James was a farmer most of his life. I am not sure what his education was like but I do believe he was a Methodist.
He grew up in Douglassville, which according to the TexasEscapes.com website was started the same year he was born:
First settled in the 1850s, settler John Douglass is the community’s namesake.His grandmother Sarah Heath Chappell Hardy died about 1876, when James was about 22.
First settlers migrated from Alabama and Georgia and modeled their Red River community after the plantations they left behind.
A post office was opened in 1854 and only closed in 1990 – a run of 136 years. In 1884 it had a population around 150 which slowly increased to 176 by 1900.
Most of the 20th Century history of Douglassville is unavailable. The population in 1980 was given as 228 and the 1990 population was 192.
On 29 August 1877, when James was 23, his sister Martha Timmie Warren died at age 19.
He started appearing on the Cass County tax assessment rolls for state and county taxes as "J C Warren" in 1877 and subsequently appeared on the county's 1878, 1880, 1881, 1882, and 1883 rolls. He was taxed for land, horses, carriages/buggies, and some miscellaneous items. The 1880 U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules reveals more specifics about his farming:
|[Non-Population Census, Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 6, Cass, Texas]|
Looking at the record above, it shows James Warren was the owner and rents for shares of products:
80 acres tilled, including fallow and grass in rotation (whether pasture of meadows)
90 unimproved acres, woodland and forest
$1500 farm value, including land, fences, and buildings
$100 value of farming implements and machinery
$400 value of live stock
$50 cost of building and repairing fences in 1879
$1200 estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879
2 horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880
3 mules and asses, all ages, on hand June 1, 1879
4 milch cows on hand June 1, 1880
10 other meat cattle on hand, June 1, 1880
4 calves dropped, 1879
1 cattle slaughtered, all ages, 1879
1 cattle died, strayed, and stolen, and not recovered, all ages, 1879
100lbs cheese made on the farm in 1879
25 swine on hand June 1, 1880
50 barnyard poultry on hand June 1st, 1880, exclusive of spring hatching
10 other poultry on hand June 1st, 1880, exclusive of spring hatching
100 dozen eggs produced in 1879
40 acres of Indian corn, 1879
500 bushels of Indian corn, 1879
40 acres of cotton, 1879
20 bales of cotton, 1879
50 bushels of Canada peas (dry), in 1879
1 acre potatoes (Sweet), 1879
100 bushels of potatoes (Irish), 1879
100 cords of wood cut in 1879
$100 value of all forest products sold or consumed in 1879
James married Nancy Elizabeth "Nannie" Freeman (1857-1934) on 15 December 1885 in Johnson County, Texas, when he was 31. I don't know how they met but I suspect that since both of their families had lived some time in Cotton Valley, Macon, Alabama, the families had likely kept in touch, even though they lived in different parts of Texas.
1886 was an eventful year. I am not quite sure where they lived at first. James' mother Mattie died on his 32nd birthday, 9 May 1886. His first daughter, Mattie Lizzie Warren was born 6 months later on 1 November 1886. Tragically she died before the age of 3 on 10 September 1889, when James was 35. James then appeared on the 1889 and 1893 Cass County tax assessment rolls again.
James and Nannie must have had a terrible time in 1889 and 1890, having lost their only child. They finally had a second child, Henry H Warren, born about 1891, when James was about 37. James had further losses with his father Jesse T.S. Warren dying on 26 January 1894 and sister Fannie Warren McGee on 17 September 1895.
They were definitely living in Cleburne, Johnson, Texas by the time their third child, James Chappell Warren Jr (my great grandfather), was born on 8 April 1897. James Sr was then almost 43. James and Nannie's last child, Mary Anna Warren, was born 11 Dec 1899.
Cleburne was one of the stops on the Santa Fe railroad line, below both Ft Worth and Dallas. Unlike Douglassville, Cleburne was a growing city with quick access to a big city like Dallas, which would have likely opened up more opportunities for James' children.
|[An Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Route Map from the 1891 (title Grain Dealers and Shippers Gazetteer), from Wikipedia]|
They appeared to live in a different place by the time the 1917 Cleburne City directory was published, as they were living at 709 W Chambers St, Cleburne, Texas (the original home appears to still be there if you look at Google maps). Son James Jr. was also living with them, as he appeared at the same address on the following page.
|[James and Nannie in the 1917 Cleburne city directory: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Title : Cleburne, Texas, City Directory, 1917]|
James and Nannie must have moved the following year, or purchased another property, as James Jr. indicated on his World War I Draft Registration Card on 5 June 1918 as living and working for his father at #4 Alvarado, Johnson, Texas, almost 13 miles east of the Chambers address.
|[James Chappell Jr.'s WWI Draft Registration Card showing address, Registration State: Texas; Registration County: Johnson; Roll: 1983267]|
James Jr. married Letta Estella Porter on 3 June 1922, and the following year James Sr. became a grandfather to James Jr.'s one and only son. Unfortunately James Jr. died 8 August 1923 from complications of appendicitis and James Sr.'s daughter-in-law Letta Estella appeared to go live in Dallas with the baby. This must have been a terrible blow for James Sr. He died a mere 6 months later, on 15 February 1924 in Sand Flat, Johnson, Texas (not sure why here) from lobar pneumonia stemming from influenza. One his death certificate it indicated that his wife's address was in Alvarado, so maybe they were visiting Sand Flat when he died?
|[James Chappell Warren Sr.'s death certificate, from Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah]|
He was buried the next day at Cleburne Cemetery.
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