James was the son of Morris S. Chenault and Sarah Jones. He married on January 2, 1877, Saline County, Illinois, to Lillian Sophronia Yearian. James was a physician. They moved from Saline County, Illinois, to Texas sometime between 1894 and 1899. James was living in Greer County, Oklahoma, in 1930. Rose Hill Cemetery Records show November 5, 1933 as date of burial.