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Judge James McCaskill

Judge James McCaskill is an attorney of some fourteen years' experience, and is a lawyer of thorough preparatory training, both literary and professional.

He was born in what is now Cleveland County, Ark., in 1849, within one mile and a half of where he now lives, being a son of Hugh G. and Elvira (Baggett) McCaskill, natives respectively of Simpson County, Miss., and Alabama, the former's birth occurring in 1821, and his death in Cleveland County, Ark., November 16, 1888, on the old homestead on which he first settled on coming to the county from Mississippi in 1847.

He first became a resident of the State in 1839, coming here with his parents, Daniel and Ruth (Graham) McCaskill, the former from South Carolina and the latter from  Georgia, Mr. McCaskill's death occurring in 1841. Of seven children born to them, all lived to be grown, and three are living at the present time. Hugh G. McCaskill was their eldest child, and came to Arkansas in his sixteenth year, and here acquired the most of his education and attained his majority. After the death of his father he cared for his mother, and in 1847 was married, and settled on the home place, where he made his home until his death. He was a man who took great interest in agricultural matters, and in the settlement of the country, and is one of the men who brought the country to its present admirable agricultural state.

He was strictly moral in every respect, was an earnest member of the Baptist Church, and was never heard to take the name of God in vain. He served in the late war as a Confederate soldier, being a member of Company G, Second Arkansas Cavalry, and was with Gen. Price on his raid through Missouri, while under him being a participant in the engagement at Mark's Mill, Ark., also Poison Springs.

After the war he returned to his family from Texas and resumed his farm work, which had been sadly interrupted, and continued to successfully till the soil until his death. To himself and wife a family of eight children have been born, four of whom lived to be grown: James M., Margaret, Eleanor and Alice, Margaret and Eleanor being now deceased. The mother of these children died in 1882, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her husband afterward married again, his second wife being Mrs. Amanda Houslitch, nee Baggett, by whom he had two children, both now deceased. This lady is yet living and makes her home in Rison, Ark., with her son, Washington Houslitch.

James M. McCaskill attained his majority in Cleveland County, and received his early training in the common schools. At the age of nineteen years he began clerking for himself in Pine Bluff, and then taught school for several years, his spare moments during this time being devoted to the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in March, 1878, and has since been an active practitioner, his thorough knowledge of law being known and recognized.

In September, 1884, he was elected county judge, a position he held four years, and upon leaving the bench there was no reason to view his official career with disappointment. He is a strict temperance man, and while county judge refused to grant licenses under any circumstances. At his first election license was carried by a large majority, but Mr. McCaskill refused to sign the same, and at his second election the county went in favor of no license. He has always been a strong Democrat politically, and be and his present wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

He was first married to Miss Frances I. Donhom, who was born in Mississippi in 1852, and died July 3, 1873, having borne Mr. McCaskill a daughter, Eudora M., and after remaining a widower until May, 1888, Mr. McCaskill wedded Miss Mollie C. Stone, a native of Pulaski County, Ark. They have two children: Elvira E. and Hugh.


Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas
Copyright 1890
Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co.; Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis