Mr. Iredell was born on October 5, 1751 in Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom. His father, a not particularly successful merchant, suffered a stroke in 1766 that forced him to retire and made it necessary for James Iredell to find work that would assist in the support of his family. A relative subsequently secured Mr. Iredell a position in the colonies as comptroller of customs for Port Roanoke at Edenton, North Carolina. There Mr. Iredell worked for his cousin, Henry E. McCulloh, who was the collector of customs for the port and who, being absent frequendy from Edenton, soon relied on James Iredell to collect the duties for the port and to manage his real estate holdings. Mr. Iredell’s salary for the post went to support his family; he cared for his own needs through fees he collected.