James sailed to America in 1856 on the ship Horizon, and the ship manifest shows his sister Jane Jemmett on the ship with him. Jane and her adopted daughter Annie came to Utah with the 1856 John A. Hunt pioneer company.
James was traveling to Utah with a group from Asten Rowent including John Jaques and the Loader family. He died before arriving in Utah, and his death date was recorded on church ordinance records.