James McMullan was 25 in 1911. On the 1911 census he is listed as living in Ahoghill, a village about 4 miles from Ballymena. He is living with an older woman and is listed as being a boarder and her adopted son.
An agricultural labourer who could read and write he became embroiled in the Home Rule debate in 1912 by writing to the Ballymena Observer. He was opposed to Home Rule. He complained that the Ancient Order of Hibernians forced Catholics to become members, beating those who refused.