James was the son of John and Amanda MacDonald of Cardigan. He was known for farming and his profound sixty-two years of being a rural mail deliverer. He had the longest career known in mail delivery by one person in Canada. James started out his career at the age of twenty-two years old on April 1st, 1923 and had retired on September 30th, 1985. James used several different methods of transportation over the years of service including horse and buggy, horse and sleigh and later years by car. In 1971 James even used a horse and wagon for his delivering but had to stop as it drew quite the commotion to the attraction for tourists delaying his route. But that did not stop him in the winter from using a horse and sleigh.
Upon his retirement in September 1985 there was a presentation made from Patricia Doucette and Gerry Sullivan on all his loyal years of service. The following was presented to him that allows us to see his importance in the community:
We, the box holders of Cardigan RR2 are very happy to visit you tonight to express our appreciation and thanks for the many years of public service you have given us. Your dedication, thoughtfulness and kindness beyond the call of duty. Especially those of us that live a long distance from the highway, when many times due to drifting, no snow plows and other reasons you were kind enough to leave your vehicle to deposit our mail. You didn’t have to do it but you did. You were a very important person in our daily lives. Those few days due to holidays or storms that Jimmy Allen didn’t make the scene, our daily program was very incomplete. Just as the sunshine brightens our mornings, the site of your horse, truck or car was a ray of expectation. What will Jimmy leave for us today? Will it only be the newspaper, magazines, a letter from a long lost friend, a package or one of those letters with a window. Which does not always have checks for curtains? Yes, your cargo was varied and valuable and for the most part brought joy to all.
On behalf of all on Cardigan RR#2 we ask you to accept this chair as a wee token of our appreciation for your many years of good service. With this chair goes our fervent wish that the good lord will continue to bless you with much happiness and good health for years to come. I recall 3 lines from an unknown poet, which in my mind, very appropriately sums up the characteristics of Jimmy Allen. I quote “to think kindly is good, to speak kindly is better, to act kindly is best.”
James married Christina Mae Hume and they had three children together Muriel, Marguerite and Gordon. James residence that was located in Cardigan on the Strathbogie road has since been torn down but is now occupied by James' son Gordon who built his own beautiful home.