James was born in Essendon, Herfortshie, England.
He married Sarah Kellard (born in Sormerset, Bristol, England in 1843) at Shoreditch, Essex, England in 1864.
They had 10 children. Five of them died in infancy, two in England & three on the West Coast.
At some point Jame's surname changed to Check. Four of the children were born as Checks.
Sarah died in 1906 and James partnered with Mary Ann Chandler (nee Smith). They were never legally married.
James was a bricklayer all his working life. he started at jacksons Bay in around 1875, moved to Masterton around 1885, Plamerston Nth around 1890, and was in Levin in 1905. He finished up back in Masterton.
He was an original member of the Masterton Fire Brigade.