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James McCann

Born at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, July 6, 1814. At the age of seventeen he went to the state of Maine, where he was engaged in lumbering and farming for nearly eighteen years. In 1849 he went to California by way of the city of Mexico, remaining there two years and a half, engaging fifteen months in mining and afterward in mercantile business. In the fall of 1851 he returned to Maine, and the following spring came to St. Anthony, where he engaged in the lumber business. He was also a member of the company, which built the first suspension bridge at Minneapolis, the first bridge thrown across the Mississippi river anywhere. In the fall of 1854 he came to what is now Champlin, where he took a claim, but continued his lumbering and logging interests on Rum river. In 1856 he rebuilt the dam, which had just been washed out for the second time. In 1860 he purchased the waterpower and all the mills then run by it with the exception of the flourmill. In 1863 he erected a second sawmill beside the old one, equipped with more effective machinery, consisting of a circular saw, trimmers, shingle and lath machines, giving a capacity of 20,000 feet per day. About 1871 he sold the waterpower and his entire milling interests to W.D. Washburn & Co., after which he returned his attention principally to farming. Mr. McCann served one term as mayor of Anoka, and one term as county commissioner. In 1873 he was a member of the state legislature. Mr. McCann was three times married. His first wife was Abigail Brackett, to whom he was married in 1841, and who died a year and a half later. His second wife was Ruth S. Abbott, to whom he was married Dec. 17, 1845, and who died in June 1877 leaving two daughters: Ella (Mrs. Thurston) and Ada (Mrs. C.W. Sowden). In April 1882 he was married to Mrs. Sarah A. Bodine. He died Feb. 8, 1883.

source: History of Anoka County by Albert M. Goodrich published 1905