Loving, James Carrol (1836–1902)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 11, 2020

James Carrol Loving, cattle rancher and one of the founders of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the son of Susan D. and Oliver Loving, was born on June 6, 1836, in Hopkins County, Kentucky. He moved to Texas in 1845 with his family and grew up in northern Palo Pinto County. From the age of twelve he assisted in his father's freighting business. He became an expert teamster and regularly delivered mules and horses to Jefferson for shipment by boat to New Orleans. Gradually James and Oliver Loving focused their efforts on raising cattle for the Jefferson market as the prices for beef came to surpass the prices of horses and mules. In 1857 Loving married Mary Ellen Willett; they had three children. During the Civil War he served the Confederate Army on the Texas frontier, protecting settlers against Indian attacks, and attained the rank of first lieutenant. Afterward, Loving moved his family to Weatherford, where he and his wife operated a general store. After Oliver Loving's death in 1867, James assumed responsibility for his father's cattle business. He left his family in June 1868 and proceeded with his father's partner, Charles Goodnight, to drive an estimated 2,300 cattle to Colorado. Inclement weather, illness, and Indian raids made the already difficult task seem at times impossible. But six months later Loving returned to Texas considerably wealthier than when he had left and determined to remain a cattleman.

In 1873 he moved his family and headquarters to Jermyn in Lost Valley, Jack County. Western Jack County was the site of a series of Indian raids that occasionally had driven settlers east to the safety of Fort Richardson at Jacksboro. Loving remained on the frontier to protect his cattle and saw a number of friends die during battles with the Comanche and Kiowa Indians; he also lost a sizable percentage of his cattle to Indians and cattle rustlers. Consequently, he and fellow cattlemen who lived in nearby Palo Pinto, Young, Parker, and Shackelford counties decided that a united effort was their best defense. In early 1877 Loving was selected by his colleagues to write an open letter urging cattlemen to attend a meeting at Graham, in southwestern Young County, to discuss an organization to protect their interests. The assembled stockmen formed the Cattle Raisers Association, renamed the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in 1921, and elected James Loving as its first secretary. He remained in office for twenty-seven years and is credited with providing the stability the new organization needed in its first years. In 1879 he added the duties of treasurer to his task as secretary. In 1880 he published The Stockmen's Guide and Handbook, which contained the brand and location of more than 600 herds and short biographies of their owners. In 1884 a revised edition of this work appeared as Cattle Brands. Loving's duties as secretary-treasurer eventually outgrew the spare room at home that he used as an office, and in 1884 he moved to Jacksboro and opened an office. In 1887 he moved to Fort Worth. He maintained an active hand in the cattle business, however, at one time raising the largest purebred shorthorn herd in the nation. Loving continued to work as secretary-treasurer of the Cattle Raisers Association until his death, on November 24, 1902.

Mary Whatley Clarke, A Century of Cow Business: A History of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (Fort Worth: Evans, 1976). James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936).

  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth

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

David Minor, “Loving, James Carrol,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/loving-james-carrol.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 11, 2020

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