James was the 5th child and 4th son born to Jonathan Ady and Hannah Willis Nearing Ady on October 1, 1848 in Ohio. He enlisted in the 130th Indiana Infantry, Company F (same as an older brother William) on January 3, 1864. He mustered out on December 2, 1865 in Charlotte, NC. In 1870 James lived in Osceola, Michigan. On June 7, 1883, he bought 80 acres in Osceola County in an area known as Michigan-Toledo Strip. He died at the age of 41 on January 6, 1890.