James was born in Lower Hutt.
He married Dorothy Doull (born in Canongate, Edinburghshire, Englnd) in 1901.
They had five children, one of whom died in infancy.
James started as a settler in the late 1890's in Pahiatua. By 1914 he is a farmer in Levin & Weraroa. By 1938 he he is in Feilding as a famer.