James was born at Cupar, Fife in Scotland.
He married Eva Ingram (born at Christchurch in 1883) at Feilding in 1906.
They had 10 children, 7 boys & 3 girls. Three of the sons died in infancy.
One son, Robert, served in WW1 & was a POW.
James was a baker by trade. he started at Cheltenham, then Sanson and moved to the Motueka area around 1919. He dabbled as a fruitgrower then went back to his trade.
In 1910 he was living at Weraroa, Levin, with a bakehouse as part of the same building.
In Jan 1910 the building, comprising the bakehouse, dwelling & a confectioners burnt down.