In 1876 at the age of 22 James met and married an Irish girl, Bridget O'Donnell. The marriage ceremony took place at the Karitigi Hotal where Bridget worked. James leased and farmed at Kyeburn (Kyeburn District Lot 2 block 4). Much of the land in the district was leasehold and could not be purchased. James and Bridget hold the record of having the most sons in the army at any one time. All survived the First World War all returning to New Zealand except Richard who stayed and married in England. James died following on operation which was performed on the kitchen table.