The 1860 Census is the one that I think sent me on the wrong trail. I see today that many people still have James’ parents from the “wrong” record listed as his family. This new record I found matches up much better, so I’m more sure it’s this James.
He is living in 1860 in Miller, Scotland County, Missouri. This is in the same county that he married Elisabeth Enyart, which helps the case. Not only that, in the census record he is living with Elisabeth (age 15) and her family, helping her father as a farm hand. Her parents were Nelson and Margaret (Kearns) Enyart (though it looks like “Inard” in the record.)
The previous record I had on file was one from Iowa where there was a James A Collins of the exact same age and birthplace, but James can’t be in two places at once. This new record from Missouri lines up much better. But now I do not know anything about James’ parents.