James was born at Belford, Northumberland, England.
He married Annie Gray (born at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1848) in 1867.
Altogether they had 13 children, 8 born in England & 5 in Wellington, NZ. There were 6 boys & 7 girls. One died in infancy in England & one in Ireland. Two died in their teens in NZ.
Two sons, George & James (Jnr) served in WW1.
James was a farmer, firstly at Paraparaumu, then Kereru, Shannon from about 1899 to 1902, then Kopataroa till about 1911 then in Palmerston Nth.
James was the original purchaser of 5 town blocks, one of which is now where the church stands on the corner of Cambridge & Kent Sts, & 4 blocks which are now part of the Thompson House reserve.