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< Gouverneur Benefactors — James C. Dolan


James C. Dolan was one of Gouvemeur's most respected attorneys. When James C. Dolan, former St. Lawrence County Judge, died on Oct. 26, 1937, he had served seven years as assistant district attorney, six years as district attorney, 13 years as county judge, and 12 years as the First Judge of the Children's Court.


Ever interested in education Judge Dolan was a member of the Gouverneur board of education for 32 years and served as the board's president for 27 years. The annex at Dean High School, dedicated on October 6, 7, 8, 1937, was named the Judge James C. Dolan annex in honor of the Judge's continued service to education.


James C. Dolan was born in the town of Macomb on Sept, 4. 1870. son of Patrick and Catherine Gallagher Dolan. His father having died earlier, Mr: -- Dolan and his mother lived on the DoIan farm until the late '80s. "It was a rough, stubborn farm that he and his mother left," according to a 1937 Times article. "and the struggle of mother and only child to obtain an education for him is a story of courage. privation and planning seldom equalled... After he graduated from the High school (Gouverneur Union Free school) James went on to St. Lawrence University at Canton in 1892 and was graduated four years later."

At that time he returned to Gouverneur and began the study of law in the office of Judge Vasco P. Abbott. Mr. Dolan was admitted to the bar in 1898 and in 1901, the two men formed the firm of Abbott and Dolan. This partnership continued until 1918 when Judge Abbott died and Judge Dolan continued the practice of law in this same office.


An article at the time of his death describes Judge Dolan as an “advocate of the cause of the common man, the friend of the submerged. His early life of hardship always made him sympathetic to the timid who sought justice and those who were thrown into litigation and the courts against their will." Judge James C. Dolan was elected a life member of the board of of St. Lawrence University in 1919, and was elected second vice president of the university In 1935 and held that office until his death. He also served on the building committees for Dean Eaton Hall, Gunnison Memorial chapel, Hepburn laboratory and a men's dormitory.


He was a director of the Bank of Gouverneur. Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association and the Canton Electric Light & Power company. He was a member of St. James Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, Gouverneur Country Club, Luncheon Club. Citizen Club and the Chamber of Commerce.


After retiring in 1935 Judge Dolan wintered in Florida. He died October 29, 1937 in New York City at age 67 on his way to Florida. The Dolan High School Annex was dedicated to him on October 6, 1937, just prior to his passing.


Portions of this text from a special insert of the Watertown Times, Wed., July 2, 1980, "The One and Only, Gouverneur

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