Hamlin, James Darlington (1871–1950)

By: Jimmy M. Skaggs

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: February 7, 2020

James Darlington Hamlin, Texas agent for the Capitol Syndicate (see XIT RANCH) and organizer of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, son of James H. and Mary Jane (Gilman) Hamlin, was born on August 5, 1871, at St. Matthews, Kentucky. He attended Kentucky Wesleyan University and the University of Kentucky and left his native state in 1897 to seek his fortune in Alaska. He ended his journey at Amarillo, Texas, where he found relief from his chronic asthma. During the fall of 1897 he and Willis Day Twichell established Amarillo College; Hamlin was named president of the college and professor of Latin and Greek, positions he held until 1909. He was admitted to the bar about 1898 and practiced law until 1902, when he was elected county attorney for Potter County. He became Texas counsel for the Capitol Freehold Land and Investment Company, Limited, about the same time and was named Texas representative of the firm in 1906. In 1905, as agent for the Capitol Syndicate, he opened XIT Ranch lands to colonization and founded Farwell, Texas; at the same time, in partnership with Lee John Hutson, Hamlin opened the site of Texico, New Mexico, to settlement. From 1907 to 1919 he served as county judge of Parmer County. In 1916 he helped found the short-lived Panhandle-Plains Chamber of Commerce, which a few years later was amalgamated with the West Texas Chamber of Commerce. From 1934 to 1936 Hamlin served as president of the combined organization. In 1921 he, Thomas F. Turner, and several others organized the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, and Hamlin, as a director, was later instrumental in the establishment of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. In 1940 he retired from all business activities except the position of Texas representative of the John V. Farwell Company (Capitol Syndicate), a position he held until his death. Hamlin was married in 1906 to Katherine Nichols. He died at Clovis, New Mexico, on January 10, 1950, and was interred at Farwell, Texas.

Amarillo Daily News, January 11, 1950. James D. Hamlin, The Flamboyant Judge: As Told to J. Evetts Haley and William Curry Holden (Canyon, Texas: Palo Duro, 1972).


  • Education
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • School Founders

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jimmy M. Skaggs, “Hamlin, James Darlington,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hamlin-james-darlington.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 7, 2020