James Monroe Tarver, a planter and retired merchant of Enon, Bullock county, Ala., was born in Jones county, Ga., in 1821, and is a son of Elijah and Dicy (Pinson) Tarver, who were born respectively in North Carolina, November 30, 1783, and in Georgia, May 2, 1785. Elijah Tarver learned the hatter’s trade in his younger days, and having acquired a thorough knowledge of the business, went to Georgia, where he followed his trade a number of years, but during the latter part of his life devoted himself to planting exclusively. He was a great reader, and became a man of great information, and also fully qualified himself for the ministry, becoming a Methodist preacher of much local note in Georgia, where he died in 1830, his wife dying in Alabama, in 1858. His father, James Tarver, was also a native of North Carolina, and was of Scotch-Irish origin; he moved his family from his native state in an early day, and there passed the remainder of his life. Joab Pinson, the uncle of James Monroe Tarver, died in Summerville, Ala., a man of much wealth and influence.
James Monroe Tarver was the youngest born in a family of eight children, comprising six sons and two daughters, of whom there are only two surviving. He was well educated by private tutors, and began his business life when he reached his majority. He settled at Enon, Bullock county, about the year 1843, and in 1845, married Miss Rachel Banks, daughter of James and Hannah Banks, of Georgia. The Banks family were among the pioneers of Bullock county, having settled there in 1840. James Banks was a man of much influence, and died in 1867, in his seventy-seventh year, having been preceded to the grave by his wife ten years. This lady was born in Monroe county, Ga., in 1826, and was highly educated. Mrs. Tarver inherits all the refinement of her mother, and has made completely happy the married life of her husband. She has borne him six children, the three surviving ones being James Banks Tarver, a merchant and alderman of Columbus, Ga., and a graduate of Auburn college; Rosalie, wife of Clarence Caldwell, and Milton, who is a merchant at Enon. Of the deceased three, two died in infancy, and Sarah Hannah became the wife of the late Rev. D. C. Crook, a Methodist clergyman.
Quitting his planting industry at the outbreak of the late civil war, Mr. Tarver served with the state troops, under Gen. Gerry, chiefly at Opelika, and Pollard, until the end of the struggle, when he resumed farming, following the calling until 1867, when he connected merchandising with his agricultural pursuits for six or seven years, met with much success, then retired to the enjoyment of an ease, won through his early industry and intelligent exercise of his business talents, and started his sons on a successful business career. Mr. Tarver has done some public service as justice of the peace and major of the militia, and for forty-five years has been a Freemason. Mrs. Tarver has been a faithful member of the Methodist church since her young days, while her husband has been a steward in the same denomination for many years. He has ever been of a genial and social disposition, and is still in the enjoyment of the happiness that such a temperament brings. He started in life on a small farm, but at the outbreak of the war had accumulated a fortune of eighty thousand dollars, but most of this was swept away by that disaster; still, he never became discouraged, and soon partially retrieved his lost fortune, through his energy and indefatigable industry.