Born 3 December, 1835 at Bedford, Bedfordshire, England.
Marrried Elizabeth Anne Roberts at Inglewood, Victoria, Australia, on 31 January, 1871
Died 24 November, 1905 at Franklinford, Victoria, Australia.
James and Elizabeth had 12 Children:
- Elizabeth Anne, born 20 July 1871 at Jarklan, married James Hatt in 1898, died September 1933. Elizabeth and James had 6 children;
- John James, born 24 May 1873 at Franklinford, married Mary Thomas in 1901, died 19 Jun 1946, ;
- Joseph, born 27 May 1876, married Clara Owen Thomas in January 1901, died 8 August 1939;
- Edith Emily, born 6 September 1878 at Franklinford, married George Marshall in 1898 and died in 1949 at Daylesford;
- Ann Maria, born 21 December 1881, married Henry George Hall in 1905, and died in 1972;
- Edmund Brookes, born 20 July 1883 at Franklinford, married Ethel Grace Baker on 17 September 1913;
- William Buckingham, born 31 December 1884 at Franklinford, married Mary Ann Arkley on 17 September 1913, and died 29 November 1964;
- Walter Charles, born 7 August 1886 at Franklinford, married Mirth May Sutherland in 1914, and died in 1972;
- Frances Ellen, born 20 April 1889 at Franklinford, married Henry Matthew Lee in 1910, and died 1 July 1969 at Castlemaine;
- Richard Billington, born 15 May 1891 at Franklinford, married Ethel Ramsey in 1913, and died 15 January 1974 at Kyabram;
- Alice Maud Mary, born 8 October 1893 at Franklinford, married Benjamin Nickels in 1912, and died 17 April 1963 at Parkville; and
- Albert Edward, born 21 July 1895 at Franklinford, died 31 October 1974 at Castlemaine.
Little information has been able to be obtained on James life, either on his early life in England, or his time in Australia.
Shipping records reveal that James, with his father John, sailed from Adelaide to Melbourne on the Brig "Dale" on 28th February 1852. On 24th March, John wrote back to his wife Anna Maria in Adelaide, telling her of the trek that they had made. It seems as though John, Anna and James arrived in Adelaide in late 1851, and John and James then travelled to the goldfields in Victoria to seek their fortune. Details of the ship that brought the three to Australia has not yet been found, and the author of this website would appreciate any knowledge that might be contributed on this matter.
It is certain that James was with his father, John, in the Bendigo gold fields in Victoria during the 1852, however during the period 1869 to 1875, both James and his father were shown in the Post Office directories as being farmers at Franklinford. During this period, James also worked at the "Yarrowalla" farm, which was owned by the Roberts family. It was during this time that James met Elizabeth Anne Roberts, whom he married in 1871.
Elizabeth Anne Roberts, picture taken around 1893, when Elizabeth was 41 years old.
Other than their first child, Elizabeth Anne, who was born at Jarklan, all their children were born at Franklinford. It is of interest to note the the first and second names of many of James' children, which reflects on the family ancestry:
- Joseph, who was a brother to James;
- Elizabeth Anne, James aunty was Elizabeth;
- Ann Maria, James mother was Anna Maria
- Edmund Brookes; Edmund was a strong family name, and James grandmother was Anne Brooks
- Wiiliam Buckingham; William was James grandfather, and Buckinghamshire was the county of the Seamons family for centuries;
- Walter Charles, with Charles being the uncle of James;
- Richard Billington, with Billington being the maiden name of James' mother
James, in his later life, worked collecting money for the share mine group in the Franklinford/Yandoit area of Victoria (the share mine group being a number of local business people and farmers who put some spare cash into the running of a gold mine on a regular basis for investment purposes, for a share in the profits). Young James had the ability to become rich. He became a mining engineer whose background was practical, rather than academic. He bought and sold shares by the thousand. In the end his spirit of adventure outran his discretion, and after his death his sons were left with his debts. His gifts were outstanding and in legal disputes he was often employed to represent defendants. In the gold mining area he was called "The Bush Lawyer".
James was also the Sexton at the Franklinford cemetery for a period of thirty years.
James died in 1905, just short of his sixtieth birthday. Elizabeth, who was some 17 years younger than James, lived to 1937, reaching 85 years of age.
Elizabeth Anne Roberts, taken in 1912, probably on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday.