James was from England. In the 1869 Salt Lake City directory he was listed as James Albion, an architect living in the 15th ward. In the 1870 Utah census an architect named James Albin (b. ca. 1794) was in Box Elder County. The inscription on his gravestone shows his surname as "Albon."
The obituary of this man says he had been a minister "among the Independents" in England and in 1840 he "opened a church, which he owned in London, for Elders H. C. Kimball and W. Woodruff to preach in" and was soon baptized. The obituary also says "His stay in this country has been very brief."