James was 2 Aug 1790 born to Andrew Watt and Hannah McKennan in Thornton, Markinch, Fife, Scotland. In his teen years he moved to England and became a traveling salesman.. There he married Mary Ann Wood on 3 May 1811 in the Manchester Cathederal, Manchester, Lancashire, England.
James and Mary Ann moved into a house owned by Mary Ann’s brother, George Darling Wood. Their first child was born a year later on May 18, 1812. He was named George Darling Watt after her brother. In 1817 they had another child, a daughter, who they named Margaret Watt.
James had an itchy foot and convinced his brother-in-law, George, to travel to America with him. They left sometime after the second child was born. According to family tradition, James died in New Orleans in about 1820, but this was not so. George and James then left America and went to Brazil in 1825. George died in Brazil and was buried June 16, 1825 in the British Cemetery in Bahia. James then alone left Bahia and went to Australia. He died in Australia in 1857.