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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
John Arthur Breen

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 70-73 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of John Arthur Breen

Portrait: John Arthur Breen

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John Arthur Breen has won well merited success as president and treasurer of the Utica Real Estate Company, which he organized twenty-three years ago. He was born in Trenton, New York, in 1868, and is a son of Charles and Bridget Breen, natives of Ireland. The father emigrated with his wife and family to the United States in 1860, landing in New York in the month of August. They located on a farm in the vicinity of Holland Patent, this state, and there Charles Breen engaged in agricultural pursuits until the spring of 1904, when he retired and took up his abode in Utica.

John Arthur Breen, the sixth in order of birth in a family of seven children, was reared on the homestead at Trenton, now Barneveld. His district school education, obtained at the little red schoolhouse at Joy's Hotel Four Corners, was supplemented by a course of study in the high school at Holland Patent. He remained on the farm until he had attained his majority. During the years 1891 and 1892 he worked for Baggs Brothers in their cheese factory at Holland Patent. Mr. Breen entered the Utica Business College in the fall of 1892, and in June, 1893, he obtained a position as salesman with the Kernan Furnace Company. He continued in their service for five years, at the expiration of which time he became a member of Breen Brothers' plumbing concern. This company was composed of Jerry C., Charles J., Thomas and John A., now known as the Thomas Breen Company. He severed his connection with them in 1905, since which time he has given his entire attention to his real estate business. In the year 1901 he organized the Utica Real Estate Company, which erects homes for any interested party who owns a building lot, thereby enabling the purchaser to pay for his home in monthly installments equivalent to rent. This has proven successful principally because Mr. Breen looks after details and no house is turned over to the buyer until all particulars have been examined thoroughly. Mr. Breen uses the best building material obtainable and enjoys an enviable reputation in his field of activity.

On the 8th of February, 1898, Mr. Breen was married to Miss Ethel C. Clark of Clayton, New York. To them have been born four children: J. Clark, Arthur W. and Clayton C., all of whom are college students; and Cornelia Louise. The family attend the Episcopal church. In Masonry Mr. Breen has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and is a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He also belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and to the principal clubs. Moreover, he is a member of Company L of the New York State Guard, of which he was made a sergeant in 1919, in recognition of his services during the period of the World war. He is a republican in politics and has always taken a keen interest in municipal affairs, supporting all worthy public enterprises. He served as assessor of the town of New Hartford for eight years, and in 1922 was elected state committeeman for the second assembly district, acting in that capacity for one term. A man of absolute integrity, broad views and progressive spirit, he combines in his character the best qualities of modern citizenship, and the respect which is accorded him is well deserved.

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