In response to your question of James' birthplace, all I know is that he was born in Indiana per the 1880 census record of Hamilton County, Indiana.Calculating the age he gave, that would have made his birthdate 1856.
Someone else had answered a post about James, telling me she had found a possible match -- that his mother may have been Athalinda/Asalinda Corns.I've not had a chance to research this, but according to various census records, Athalinda Snowden, who had a son named James F. Snowden, was living with Joseph Corns.10 years later she was Athalinda Guion/Gunyon, living with Absalom/Absalam Guion/Gunyon.
The James F. Snowden mentioned in the records is about the right age as mine, and another point is that my James Frank Snowden and Sarah Jane Melissa Chew (b. 1859 IA) named one of their daughters Atha L. Chew.That seems awfully coincidental to me.
The primary problem is the households Athalinda lived in had several last names, so I'm going to have to really dig in to see who was whom.At this point, the only people I can eliminate are the laborer and his wife/children.