Biography of James T. Penn

JAMES T. PENN. Among the prominent men of Harrison, Arkansas, and among its most worthy and esteemed citizens, may be mentioned James T. Penn. He is a man interested in the public welfare and, while he pays strict attention to his private affairs, he shirks no duties as a loyal citizen.

He was born in Newton County, Arkansas, August 27, 1854, a son of John Penn, who was one of the pioneers of this State from Tennessee, first residing in Johnston County, then Newton County, and is now a resident of Boone County. He was born in Virginia September 22, 1822, and his wife was also born there March 13, 1825. Of the ten children given to the m, seven are living: Elizabeth, wife of John Murphy; Martha, widow of John T. Wilson, of Texas; John H., who is a resident of Dale, Okla. Tr.; Mary, wife of John Miller, of Oklahoma Territory; Absalom, who died in infancy; George W., who is in the post office at Harrison; James T.; Louisa A., deceased, Jasper N., deceased, and Alexander L., a resident of Oklahoma. John Penn has always followed the occupation of agriculture, and prior to the war succeeded in accumulating considerable amount of worldly goods, but the most of it was swept away during the great struggle between the North and South. Long ago he was a Whig in politics, was a stanch Union man during the war, and since that time has supported the men and measures of the Republican party, but has never been an office seeker. He is now living retired from the active duties of life, is a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a man who has given a large part of his life to religious work, and has many warm friends in this section of the country.

James T. Penn grew up on his father’s farm in this section, and owing to the fact that the war came up at about the time when he should have been in school, the early education which he received was not of the best. He started out to make his own way in the world in 1873, and engaged in contracting and building, but in 1875, with his brother George, started on foot for the then Territory of Washington, but after reaching his destination he remained but a few months.

In 1876 he came to Harrison, Arkansas, and entered the land office as clerk, but in 1880 embarked in the mercantile business, and continued to follow this line or human endeavor until 1887. He has also-given considerable attention to mining, and has now a large tract of mining land in Boone and Marion Counties which is very valuable. In 1891 he was made postmaster of Harrison by President Harrison, but resigned in 1893 and has since given his attention to other occupations. He has been the proprietor of the Arcade Hotel since 1891, and is also the owner of other desirable property in Harrison. He is an active member of the honorable order of Masons, is a member of the chapter and was commander of the commandery in 1893.

He was united in marriage with Miss Fannie M., daughter of A. S. and Lucinda Reeder, both of whom died in Illinois, in which State she was born. She and her husband have four living children, and three that are deceased: Lulu, Blanche O. (deceased), Lida F. (deceased), James R. (deceased), Nellie R., Sallie L. and N. N. Mrs. Penn is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is also very much interested in temperance work, being president of the W. C. T. U. at Harrison. Mr. and Mrs. Penn stand high in society, and their friends are many and devoted. Mr. Penn has always been an earnest Republican, and in 1880 was elected as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, and has served on the State Central Committee for the past ten years. In 1886 he was nominated on the Republican State ticket for the position of chancery clerk, and in 1888 was elected as one of the delegates on the State National Committee. As a business man he is esteemed for his unimpeachable honor, and as a citizen for the interest he takes in the welfare of the section in which he makes his home.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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