James Finchout Newland was born on August 20, 1839, in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, New York.
James left New York and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with the Carren family in Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County.
He stood 6’0” with blue eyes, dark brown hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and probably still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was wounded at New Market Crossroads and at Malvern Hill, Virginia, on June 30 and July 1, 1862, respectively. He soon rejoined the Regiment, however, and was reported as a company cook in August of 1862.
James was a Corporal in January of 1863 when he was transferred, possibly as a Private, to Battery K, Third United States artillery at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, on January 18, 1863, to serve out the balance of his term of enlistment. He reenlisted on February 8, 1864, at Rappahannock Station, Virginia in the same battery, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough for 30 days and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first week of March. He was appointed Corporal on October 27, promoted to Sergeant on April 1, 1865, and was mustered out as a Sergeant on February 8, 1866, at Fort Warren in Boston harbor, Massachusetts.
After his discharge from the army James remained in Boston where he married Irish-born Mary Monaghan (1846-1910) on May 31, 1866, and they had at least nine children: John J. (1867-70), Mary Ann (1871-1888), Charles J. (1872-1956), Margaret Eliza (1874-1890), Daniel M. (1876-1876), Martha (1877-1928), Elias J. (1879-1905), Susan Caroline (1886-1974) and James F. (1888-89). According to one source, Mary had been the cook for the commander of Fort Warren.
James eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he lived the remainder of his life, and for many years worked as a conductor on the New York transit system. In the spring of 1873 James was residing at 715 Flushing Avenue, suffering from deafness in both ears (possibly as a consequence of his service in the artillery), and in 1880 he was working as a “car conductor’ and living on Twenty-fourth Street in Brooklyn with his wife and children. In July of 1892 he was living at 52 Delmonico Street in Brooklyn. By 1902 and 1903 he was living at 985 Myrtle Avenue. He was residing at 884 Myrtle Avenue in April of 1904, April of 1907, August of 1909 and in 1912, and he worked as a conductor on the street railway system in Brooklyn in 1902 and 1904.
In 1892 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1,056,334), increased from $12.00 to $15.00 per month in 1909.
James was probably a widower when he died at his home in Brooklyn at 6:00 a.m. on December 17, 1912, and was presumably buried in Brooklyn.