James Marion West, banker and publisher, son of Silas W. and Mattie (Clark) West, was born in Waynesboro, Mississippi, in 1871. The family moved to Trinity County, Texas, in 1880 and settled near Groveton, where West attended public school and began work in a drugstore in the late 1880s. In the middle 1890s he established a lumber business in Trinity County at a site called Westville. He married Jessie Dudlin of Georgia in 1895. After moving to Houston in 1905, he went into the real estate business and became president of the Fort Terrett Ranch Company. He was later president of the South Texas Hardwood Manufacturing Company, a director in several banks, director on the boards of Texas Technological College and Southwestern University, and an officer in the Gage Cattle Company. In 1939 West was appointed chairman of the Texas Highway Commission but was refused Senate confirmation because he supported the Republican presidential candidate, Alfred M. (Alf) Landon, in 1936. His other activities included participation in the oil industry, management of the West Lumber Company, publication of the Dallas Journal, and an interest in the Austin Tribune. West became publisher of these papers because he feared the "collectivism of the Roosevelt administration." In 1938 he established the West Foundation, the funds of which were to be devoted to religious, charitable, educational, literary, and scientific purposes. He was a Mason. West died in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 24, 1941, and was buried in Houston.
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Emory A. Bailey, Who's Who in Texas (Dallas: John B. McCraw Press, 1931). Mary Whatley Clarke, "Jim West of Texas," Cattleman, December 1952. Dallas Morning News, August 25, 1941. Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols., 1929?). Marcellus E. Foster and Alfred Jones, eds., South and Southeast Texas (n.p.: Jas. O. Jones, 1928). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
Texas in the 1920s
Upper Gulf Coast
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“West, James Marion,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
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Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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