James was born in Nova Scotia. He is the husband of Mary Cropley and the father of Edward Downie.
He married Mary Cropley, the daughter of "John Cropley, b. 1771, married in 1794, Mary daughter of Anthony Marshall and died in 1858".
In the 1827, Census Returns, Assessment and Poll Tax Records 1767-1838, James Downie is listed with 6 family members total on his 10 Acre farm. Within this list appear other Downies and names of families who married into the Downie family as well.
"Mr. James Downey - The subject of this notice was born on the 8th day of April, 1792...removed to Stronach Mountain, Wilmot, with his father...On the 15th day of February, 1821 brother Downey was united in marriage with Miss Mary Cropley... they Had 16 children, of whom fourteen are still living...Besides a widow and fourteen children, he has left a mother...aged 88, eight brothers and sisters " 
"668. Page 506, R: 22 Nov 1858: LWT of James DOWNE of Wilmot, yeoman. Wife: Mary. Children: Allen, James, Catharine, Eveline, Charlotte and Lucilla. @ Page 110, will probated. Estate Folio D57 (1858)."
Find A Grave: Memorial #179034078, Evergreen Baptist Cemetery, East Margaretsville, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The death certificate for his son lists the place of birth for Edward and James as "Marketville". It is Margaretsville.
There is a James Downey, born in 1818 in Nova Scotia, in the 1881 census, with a son Edward. However, this Edward was born about 1866, and this family appears to be African Canadian/American. 
An Ancestry Tree by Scavenger352003 lists James Brothers and Sisters. Link This Family Tree information needs verification and research before adding the information to WikiTree. She lists a birth record for a James Downey, son of William and Mary Downey as September 20, 1725. Who is this in the time frame of the family she has listed?
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On 10 Aug 2018 at 14:17 GMT Mags Gaulden wrote:
Doing some work on this line. I hope to add information and sources.