James H. Kitching, a prosperous farmer and stock dealer of Alexandria, was born May 28, 1840, in Smith County. He is the fourth of fourteen children of Thomas and Mary (Davis) Kitching. The father was born in Smith County in 1809, a son of James Kitchen who was a native of North Carolina. He immigrated to Tennessee at an early date stopping first at the top of Bledsoe’s Lick, Sumner County, afterward located in Smith County, near the head of Kitching Creek, which was named for him. He was one of the first settlers in that section where his life was passed. Thomas was reared in his native county, where he married about 1831. He is a substantial farmer, well and favorably known. His wife was born in North Carolina about five years later than her husband. Both are faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. They raised a large and intelligent family; all lived to maturity. There are now three sons and four daughters.
The subject of this sketch was educated in the common schools. In September 1862, he enlisted in the United States Army, in Company B, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry. He took part in the battle of Stone River and many skirmishes. In August, 1863, he was discharged on account of disability, but in the fall of 1864 enlisted in Company G, Fourth Tennessee Mounted Infantry, as a private, but soon became second Lieutenant and was detailed to take command of a force to restore order and enforce civil law in Smith County, in which capacity he served until the close of the war, when he resumed farming.
February 1870, he married Mattie E., daughter of Robert and L. D. Dowell, of Alexandria. Of their seven children, two sons and three daughters are living: Robert D., Jesse, Ella, Hallie, and Edith. Mr. Kitching remained in Smith County until 1879, when he moved to Alexandria. Farming and trading has always been his occupation. He owns a farm, and a comfortable house in town. For some time he has been trustee of the Masonic Normal School.
He is a Republican; rather conservative. He cast his first presidential vote for A. Lincoln in 1864. Since 1868 he has been connected with the Masonic fraternity, and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since his seventeenth year, of which church Mrs. Kitching is also a member.