James was born in County Sligo, Ireland.
According to some information he was married to Catherine Molloy & had one girl & one boy.
However according to his obituary he came to NZ in 1869 (which is before the children were born) and was described as unmarried.
he started out as farmer in Wanganui around 1880. He came to Levin as a contractor around 1890 and lived here for the rest of his life.
His will was contested by his brother Michael in a jury trial (1924) that lasted 3 days. Later the administration by Michael was contested by a brother & sister still living in Ireland.
He is buried at the Tiro Tiro Rd cemetery under the spelling of Leyden.