James A. Inches was born in Scotland around 1832. He and his wife, Charlotte had 4 children: Clarence (b. ca. 1855) ; Charlotte (b. ca. 1856); Annie (b. ca. 1858); and Walter (b. 1861). The Inches family was Episcopalian. In 1862, James Inches, who is described as a clerk, began to organize a company of militia at St. Stephen.
On 8 January 1866, Lieutenant-Colonel James A. Inches reported to New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor, Arthur Gordon, on Fenian activity in Calais, Maine, just across the border from St. Stephen. The Fenians, an Irish American group, were planning raids into British North America in support of Irish independence. The Fenians were active in the towns along the border, trying to drum up support for their cause. In April 1866 they briefly occupied Indian Island.
On 23 May, Inches sent the Lieutenant-Governor a telegram about the Fenian activities in Calais. At Gordon's request, he made a more detailed report on 24 May. He outlined Fenian movements, naming two men, Doyle and James Barrett, as being highly involved in transporting weapons within Calais then out of the area by sea. He refused to name the source of his information, stating only that it was undoubtedly reliable.
Source: Harold Davis, "The Fenian raid on New Brunswick," Canadian Historical Review, vol. 36, 1955.