son James C. was reared on a farm, and his early education was received in the schools of his vicinity. When he was twenty years old he left home surroundings and came as far west as Illinois. He finished his education in the Illinois State University at Champaign and after graduation he went to Iowa, locating on a farm near Rock Rapids, where he carried on a successful farming business for several years. About the time the great boom began at Wichita, Kansas, he moved to that place and went into the real estate business. He bought property which at that time was held at enormous figures, and he still owns considerable Wichita real estate.

He later became connected with the building of the Southern Kansas division of the Santa Fe Railway southwest into the Texas Panhandle, and in 1887 he moved to Panhandle City, in what is now Carson county, although at that time no counties had been organized in the Panhandle, or at least none with organized county governments of their own. Mr. Paul as treasurer of the Southern Kansas Railway, had his headquarters at Panhandle City, which was then the terminus of the line and was just beginning its career as a booming western town. In that town, also in 1887, he established the first bank of the Panhandle, called the Panhandle Bank. He made his home at Panhandle City for some fourteen years, and besides his other varied interests he carried on a large ranch and farm, and experimented and raised for profit all the grains and cereals and fruits of which the soil and climate are capable. During the same period also, he was elected judge of Carson county, being one of the leaders of public opinion and action as long as he resided in the county.

By 1900 the importance of Panhandle City as a commercial center had been much over-shadowed by Amarillo, with its several railroads, and in that year he removed to the latter city, which has since been his home. But even before this time, however, he had acquired important interests in the town, having, among other things, in 1894 helped to organize the Amarillo National Bank, of which he was president for four years. In the meantime the Santa Fe people had extended the Southern Kansas Railway in a southwesterly direction through Amarillo to Roswell, New Mexico, and Pecos, Texas, making Amarillo a division point and the official headquarters of the road. The branch from Amarillo to Pecos is known as the Pecos Valley Railway, and, with the original line, the Southern Kansas, is called the Pecos System. This five hundred miles of road extends from Woodward, Oklahoma, to Pecos, Texas. Of this important transportation system, which has meant so much in the development of the southwest, Mr. Paul is treasurer. He is otherwise prominent in the city of his residence, and at the present writing is president of the Amarillo board of trade.

Mr. Paul’s first wife, to whom he was married in Chicago, was Miss Nina Darby. She died in Panhandle City in 1892, leaving two sons, Frank and Howard. In April, 1904, Judge Paul married, at Paris, Miss Cora Bryant.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 279-280.