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Excerpt from “History of the North Country
by Harry F. Landon; Published 1932

Transcribed for internet by Anne M. Cady


The following biography is extracted from the “History of the North Country – A History embracing Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis and Franklin Counties, New York” by Harry F. Landon.  This massive history consists of three large volumes with hundreds of short biographies.  As time permits, I will be transcribing the entries with ties to Saint Lawrence County and putting them online. 


James E. Lenney –

As village clerk and treasurer of Potsdam, James E. Lenney takes a prominent part in the civic and business life of the community.  He was born here Nov. 6, 1882, the son of John and Anna (Sullivan) Lenney.


John Lenney has always lived in Potsdam.  He was born Dec. 25, 1854.  He attended St. Lawrence Academy and taught school for several terms.  He then became interested in the grocery business in partnership with his brother, Edward Lenney, and the firm of E. & J. Lenney continued successfully for many years, their store being located on Main Street.  John Lenney also served as postmaster of Potsdam during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.  For several years he has been identified with the Thatcher Baking Powder Company.  He is a Deomocrat and has been a member of the local school board for 25 years.  He hold membership in the Catholic Church.  Anna (Sullivan) Lenney was born at Potsdam and died there in 1915.  There were 13 children in the Lenney family:  1. Bertha, who died in 1911, was the wife of Judge Close.  2. James E., the subject of this sketch.  3. John, a graduate of the University of Michigan, died in March, 1910.  4. Frank, died in 1928.  5. Grace Sweeney, died in 1921.  6. Anna Hepburn, lives at Colton, N.Y.  7. Mabel Lancto, lives at Hartford, Conn.  8.  Henry, lives at Potsdam.  9.  Morris, lives at Greenwich, Conn.  10. Ethel Baisley, lives on Long Island.  11. Martin, lives at Potsdam.  12. Edward, died in 1924, was a World War veteran.  13.  Louis, a World War veteran, lives at Greenwich, Conn.


James E. Lenney received his education in the public schools of Potsdam and attended Potsdam State Normal School for three years.  He served as bookkeeper in his father’s grocery store from 1901 until 1908, and in the latter year became associated with the Peoples Bank at Potsdam.  He was identified with that institution until 1924.  He was interested in the bond business in 1927 when he accepted the position of the village clerk and treasurer.


On Sept 1, 1909, Mr. Lenney married Miss Mary E. McGovern, of Potsdam, the daughter of James and Anna (Davey) McGovern.  The former was born at Stockholm, N.Y., and died in 1914.  The latter, a native of Louisville, N.Y., died in 1911.  Both are buried at Potsdam.  Mr. and Mrs. Lenney are the parents of three sons:  1. Donald J., born May 7, 1911, attends Niagara University.  2. John W., born Sept 30, 1912.  3. Robert P., born Dec 7, 1913.


Mr. Lenney is a Democrat in politics and served as county committeeman for several years.  He is an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, of which he has served as treasurer for 30 years, and he belongs to the Knights of Columbus.  He is also treasurer of St. Mary’s Cemetery Board.


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