JAMES HOUSE CAGE was born in the Republic of Texas in that memorable year that marked the initiation of the Mexican war, the result of which conflict determined the integrity of Texas as an integral part of the United States. Here he was reared under the primitive conditions of the early pioneer days and here in his youth he gained broad and varied experience in frontier life. Mr. Cage was a man whose sterling qualities admirably equipped him for keeping pace with the march of development and progress, and at the time of his death, on the 18th of August, 1912, he was prominently identified with banking enterprise at Stephenville, Erath County, where he was president of the substantial banking institution conducted under the title of Cage & Crow Bank.
Mr. Cage was born in Texas on the 29th of October, 1845, and was a son of John and Martha (Logan) Cage, the former of whom was born in Mississippi and the latter in Alabama, where her father, Neil Logan, was a representative planter and slave-owner in the days long prior to the Civil war. John Cage was one of the adventurous men who came to Texas in the early period of its history, and was here a contemporary of General Sam Houston, the great leader in the movement for Texas independence. When, in 184'), gold was discovered in California John Cage set forth for that New Eldorado, and his death occurred while he was en route, so that Texas knew him no more. His widow later contracted a second marriage, and she was one of the venerable and revered pioneer women of Texas at the time of her death, which occurred at Stephenville in 1883. Of the children of her first marriage the subject of this memoir was the only son, and the two daughters died young. Two sons were born of the second marriage. James House Cage found his youthful opportunities for education somewhat limited as a result of the conditions in the pioneer days, but he made good use of the discipline that he received by attending school at Mansfield, Tarrant County. He early gained varied experience in the cattle business on the old open range in Pecos and Culberson counties, and later he became a pioneer in the general merchandise business in Western Texas. In 1872 he engaged in this line of enterprise at Stephenville, the present attractive county seat of Erath County, and he continued as one of the honored and influential citizens of this city during the remainder of his life. He was for many years one of the leading merchants of Stephenville, and in 1900 he engaged in the banking business, as senior member of the firm of Cage & Crow, which founded and conducted the bank of which he was the president at the time of his death.
At the age of seventeen years Mr. Cage enlisted for service as a soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war, and his service covered virtually the entire period of the conflict. He served under N. B. Lloyd and Buck B. Barry, who were efficient military officers. Mr. Cage never manifested desire for public office or special political activity, but he was known as a loyal supporter of the cause of the Democratic party.
At Stephenville, on the 12th of November, 1872, Mr. Cage was united in marriage with Miss Jane Boykin, and their devoted companionship continued until his death forty years later. Mrs. Cage was born near Fairfield, Freestone County, Texas, November 12, 1855, and in her girlhood she lived some time in the home of Doctor Crow at Meridian, Bosque County. She is now the only surviving child of the late Solomon Boykin, who came to Texas from his native State of Mississippi and who here identified himself actively with farm and livestock enterprise. He had been an overseer of slaves, but he never owned slaves, as he believed that such ownership might be a handicap to his children. After the close of the Civil war he had varied experiences as a frontiersman and had many fights with turbulent Indians. In this connection it may be recorded that only ten miles distant from his home a school teacher. Miss M. Whitney, was killed by the Indians in Hamilton County. Mr. Boykin was twice married, and of his nine children Mrs. Cage is the youngest and now the only survivor, she being the only daughter of her parents, to whom were born also five sons, the other four children having been of the second marriage of Mr. Boykin.
Jessie Neil, eldest of the children of Mr., and Mrs. Cage, was born September 5, 1873, and is the wife of F. S. White, a former school teacher and druggist who is now living retired at Stephenville. They have one daughter. Mary Emma, the second daughter, was born February 23, 1875, and both she and her husband, Eli McIlhanny, are deceased. Bruce C, who was born December 5, 1876, was prominently identified with banking business at Stephenville at the time of his death, March 1, 1923. He married Miss Pearl Wyley, who survives him, no children having been born to them. James D., born November 9, 1878, resides at Stephenville and is actively identified with farm enterprise in this vicinity. He married Miss Ethyl Cox, and they have no children. John M., born October 13, 1880, is a retired banker at Stephenville. He married Miss Ivy Gillen, and they have three children. Barney B., born April 9, 1885, resides at Stephenville and is a stockman and collector. He married Miss Nicie Gillentine, and they have no children. Roxie, born September 25, 1893, is the wife of Herbert MacCluskey, who is engaged in the lumber business in the City of Dallas, and they have two children. Una, youngest of the eight children, is the wife of Alexander Johnson, who is engaged in the practice of law at Stephenville, and of their three children only one is living.
Mrs. Cage still maintains her home at Stephenville and is a loved pioneer woman of gracious personality and distinctive culture, her keen memory of the conditions and events of the past enabling her to offer many interesting reminiscences. She has long been a popular figure in the social, cultural and religious activities of her home community. It may be noted that James House Cage, subject of this memoir, was a distant kinsman of Colonel E. M. House, the distinguished Texan, who was the confidential friend and advisor of President Woodrow Wilson during the entire period of the latter's administration as President of the United States.