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From "A Biographical History with Portraits of Prominent Men of the Great West," Manhattan Publishing Co., Chicago, IL: Donohue & Henneberry, Printers and Binders, 1894; pp. 354-57:


Chicago, Illinois

"The subject of this biography was born at Watertown, Jefferson county, N.Y., May 18, 1858, his parents being James and Catherine Trainor, of Watertown, where the father still resides on the old homestead, his mother having died in 1873, when John was fifteen years old. His youth was spent in his native place, and there he received his early education of which he began the study of law in the office of Hannibal Smith, who was the principal of the Watertown High School when young Trainor first entered that institution, and an old and valued friend. During the winter terms of 1878-79 he temporarily left the law office, to become a teacher of the village school at East Rodman, in his native county, after which he resumed his legal studies in the office of Edmund B. Wynn, general counsel for the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company. After close application to his studies, Mr. Trainor, on January 6, 1882, at the age of twenty-four, was admitted to the bar at the general term of the Supreme Court held at Syracuse, N. Y., after a creditable examination.

"August 27, 1883, Mr. Trainor came to Chicago, first opening an office at Kensington, a suburb of the city adjoining Pullman, and after establishing a permanent practice, he removed his office to Chicago, occupying suite 62 and 63 La Fayette building, 70 La Salle street, his present location, his residence still being in Kensington.

"On October 14, 1880, Mr. Trainor was united in marriage to Miss Deette M. Cavanaugh, of Watertown, N. Y., daughter of Thomas T. and Mary E. Cavanaugh, and grand-daughter of Chandler C. Chase, of Watertown. Mrs. Trainor's parents owned and operated a large dairy farm of between 300 and 400 acres, located at the junction of the three towns Rodman, Rutland and Watertown, in Jefferson county, and situated about seven miles from the city of Watertown. Her grandfather, Mr. Chase, was a well-to-do farmer in the township, and died April, 1893, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. Mr. Chase had been assessor of his township for a number of years, and was one of the best known and most respected men in Jefferson county.

"Mr. Trainor is justly regarded as one of the prominent lawyers of Chicago, a position he has attained by [p. 357] his own unaided efforts and by virtue of his systematic industry and sterling ability. He is distinctly a self-made man, and has succeeded in building up a large practice of the best kind. He represents several of the most prominent wholesale and retail firms of Chicago, and looks after their interests in a manner which makes him valued highly by all of them. He is a hard and studious worker, and his law library is said to be one of the finest in the city.

"In September, 1893, Mr. Trainor experienced the great affliction of his life in the loss of his esteemed wife, who died of pneumonia, leaving five small children--three girls and two boys, the youngest but five weeks old. Mrs. Trainor was a beautiful woman, of rare intellectual endowment, and whose life was very helpful to her husband, and who feels her loss most keenly. We are glad to know that the ability displayed in, and his close application to his profession, above referred to, have borne to Mr. Trainor gratifying results, for during the past ten years he has acquired a very comfortable competence, which has found judicious investment. Among the evidences of prosperity may be noted the recent erection, at Kensington, by him, of a fine four-story, stone-front business block, which is an ornament to the town.

"In politics, Mr. Trainor is a Republican, whose activity and well timed zeal are of recognized value, and much appreciated by his associates. In personal appearance he is of medium height, fine physique, of pleasant address and keen perception, a loyal friend and in all places a gentleman. We bespeak for him a bright future."