James E. King was born in Marlin, Texas on January 25, 1885, and was raised in Marlin. He showed an early interest in bands which resulted in his attending the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation in 1909, he returned to Texas where he immediately went into the band business by organizing bands in Coleman and Mexia. He later directed the T.C.U. and Baylor bands as both schools were starting their music program. While in Mexia in 1914 he took the Mexia concert band to Richmond, Virginia as the official Texas band at the Confederate Reunion. Upon becoming Col. King, the Head Band Director for the Confederate Reunion, he annually took a band to the reunion and played many concerts on the way. In 1917, he moved to Waxahachie where he organized the famous "Lone Star Band". In 1920, while in Waxahachie he called a group of bandmasters together and started the Texas Band Teacher's Association, the forerunner of TMEA. He served as its first President and Founder. He later organized the first band contest in Texas which was held at the State Fair in Dallas.