James M. Baxter

Annals of Newberry, Part Two by John A. Chapman, page 607-08

MAJOR JAMES M. BAXTER was a native of Laurens County; made law his chosen profession; came to Newberry t,o practice; married one of Newberry's loveliest daughters and made his home here until he died. He was one of the best iawyers that ever practiced at this Bar. His mind was too broad and comprehensive to be
trammeled with forms and technicalities, but easily mastered the strong points of his cases, and seized and applied with a masterly hand the broad principles of Law and Equity upon which our judicial system is founded, and which embodies the united wisdom and experience of ages. It was this devotion to principles that gave him his great power with jurors and Judges. He was a man of a large heart and head; kind and courteous to ll; and a true and steadfast friend, a patriotic citizen. He was Major of the Third Regiment, South Cara1ina Volunteers, the first year of the war.

Major Baxter was gifted with rare intellectual powers and endowed with faculties which eminently fitted him for the profession which he adorned so highly. He was not what might be called a popular speaker, abounding in the graces of oratory and possessing the power to sway the thronging multitude. He seldom attempted flights of fancy, but always spoke in language unadorned, but pure and chaste. As a lawyer he was earnest and zealous in whatever business was committed to his charge, and exhibited untiring industry in the cause of his clients, such as is rarely equalled. He was a formidable adversary at the Bar under any circumstances, but most dangerous when his case appeared to be most hopeless -he gathered new strength and rose to the emergency as his case trembled in the balance. He did not know the word fail.
I knew him well for twenty-five or thirty years - had many business transactions with him during that time and always found him prompt, genial and courteous.
For many years he was a member of the Presbyterian Church and died in that communion. He died February 5th, 1881 - born September 7th, 1825. He left a widow and three children - one son and two daughters. William, his son, has died since his father; the daughters still survive - the eldest, Lucy, is the wife of Walter H. Hunt, Esq., a lawyer in good practice at Newberry; the latter daughter, Miss Fannie, is a lovely and amiable young lady living at Newberry with her mother.