James traveled to Utah in 1847 or 1848. The first documentation to place him in Utah is his rebaptism 20 May 1849, which was prior to the arrival of that season's emigration. His father, Martin Horton Peck, traveled to Utah with the 1848 Heber C. Kimball Company, but we have not been able to locate a primary source that proves James came with his father.
In 1855, traveled from California with the Parley P. Pratt company. His brother, Joseph Augustine, was in the same company.
The Salt Lake City Tax list shows him living in the Salt Lake 17th Ward in 1859 and in the Salt Lake 16th Ward in 1860. He moved to California by 1870.