John Maginnis

From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


wpe14.gif (146184 bytes)John Maginnis,* superintendent of the Athens Knitting Mill, was born in Gilboa, Schoharie County, on June 5, 1849, son of Patrick and Mary (Brady) Maginnis. His parents were both born in Ireland.

Patrick Maginnis was a tanner by trade, and followed the occupation after coming to this country and settling in Gilboa. He retired from business at about fifty years of age, and died about ten years later. His wife, who was also born in Ireland, died at sixty-six. Of their ten children four are living: namely, Bernard, Anna, John, and Mary. Mary is the wife of James Fitzpatrick. Mary married James Mitchell, since deceased. All the children were born in this country.

John Maginnis remained in his native place up to the age of nineteen. He received his early education in the public schools and at a seminary, and subsequently studied with private teachers and also in an evening school. His first industrial experience was in the cotton sheeting mill in Gilboa, and while there he worked in every department. His second was in the Harmony Mills at Cohoes, where he worked ten years as overseer in the weaving room. Following this he was for ten years in the Van Allen Cotton Mills at Stuyvesant Falls, five years in Valatie as superintendent of the Wild Manufacturing company, and seven years superintendent of the Harder Knitting Company in Hudson. At the end of that time he settled here in his present business. He was one of the organizers of the company, and he superintended the building of the mill and the putting in of machinery. The factory is two hundred and twenty feet long by fifty-five feet in width, and is two stories high. It has six sets of machinery, all of which are made after the most improved plans, and is devoted to the manufacture of fleece-lined knitted underwear. About one hundred and fifty hands are employed, all of whom are hired and superintended by Mr. Maginnis. He attends to the disposing of the output of the mill, sending goods to every State in the Union.

Mr. Maginnis has been twice married. His first wife, whose maiden name was Libbie Sparlin, was born in Hensonville. Her father was Philip Sparlin, a hatter. She died at the age of thirty-two, having been the mother of two sons—William and Byron. The former, who is a baker in North Adams, Mass., is married and has three children—Willie, Helen, and John. Byron is also married. He is an engineer in the fire department of Cohoes. Mr. Maginnis’s second wife was before her marriage Emma Peck. She was born in Craigsville.

Mr. Maginnis is a Republican in politics. He served as Alderman from Ward Five in Hudson. He has always been a most successful man, and since he began working has never been without a position. On account of his skill in his chosen line he has frequently been solicited to enter positions more profitable than the one he was holding when asked. In Cohoes he was one of thirteen to help put up machinery, and was engaged as overseer. While in Stuyvesant Falls he introduced new machinery into the mill, and remodelled the old, so that the output of the mill there was largely increased.

Mr. Maginnis had been a member of the Methodist church for twenty years. Both his wives have also been members. In whatever town he has been living, he had taken an active part in all church matters and in the Sunday-school. While in Hudson he had charge of the prison work of the Young Men’s Christian Association. He had been a trustee of every church with which he has been connected, and in Stuyvesant Falls and Valatie was superintendent of the Sunday-school.


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