Son of Mary South Irvine and James Perkins
Husband of (1) Myrta Blake, and (2) Mrs. Mary Bonner Pickens
James Irvine Perkins was born at San Augustine, TX, on August 30, 1847. His father, James Perkins (b. Spottsylvania Co., VA), married Mary South Irvine. The family settled in San Augustine in 1830, from Bedford Co., TN, where the father James Perkins had conducted a plantation on the Pearl River for several years, and also owned a trading post for Choctaw Indians. The Perkins family came to Texas with their slaves, settling first about 10 miles from San Augustine, and relocating a few years later to the town. The Perkins had 14 children, but only 2 grew to maturity: Jane E., who married (1) M. H. Shyrock and (2) J. R. Jones, and James Irvine Perkins.
James Irvine Perkins enlisted in the CSA on April 1, 1864. After the war, he farmed a few years and then enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he received a law degree in 1871. He married Myrta Blake, daughter of Judge Bennett Blake of Nacogdoches, on March 21, 1876. In 1879 James Irvine Perkins was appointed district attorney for his district, and in 1884 he was appointed judge. He was elected to the office later in 1884 and again in 1888. He retired from this service in 1892 and reentered law practice in the firm of Wilson & Wilson at Rusk. In 1902 he was elected to the state senate. In 1904 he again was elected to the bench for the district of Cherokee, Nacogdoches, Angelina, Shelby, San Augustine, and Sabine counties, and spent 16 years in that position before again returning to private practice.
Myrta Blake Perkins died in January 1905. Judge Perkins married Mrs. Mary Bonner Pickens, daughter of Col. F. W. Bonner of Rusk, on May 13, 1906. Survivors included his children Bennett Blake Perkins, James Irvine Perkins Jr., Julia Perkins, all of Rusk; Mrs. T. H. Summers Jr. of Nacogdoches; and Mrs. James H. Kerr of Alto.
Francis W. Johnson, with assistance of Ernest William Winkler, A History of Texas and Texans, Chicago: American Historical Society, 1914, III:1272-1273
Obituary, The Champion (Center, TX), February 28, 1923, reprinted in Mildred Cariker Pinkston, Obituaries of Early Pioneers, Shelby County, Texas, Center: Center Printing Co., 1983, I:221
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