Initially traveled to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1848 with his family. He was a Captain of the 2nd Ten and clerk of the company.
In 1849, Brigham Young called several missionaries to serve in the Sandwich Islands. James assisted them as far as California, and returned with the Lyman Company of 1850.
In 1851, James and his family were called to settle in California. They returned to Utah in 1857 with the rest of the returning Saints. His mother-in-law traveled with his family.
Surname is "Rawlins" in the 1860 Census.