James Butler Stoney was born in Portland County Tipperary, Ireland on 13th May 1814. He entered Trinity College, Dublin (aged 15) to study for the Bar. In 1831 during an outbreak of cholera, he was taken ill and, in fear of death, called upon the Lord for salvation.

He gave up the law for divinity, still at Trinity College, but (fortuitously) was too young to be ordained. It was in 1833 that Mr. Stoney first came in contact with brethren and Mr. Darby.

For almost 60 years, Mr. Stoney served the saints actively and faithfully. Shortly after a fall in October 1895, Mr. Stoney was laid aside until the Lord took him to Himself on May 1, 1897, just days before his 83rd birthday.