James Meriweather Lankford, the son of Charles L. Lankford and Miss Moore, was born on 1820 in Jackson County, Georgia.
James married Caroline B. Hobbs, daughter of Nathan Augustus Hobbs, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Lankford, on December 1, 1844 in Greene County, Georgia. The ceremony was performed by Jeremiah Lindsey.
Between 1845 and 1859, James and Caroline had seven children— Mary F., James C., Emma S., Emerette R., Nathan, Laura J., and Marion. They lived mostly in Greene County and at one point owned a homestead in Penfield, containing four acres, bounded by lands of Robinson and Mercer University. In 1880, they were living in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
James was a farmer and stock trader. The book How Curious a Land: Conflict and Change in Greene County, Georgia, 1850-1885 by Jonathan M. Bryant states that “… James Lankford made a good living trading livestock and by 1860 had accumulated more than $5,000 worth of property …”
Records show that James M. Lankford, private, Company C, 3rd Regiment Georgia Infantry (Dawson Grays),” C.S.A., enlisted in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia on April 24, 1861. He was enlisted by Capt. R. L. McWhorter. James mustered into service at Augusta, Georgia on May 3, 1861, by Capt. R.G. Cole. On the company roll covering the period from May 3 to June 30, 1861 (only roll on which borne), he was reported present. Having been transferred, James was discharged in Portsmouth, Virginia, leaving a substitute in his place, on July 15, 1862. James then served in Company C of the Georgia Troops from November 1862 until May 1865. He was with his company in Augusta, Georgia when the command surrendered. George N. Boswell stated that James made a good and faithful solder and was honorably discharged with his command at the surrender.
He died on October 29, 1887 in Lithonia, DeKalb County, Georgia.
In 1901, his widow, Caroline, filed for and was approved, a Widows Indigent Pension. She continued to file and receive a yearly pension until her death in Baldwin County on January 8, 1906.