James Fort was an outstanding attorney of the Gaffney Bar, an articulate spokesman for his clientele, an effective public servant, and a man of charm and good humor. He was the son of William Acrill Fort and Sarah Columbia Jefferies Fort. He attended the public schools of Gaffney, Limestone College, Clemson College and the University of South Carolina. He received an LL.B. from the University of South Carolina in 1915 and thereafter was active in the practice of law for more than 60 years.
He practiced law for many years in partnership with the late Samuel M. Wolfe. He served three times in the South Carolina General Assembly (1929–30, 1939–40 and 1942–46). In 1940, he was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention.
He was a leader of the Gaffney business community, served as a Trustee of Limestone College, served on the State Board of Education, was active in the Buford Street Methodist Church, and was President of the Cherokee County Bar Association.
James Claude Fort married Gladys Coker of Hartsville in 1923 and is survived by two sons, James Coker Fort and David Acrill Fort.