JAMES W. LUMPKIN is a senior member of the firm of J. W. Lumpkin & Son, proprietors of the Macoupin County Inquirer, and ably conducted journal, that is classed among the leading newspapers of this part of the State. Our subject is a representative of one of the pioneer families of this county, and is one of its native-born citizens, his birth taking place in Bird Township, November 15, 1836, he being the only son of John and Emily A. (Rafferty) Lumpkin. His father was a Virginian by birth, as was also the grandfather of subject, whose name was William Lumpkin. The latter moved from his native State in 1818, after his marriage, in Kentucky, and resided for two or three years in Jefferson County. He then went to Davis County, that State, where he bought a tract of timber land, built on it, and commenced to clear a farm, upon which he lived the remainder of his life. the maternal grandfather of subject, James Rafferty, is supposed to have been a native of Kentucky. He married Mary Booth of the same State. By occupation he was a farmer, and in 1835 he came to Macoupin County, where in time he improved a farm in Polk Township, upon which he continued to reside until his decease. John Lumpkin was a lad of ten years when he went to Kentucky with his parents. In his youth he learned the trade of brick-layer, which he pursued in the afore mentioned State until 1835, when he came to Illinois. He was accompanied thither by his wife, and came by the way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis, from whence he journeyed to his destination in this county with an ox-team. He arrived here with but fifty cents in his pocket, but he had a sturdy, self-reliant spirit and a good trade for capital, and was well-fitted to cope with the trials of pioneer life. He purchased a tract of wild prairie land on time, located in Bird Township, and his first work was to erect a log house for shelter, riving the boards to cover the roof, which was held in place by weight poles, and making the door and floor of split puncheons. As soon as his dwelling was completed he commenced to improve his land, doing all his farm work and marketing for some time with oxen. He worked a great deal of the time at his trade, except in the winter seasons, and he assisted in building the first brick court house at Carlinville, besides other brick buildings erected here. He continued to make his home on his farm until his life was closed by death in 1871. His wife had passed away before, her death occurring on the old homestead in 1865.
The subject of this biographical sketch is the only child born to his parents, and the primitive dwelling erected by his father when he first came to this county was the scene of his birth. He was reared amid pioneer influences; his early education was obtained in the schools of his native county, and was supplemented by an excellent course of study at Shurtleff College. After leaving college he taught school one term, and then gave his attention to farming and dealing in livestock, which he continued until 1880, when he removed to Carlinville and for one year engaged in the sale of farm implements. In 1882 he was appointed Deputy Sheriff, and remained in the Sheriff's office four years. In June, 1886, Mr. Lumpkin formed a partnership with his son, Clement J., and purchased the Enquirer printing office, since which time he has devoted his attention to the management of the paper and to the general business connected with the printing department.
In 1857, Mr. Lumpkin and Miss Elzina Bates were united in marriage, and theirs has been a pleasant union, that has brought them two children, Clement J. and Mattie E. Mrs. Lumpkin is also a native of Macoupin, and is a daughter of James and Martha Bates.
Our subject was a man of high character and standing in his native county professionally, and also as a private citizen and a civic official. He has occupied various offices of trust, and is at present serving his third term as a member of the City Council.
While a resident of Bird Township he was Township Collector, and has also held the office of Justice of the Peace. Politically, his sympathies are with the Democrats, and he gives his party earnest support through the columns of his paper, though he is by no means violently partisan. Socially, he belongs to Mt. Nebo Lodge, No. 76, A.F. & A.M.; is a member of Macoupin Chapter, No. 187, R.A.M.; and of St. Omar Commandery, No. 30, K.T., of Litchfield, Ill.