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James T. Quarels was born in Wilson County in 1836, the fourth of seven children of William and Eliza (Hopkins) Quarels, both of whom were natives of Virginia, where they were married about 1835. They came to Tennessee, locating in Wilson County, where the remainder of their lives was spent in farming. The father died about 1844, the mother in 1881, both esteemed members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
Our subject was educated in the country schools of his native county. About his twentieth year he married a native of Dekalb County, Miss Caroline, daughter of Jonathan and Priscilla Doss, who died about a year and a half after the marriage. In 1860 Mr. Quarels married his sister-in-law, Miss Darthula, by whom he had six children. Those living are Nora (wife of T. C. Peck, of Wilson County), James D., Zora, and Maud.
In 1861 Mr. Quarels entered the Confederate Army under command of Capt. Bass, and served about one year, when he was discharged on account of disability, and returned home. In 1863 he again enlisted under Capt. Reese. He was engaged in the battles of Murfreesboro and Briston; after six months’ service he again went home. In 1864 he sold his property in Wilson County and purchased a portion of his present farm in Dekalb County, where he moved. The farm now contains over 100 acres of cultivated and improved land. He has always been an industrious man; had it not been for misfortunes through generosity, he would be worth more than double his present possessions. He is a firm Democrat, and cast his first presidential vote for John C. Breckinridge. He has been a Mason twenty years. His wife is an earnest member of the Missionary Baptist Church.