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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John Henry Begley

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 268-269 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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For many years John Henry Begley has served the people of Little Falls as their courteous and efficient assistant postmaster. Indeed, it would be very difficult for most people of the city to imagine the post office without Mr. Begley, for his years of experience as a postal clerk and assistant postmaster have made him an authority on all the details of postal regulation and usage, the final arbiter in cases of dispute. Mr. Begley was born in Little Falls on August 20, 1866, the son of John and Eliza (Long) Begley, both of whom were born in Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, in 1839, the father in the month of August and the mother in November. They are now living in Little Falls, at the age of eighty-four, and Mrs. Begley, especially, is very active for a person of her advanced years. Nearly twenty years ago the father retired front active life after spending more than forty years with the New York Central Railroad as track foreman.

John Henry Begley grew to manhood in Little Falls, where he went to the public schools and took a two-year course in the local high school. During the long summer vacations for three years before he left school he was employed as a water boy with construction gangs on the New York Central, attending school in the winter. His first ambition was to become a machinist and with this in view he entered Ready's foundry as a chore boy when he laid his textbooks aside to take up the sterner duties of earning a livelihood. He worked in the foundry for a year, but at the end of that time decided that he had not started in the right direction. When he was about twenty he accepted a position as a clerk in the local post office at a salary of four hundred dollars a year, under the postmastership of W. R. Chapple. This proved to be the pivotal step in his life, for he has been identified with the Little Falls post office ever since. At the end of his first year in the office Mr. Begley was advanced to the position of assistant to the postmaster, but unfortunately for him Mr. Chapple's administration was nearly over and the advent of a republican postmaster meant that he had to return to the position of clerk. When Mr. W. H. Nolan was appointed postmaster in 1916, Mr. Begley became his assistant and upon the accession of Mr. F. W. Ashenhurst to the office he continued in that position. Inasmuch as the office of postmaster is a political one, subject to frequent change with the national political fortunes, it is the permanent employe, such as Mr. Begley, who carries on the real routine of Uncle Sam's tremendous mail business. He is the man who must know all the essential details of this vast organization and upon him we depend for the prompt and safe delivery of our mail. In Little Falls this responsible post has been admirably filled by Mr. Begley for many years and he has long enjoyed the well-merited confidence of his fellow employes and the general public.

For the past twenty-seven years Mr. Begley has been proprietor of a retail grocery establishment at the corner of Ward and Loomis streets, which enjoys a liberal patronage from the people of Little Falls and the surrounding community. The store is in charge of Miss Anna Begley, who is assisted by her two sisters, the Misses Elizabeth and Leta Begley. Mr. Begley is also connected with the C. J. Lundstrom Manufacturing Company, makers of bookcases, in which he holds the office of director, and is likewise a director of the Little Falls National Bank.

Politically Mr. Begley is affiliated with the democratic party and served as a police and fire commissioner for Little Falls under Mayor Timothy Dasey for two years. A Roman Catholic in his religious faith, he belongs to St. Mary's parish of this city and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He also belongs to the Little Falls Lodge of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Begley was one of the men instrumental in organizing the Little Falls Country Club, of which he has been a member for many years, and he is also identified with the Camp Outlet Club of Wilmurt, New York.

Mr. Begley and Miss Catherine O'Connell were united in marriage in this city, on the 16th of June, 1896. Mrs. Begley was born in Little Falls on August 5, 1871, and is the daughter of John and Mary (MoyNahan) O'Connell, both of whom are deceased. Her parents were natives of Ireland who came to America in early life, and first met in Little Falls, where they were subsequently married. Mr. and Mrs. Begley have two daughters: Helen Marie and Louise, born in this city on August 1, 1900, and September 6, 1903, respectively. Helen, who is a graduate of St. Mary's Academy of Little Falls, class of 1919, and of the School of Commerce of Utica, class of 1920, is now employed by the Henry Cheney Hammer Company, Incorporated, of this city; Louise graduated from St. Mary's in 1921 and is now attending St. Rose's College of Albany.

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