October 6th 1776, James spelled M-I-G-H-E-L-L-S but pronounced “Miles” was born in Brimfield Massachusetts, to Abner Miles and Mercy Hayes who had married January 4th, 1776. James was named after his Uncle. James moved with his mother, father and at least two sisters of his five sisters to Genesee, New York. James being 14 at this time would have assisted his father in their combined general store, inn, and cobbling business that served the first wave of settlers in that region.
John Arnold was born in 1769 in Perth Amboy of the New Jersey colony that was later to become part of the United States. John Arnold Senior fought on the side of the British in the New Jersey forces during the American Revolution. When their land was confiscated in New Jersey in 1784, John Senior, with his wife and ten children, was granted 1000 acres in Nova Scotia. However, by 1797 the Arnold family, attracted by the land offers of John Graves Simcoe had settled in the York area.
The Colonel was a prominent and colourful figure in the history of Richmond Hill. Numerous references to him and his contributions to early society in Upper Canada have been found, particularly in the book, Early Days in Richmond Hill: A History of the Community to 1930 by Robert M. Stamp.