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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Thomas J. McNamara

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 804-805 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Teaching school as a life occupation satisfies the ambition of some men, while to others the teacher's work is only the stepping stone to larger fields of effort. It was so with Thomas J. McNamara, city judge of Rome, Oneida county, New York, who in the spare hours of a teacher's life qualified himself for the practice of law, from which the transition to the bench was a natural one. He was born at Annsville, Oneida county, New York, on April 30, 1867, the son of Patrick and Hannora (Hennessy) McNamara, both natives of Ireland, the father from Limerick and the mother from Cork. The mother of the judge came to the United States with her parents when a small child about the year 1837, and they were one of the first families to settle in the Mohawk Valley section. The judge's father was a later arrival, coming to the United States about the year 1850 and settling in the northern part of Oneida county, when he was about eighteen years old. There he was engaged in farming until his death in 1899. The mother died in 1915. Patrick McNamara and his wife were the parents of twelve children, Thomas J. being the tenth child in order of birth.

Thomas J. McNamara obtained his elementary education in the public schools of Annsville and graduated from the high school at Waterville, after which he spent some time in the law college of Syracuse University, at Syracuse, New York. When he left the university Mr. McNamara obtained employment as a teacher, and for the next fourteen years worked conscientiously as an instructor in the publid schools of Oneida county. While teaching school he had also been reading law in such time as was at his disposal, and finally abandoned the schoolroom and applied himself to the serious study of law, pursuing his studies in Rome, Syracuse and Oswego, all in New York state. Mr. McNamara eventually took the necessary examination and was admitted to the bar in 1901, after which he began legal practice.in Rome, where he has resided ever since. He was first associated with Timothy Curtin, then district attorney, and later with John E. Mason, deputy attorney-general, and for several terms assemblyman from the Third Oneida district. Afterward Mr. McNamara conducted his law practice alone. While studying law Mr. McNamara held the position of collector of canal statistics at Rome and Oswego at different times.

Judge McNamara was married in 1891, in Annsville, to Miss Carrie Forgeon, daughter of Peter Forgeon of Lee, New York, an old friend of the family. Judge McNamara is a republican in his political views and takes an active interest in political affairs. He has served two years in the New York State Guards, and during the World war acted as legal adviser to the board of questioners. Fraternally Judge McNamara is affiliated with the Masonic order, belonging to Hathaway Lodge; the Knights of Pythias, the Order of the Maccabees and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is also a member of the Masonic Country Club and the Kiwanis Club. In his religious convictions the judge is a member of the First Baptist church and has been clerk for a number of years. He finds his chief recreation in outdoor life and in the woods.

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