James was born on the 13th June 1893 in Newton-by-Daresbury and was the son of James and Sarah Elizabeth Ryder (nee Gerrard). They had married in 1881. His father was a journeyman stonemason.
James was baptised in Daresbury church on the 16th July 1893.
In 1901 Jim was staying with his uncle and aunt, Charles and Ann Jones in Daresbury.
By 1911 Jim was still living with his uncle and was employed as a canal clerk.
Jim married Helen Antrobus, the sister of James Antrobus in 1916.
After the war the government passed The Land Settlement (Facilities) Act in 1919. This act allowed local authorities to provide small holdings and allotments to ex-servicemen; they could be allocated between 1 acre and 50 acres of farmland per person and be given priority over other applicants even if they had no previous agricultural experience. Jim went into partnership with James and Ben Antobus and were allocated 150 acres on Union Farm, Northwich Road, Dutton.
In 1939 Jim was living at Newton Lane Cottages on Summer Lane.
During the Second World War, Jim was a “traveller” for Manchester Farmers selling cattle feed.