White, James Taylor (1789–1852)

By: Mickie Baldwin

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 20, 2017

James Taylor White (known as Taylor White), cattleman and rancher, son of John and Sarah (Gambel) White, was born on July 28, 1789, in Louisiana. During the 1780s his family probably moved to Louisiana from the Carolinas, where his grandfather had received a land grant in 1757. Taylor White married Sarah Cade, daughter of James and Polly (Nichols) Cade, on January 26, 1813, at St. Martin of Tours Church in St. Martinville, Louisiana. In 1828 White drove his small herd of Spanish, or longhorn, cattle along the old Opelousas Road to Texas; he settled near Turtle Bayou. His cattle grazed on land bordered on the west by Galveston Bay and on the south by the Gulf of Mexico. The Turtle Bayou Resolutions were signed near his home. By 1840 White had acquired 4,605 acres of land in Liberty (now Chambers) County and paid taxes on 1,775 head of cattle and forty-five horses. During the late 1830s or early 1840s, White began driving cattle to New Orleans. He deposited money from the sales of these cattle at banks in New Orleans and eventually put much of it back into the business of raising cattle. He attributed his success to his hard work and single-mindedness. He was also known to be innovative in his techniques. For example, he burned the land periodically to make way for new grass for his animals, a practice unheard of in his time. White came to be known as the Cattle King of Southeast Texas. Two cattle brands, the JTW and the Crossed W, have been associated with White's Texas ranching operation. The Crossed W was reportedly willed to White by his father, also a cattleman, who died in 1806. Some sources claim that as of the late 1930s, both were among the oldest continuously used cattle brands in the state. James Taylor White and his wife had seven children. He died, probably of cholera, in March 1852 at his home. In a nearby family plot he is buried with his wife, who died nine days later.

Frontier Times, March 1936. Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981). Gifford E. White, James Taylor White of Virginia (Austin, 1982).

  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Mickie Baldwin, “White, James Taylor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/white-james-taylor.

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April 20, 2017