Thoburn, James Matthew was born on June 23, 1856 in St. Clairsville, Ohio, United States. Son of David and Elizabeth (Murdick) Thoburn.
Bachelor of Arts from Allegheny College in 1881, Master of Arts, 1883 (Doctor of Divinity, 1893).
Ordained Mechanical Engineering ministry, 1884. Pastor Warren, Pennsylvania, 1880-1883, Dunkirk, New York, 1883-1884, Calcutta, India, 1884-1888, Oil City, Pennsylvania, 1888-1893, Duluth, Minnesota, 1893-1895, Detroit, Michigan, 1895-1900, Nova Scoti Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1900-1910. District superintendent Allegheny District, 1910-1916.
Pastor Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 1916-1921. President Beaver College for Women, 1921-1923. Pastor Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, 1923-1925, Mary S. Brown Memorial Church, Pittsburgh, 1925-1932, Smithfield Street Church, Pittsburgh, since 1932.