Legaré was a relative of Hugh S. Legaré. He was by profession an inventor, but whose ill health prevented the commercialization of his devices. He contributed poetry to magazines, and published a single volume, Orta-Undis and other poems in 1848. Orta-undis means "sprung from water".
Curtis Carroll Davis, That Ambitious Mr. Legaré: The Life of James M. Legaré of South Carolina, Including a Collected Edition of His Verse, (University of South Carolina Press, 1971), ISBN 0-87249-166-8.