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William S. McNary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William S. McNary
William Sarsfield McNary U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1907
Preceded byHenry F. Naphen
Succeeded byJoseph F. O'Connell
Member of the
Massachusetts State Senate
In office
In office
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 15th Suffolk district[1]
In office
Member of the
Boston Common Council
from Ward 15[2]
In office
Chairperson of the Massachusetts Democratic Party
In office
Preceded byChristopher T. Callahan
Succeeded byJohn J. Flaherty
Personal details
Born(1863-03-29)March 29, 1863
Abington, Massachusetts
DiedJune 26, 1930(1930-06-26) (aged 67)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Albertine A. Martin[3]
ChildrenHelen McNary, William S. McNary, Jr.[3]
Alma materBoston English High School
ProfessionJournalist, Furniture Dealer

William Sarsfield McNary (March 29, 1863 – June 26, 1930) was an American Democratic politician who served two terms as a U.S. Representative from Boston, Massachusetts and exercised tremendous influence over the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Early years

McNary was born in Abington, Massachusetts, McNary attended the public schools of Abington and graduated from the Boston English High School.

After graduation, McNary was a reporter and managing editor of The Boston Commercial Bulletin from 1880 to 1892.[citation needed]

McNary engaged in the insurance business and a dealt in real estate.[citation needed]

Entry into politics

McNary served as member of the City of Boston Common Council in 1887 and 1888.[citation needed]

McNary served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1889 to 1890 and the Massachusetts Senate from 1891 to 1892. As State Senator, McNary served as an alternative delegate to the 1892 Democratic National Convention.[4][5]

In 1893, Robert Grant resigned his position on the Boston Water Board and McNary was appointed to fill the vacancy in July. He served until 1894.[6]

Failed congressional runs

In 1892, McNary secured the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, centered on the heavily Irish Catholic industrial neighborhoods of South Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester.[7]

The district was one of the most Democratic in the overwhelmingly Republican state. However, State Senator Michael McEttrick, running as an independent Democrat, won the race in a three-way contest against McNary and Republican Harrison Atwood.[7]

In 1894, McNary again was secured the Democratic Party nomination to challenge McEttrick, but Atwood was the victor in another three-way contest.[7][8]

Return to state politics

In 1898, McNary was elected secretary of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee.[4]

In 1900, McNary returned to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was elected Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.[4] McNary was elected a delegate to the 1900 and 1904 Conventions.[4][5]

U.S. Representative


In 1902, incumbent Irish-born Representative Henry F. Naphen hoped to run again, but McNary used his position as party chair to force Naphen into retirement. With McNary in control of the party apparatus, Naphen decided to quietly drop out of the race rather than after a fight.[9] With the nomination secure, McNary won an easy victory over Republican William W. Towle by a plurality of 6,195 votes.[5][10]

In 1904, McNary defeated Republican nominee J. B. Crawford by 6,471 votes.[4] He retired in 1906.

In 1910, McNary challenged incumbent Democratic Congressman Joseph F. O'Connell for his old seat in Congress. However, McNary finished third in the primary, which was won by Boston City Councilor James Michael Curley.[11]

Later career

After retiring from Congress, McNary continued his business pursuits in Boston, Massachusetts. He formed The Drake and Hershey Company, a company that dealt in furniture.[3] In 1915, McNary was one of the founders of the Hanover Trust and served as one of its directors.[3]

In 1912, Governor Eugene Foss appointed McNary to the Massachusetts Harbor and Land Commission. McNary served as its chairman for four years.[3] McNary was also an associate member of the Boston Port Directors for two years.[3]

In 1916, Governor Samuel McCall appointed McNary as a member of the Waterways and Public Lands Commission.[3]

Death and burial

McNary died in Boston on June 26, 1930 and was interred in St. Joseph's Cemetery, West Roxbury, Massachusetts.


  1. ^ Rand, John Clark Monroe (1890), One of a Thousand: A Series of Biographical Sketches of One Thousand Representative Men Resident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D. 1888-'89, Boston, MA: First National Publishing Company, p. 689
  2. ^ a b c A Catalogue of the City Councils of Boston, 1822-1908, Roxbury, 1846-1867, Charlestown 1847-1873 and of The Selectmen of Boston, 1634-1822 also of Various Other Town and Municipal officers, Boston, MA: City of Boston Printing Department, 1909, pp. 276–277
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bacon, Edwin Monroe (1916), The Book of Boston: Fifty Years' Recollections of the New England Metropolis, Boston, MA: Book of Boston Co., p. 193
  4. ^ a b c d e United States Congress (1906), Official Congressional Directory, Washington, DC: United States Congress, p. 52
  5. ^ a b c United States Congress (1904), Official Congressional Directory, Washington, DC: United States Congress, p. 50
  6. ^ "Member of Water Board. Hon William S. McNary to Succeed Judge Grant. His Appointment Sent to the Board of Aldermen Yesterday. Its Confirmation Looked Upon as a Foregone Conclusion", Boston Daily Globe, Boston, MA: Boston Daily Globe, p. 1, Aug 1, 1893
  7. ^ a b c "ONLY ONE OUT OF THIRTEEN; MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRATS NOT HOPEFUL OF SUCCESS. Possibly They May Elect Congressmen in the Fifth and Tenth Districts, but Only the Ninth Can Be Counted on as Certain – The Republican Delegation Will Be Practically the Same as at Present – John Simpkins in the Thirteenth", The New York Times, New York, NY, p. 9, October 29, 1894
  8. ^ "FIGHTING 10TH. District Captured by the Republicans. Atwood Leads in the Exciting Race. Elected to Congress Beyond Doubt. McEttrick Second and 1029 Behind. But He Led McNary by No Less Than 1655 Votes. Fitzgerald in 9th Defeats Jesse M. Gove. Both Cronan and Coakley Left Out in the Cold. FITZGERALD'S FIGHT. How He Defeated Jesse Gove in the 9th Congressional District. FULLER THE VICTOR. He Defeats Both Cronan and Coakley for the Senate", Boston Daily Globe, Boston, MA: Boston Daily Globe, p. 1, November 7, 1894
  9. ^ "NAPHEN INDUCED TO RETIRE. Democratic Chairman McNary Wants the Nomination for Himself", The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., p. 1, August 22, 1902
  10. ^ "The American Almanac, Year-book, Cyclopaedia and Atlas", The American Almanac, New York, NY: Published by New York American and Journal, p. 777, 1903
  11. ^ Beatty, Jack (2000), The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley (1874–1958), Cambridge, MA; New York, NY: Da Capo Press, pp. 114–117., ISBN 0-306-81002-6


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

Party political offices
Preceded by
Christopher T. Callahan
Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party
Succeeded by
John J. Flaherty
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district

March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1907
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 5 July 2022, at 05:07
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