Soldier, lawman, lawyer, farmer, and politician, Tarrant was born in South Carolina and settled in Texas in 1835 in what is now Red River County. In 1837, he represented the area in the House of Representatives of the Second Congress. Throughout his life he was involved in defending the frontier and for a time held the rank of brigadier general in a local militia known as the Fourth Brigade. Tarrant died in 1858 and was originally buried near Weatherford. A year later his body was moved to his farm on Chamber Creek and in 1928 his body was moved to Pioneers Rest Cemetery in Forth Worth.