James, son of William and Margaret (née Guthrie), was born at Perth in Scotland on 25 December 1822. He emigrated on the Tasman arriving in the colony in October 1848. He married Catherine Robertson, who migrated on the same ship, in 1850. Catherine was born in 1821 at Perth in Scotland. They had the following children:
William — born 20 April 1852, married Christina McKenzie in 1881, died on 8 June 1928, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Highton Cemetery
Alexander — born 12 July 1855 at Barrabool Hills, died 8 July 1881 at Ceres at the age of 25, buried in the Presbyterian section of the Highton Cemetery
Charles — born about 1856, married Margaret Elder Nelson in 1891, died in 1934 in Geelong aged 78 years, buried 10 February 1934 in the Presbyterian section of the Highton Cemetery
Lawrence — born 1857 in Geelong, died 1934 aged 77 at Dandenong
Ann — born 1850, married John Nelson, died 1931
Mary — born 12 March 1853 at Barrabool Hills, married David Munro MacKay, died 18 July6 1892
Catherine died on 4 March 1868 at Barrabool and was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Highton Cemetery.
In 1869 James married Caroline, daughter of John and Mary Jane (née Sefton) Edney. They had the following children:
Catherine Alice — born 1870 at Ceres, died in 1893 at Perth Cottage, Ceres
Margaret Jane — born 1872 at Ceres, married George McMeekin
James Alexander — born 21 May 1873 at Ceres, married Annabella McKenzie, died 2 February 1942 at Geelong aged 68
Isabella — born 1875 at Ceres
David — born 1877 at Ceres, married Jessie Jane Gerrand, died 1964 at Swan Hill
Winfred John — born 1881 at Geelong, married Emma White, died 1959 at Armadale in Victoria aged 77
On 20 May 1897 James' land was auctioned with a total receipts of £9907. The land was offered in four allotments with a total offered for sale being 398 acres 4 roods (sic) 10 perches:
Lot 1: Part of allotment 14, parish of Barrabool, containing 142 acres 1 rood 6 perches, together with the stone cottage known as "Tasman Cottage," with farm buildings. Bought by Charles Anderson for £25.10s per acre
Lot 2: Part of portion 14, parish of Barrabool, containing 3 acres and 2 roods, being lots 18 to 24 (inclusive) of the sub-division known as the Merrawarp Estate. Bought by C Marendaz at £102 per acre
Lot 3: Part of portion 14, parish of Barrabool, containing 130 acres, together with stabling known as "Westcott Farm." Bought by James Anderson at £19 per acre
Lot 4: Part of section 11, parish of Barrabool, containing 123 acres 1 rood 4 perches. Bought by Charles Anderson at £28 per acre
James' son, William, was a Barrabool Shire councillor from 1897 until 1929. William's son, William Douglas was also a Barrabool Shire councillor, serving from 1928 until 1973.
James took an active part in the development of the Barrabool Church. He first worked for the squatter, AF Cunningham. By 1851, he had taken up 10 acres of freehold land near the junction of Barrabool and Honeys Roads. He had built his home, Tasman Cottage by 1861. He increased his wealth as a carter to the diggings during the gold rush of the 1850s. By the time of his death in 1883 he owned 1,000 acres.
James died on 10 September 1883 at the age of 60 years and was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Highton Cemetery. Caroline died on 16 August 1931 at Surrey Hills and was buried with him.
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