He was born in Montgomery, Virginia on January 11, 1874 to Charles B. Atkinson and Rosa(or Roda/Rhoda) Elizabeth Atkinson. Both of which were born in Virginia, so he's an "Old Immigrant".
James married Alice M. Gearheart when he was 24 on Sep. 15, 1897 in Montgomery County, Virginia. They had 9 children, one of which I assume died at a young age as she doesn't show up on the next 2 censuses. Maurine (died btwn 1900-1910; somewhere btwn the ages of 2-12). Margie, William (the direct connection of my lineage), Ethel, Beatrice, Clyde, Reba, and Ruby.
William's wife, Birdie, moved in with them when she was 17 sometime during the 1920s along with Alice's mother (James' mother in law) who was 72.
James lived in Montgomery, Virginia throughout his whole life and worked at a railroad company as a day laborer (a pump runner and reaper to be specific). Working in this field allowed for him to use technology like a reaper. And if he were in a union, he'd probably would've been in the American Railway Union.
He either lived in a good neighborhood or at least not an ethnic neighborhood as he was an "Old Immigrant".
On the 1900 census it is listed that he can read and write but the 1910,1920, and 1930 censuses state that he cannot.
There is documentation of him being enlisted for World War I on September 12, 1918. This most likely means that he never actually fought in the war as the war was pretty much almost over at this point.