Born: Oc­to­ber 31, 1879, Da­vis Prair­ie, Tex­as.

Died: May 13, 1975, Park Place Nurs­ing Home, Mart, Tex­as.

Buried: Faulk­en­ber­ry Ce­me­te­ry, Groes­beck, Tex­as.


James was the hus­band of Cal­lie B. An­der­son.

Hel grew up on a farm at Da­vis Prair­ie. At about age 15, he be­gan stu­dy­ing mu­sic un­der John Tho­mas and Frank­lin Ei­land.

After gra­du­at­ing with a teach­er’s de­gree from North Tex­as Nor­mal Col­lege in Den­ton, he be­gan con­duct­ing sing­ing schools; his first was at For­ace Cha­pel, near Groes­beck, in 1901. Con­ti­nu­ing to teach sing­ing schools re­gu­lar­ly through 1932, Fer­rell some­times ran up to 15 schools a year.

He ev­en­tu­al­ly went to work for the Trio Mu­sic Com­pa­ny of Wa­co, Tex­as, and for a while sold their mu­sic books in Lou­isi­ana. While at­tend­ing a con­ven­tion in 1904 at Ti­ger Prair­ie, he en­coun­tered John Tho­mas, his for­mer teach­er, and own­er of the Quar­tet Mu­sic Com­pa­ny.

With Tho­mas’ en­cour­age­ment, Fer­rell be­came a stock­hold­er and di­rect­or in the Quar­tet Mu­sic Com­pa­ny, stay­ing with them three de­cades.

In 1905, he took a mu­sic course with the Ana­ly­ti­cal New Light Nor­mal School of Mu­sic in Wa­co; his song Soul Win­ner for Je­sus grew out of a class as­sign­ment there.

In 1932, Fer­rill and his fa­mi­ly re­turned to Da­vis Prair­ie to live on the farm his mo­ther left him.


Ferrill pub­lished around 40 hymns in his life­time, plus:




Help Needed

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Fer­rill (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),