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< Gouverneur Benefactors — The Dean Family


"Jennie Dean - Class of 1881"

She and her sister Cora attended Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary.

This may have been Jennie's graduation photo.

The Dean Sisters, Cora and Jennie, came to Gouverneur in 1866 as toddlers, with their family from their Warren County home where the family had been early settlers. Favorable prospects in the lumbering industry in this area influenced Mr. Dean to move his family here. He had been interested in this business locally for some time before the family came here to reside.


Orison Dean became a member of the lumbering firm of Weston, Dean and Aldrich in 1866. The business later became the main industry in the Gouverneur area. His wife, prior to her marriage, was Miss Mira Aldrich, a sister of Newton Aldrich, an associate of Mr. Dean in the lumbering trade. She was very proud that she could trace her ancestry back to the Mayflower. As the firm's business expanded, their holdings increased, and the Dean family assumed a major role in the development of Gouverneur before the turn of the century.


Following their father's death in 1903, Jennie and Cora Dean became important benefactors in Gouverneur and Northern New York. The Memorial Arch in the Gouverneur Village Park was dedicated on August 30, 1905 as part of the Town's Centennial Celebration on top the arch is a bronze eagle that was not part of the original design. It was commissioned by Jennie Dean and mounted in 1906.


Mira, Cora and Jennie Dean were important benefactors in the building of the new High School in Gouverneur with their $58,000 donation. Opening in April of 1915, it is often referred to as Dean Academy. The Dean sisters also funded the Dean Oratorical Contest which still exists, as an annual speaking contest at the high school.


Both Cora and Jennie attended Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary but they were exceedingly generous to St. Lawrence University. In 1926, Jennie Dean gave $50,000 and Cora gave $25,000 toward erection of a St. Lawrence University dormitory, Dean Eaton Hall, in memory of their father. Two years before this, Cora Dean established a book fund at the University's Herring Library known as the Cora Dean Book Fund. The income from the fund is used to purchase books.


The sisters were also benefactors of the First Presbyterian Church in Gouverneur, they built the Manse. Also receiving assistance was the Stephen B. VanDuzee Hospital and the A. Barton Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg. Upon Jennie's death she left bequests to the five Gouverneur churches and to Hepburn Hospital.

An initial impetus to the construction of a new hospital here was the $142,000 bequest in Cora's will. Cora also bequeathed another $25,000 to Dean High School, which had been the beneficiary of many substantial gifts over the years from the Dean Sisters.


The Arch's Eagle


The Presbyterian Manse


Dean High School

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