James Emmanuel Sisnett was born in Saint George, Barbados (then a part of the British West Indies). In his youth, until 1920, he simultaneously trained and worked as a blacksmith, after which he worked on a different positions in a sugar factory until his retirement in 1970.
On 23 December 1923, he married Anita Dowling, a friend from his school days. They had five children. Anita died in 1937. Five years later, in 1942, Sisnett remarried and had six more children.
Two of his sisters died at 99, and two others reached 100 and 105. One of his cousins, James Stewart, died in October 2021 at the age of 103, and one of his nephews, Fritzgerald Brereton, turned 100 in 2022.
In 2011, samples of his blood, as well as that of some of his relatives, were taken by an American company interested in the study of longevity.
Sisnett died in his sleep of natural causes in a nursing home in Christ Church, Barbados, on 23 May 2013, at the age of 113 years, 90 days. He had an excellent memory and had been in good health prior to his death, having never been a hospital patient. At the time of his death, he had 25 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.