PM itinerant. Born at Benstool, on 6 March 1840, in a remote Pennine farmstead between Todmorden and Rochdale, the son of a contractor. He was educated in village schools and the local Sunday School. He became a local preacher in his mid-teens and an itinerant at 18, serving for 48 years in circuits in the Isle of Man and Lancashire and gaining the reputation of being one of the outstanding ministers in the connexion. He took an active role in promoting ministerial training and served from 1875 as secretary of a committee whose work led to the establishment of Hartley College in Manchester. With Henry Yooll he wrote The Local Preacher's Manual (c.1895). Regarded as one of the ablest ministers in the PM connexion, he was secretary of the General Missionary Committee 1889-94, President of the 1892 Conference and of the National Council of Evangelical Free Churches 1903-4. His autobiography was published in 1914. He died on 8 December 1919.
'James Travis … a minister sagacious in judgement and energetic in action, highly esteemed not only in Lancashire but all over the Primitive Methodist Church… [He] did yeoman service in raising funds for the new [Hartley College] scheme. He was then steadily climbing to that great Connexional reputation which he subsequently gained and bore with so much distinction… Men trusted his judgement and felt the spell of his forceful and persuasive speech. '
W. Bardsley Brash, The Story of our Colleges (1935), p.126