A Trio of Correspondence Relating to Whig Politics in Pennsylvania
John McGinley was successful lawyer who had ties to the Whig Party. Both of the letters deal with individuals running for election appealing to him to use his influence on his fellow countrymen to help them win their election bids.
He was born in 1798 in Adams County, PA to Joseph McGinley (?-?) and Jane Paxton (1760-?). It is unknown if he had any siblings. John became a member of the bar in 1830. He married Elizabeth "Eliza" McCormick (1895-1873) in 1860 and had six children:
Col. John Joseph Henry McClellan/M'Clellan was born on March 5, 1808 to William McClellan IV (1763-1831) and Mary Magdelena Spangler (1768-1830). He died on June 1, 1889, at the age of 81, in Littlestown, PA.
James Cooper was born on May 8, 1810 to James Cooper (1794-1868) and Anne McHenry. He graduated from Washington College (now known as Washington and Jefferson College) in 1832, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. He served as both a US Representative, a Representative to the PA House of Representatives, and a US Senator. He married Jane Mary Miller (1814-1900) on January 28, 1836, and had three children.
Below are some excerpts from the two letters:
“Permit me to draw your attention to the movements of some of our town folks in attempting to forestall public oppinion [sic] in favor of certain men to file offices of high trusts at the coming election for their own particular convenience in the way of accommodations, its well known that the same clique, has had the management of affairs a little too long and their dictation have rot evil consequences among the whigs... I hope the good foreign people of Adams county will permit them no longer to offer their insults and at the coming contest, will boldly stand out against any such fraction, and build up such a ticket as they know to be good and true to the cause... I have been urged by a member of the people from the county to offer for the treasuryship [sic] and I am now determined to make the attempt, and I hope the good people of Hamilton Township will sustain me, and should you be a delegate from that quarter, I most sincerely hope you will give me your support and your influence in the matter will greatly oblige.” - August 20, 1843, John H. McClellan to John A. McGinley, Gettysburg, PA
“Having been nominated to the whig candidate for the legislator, and having, in obedience to what I believe to be the call of duty, excepted the nomination, though conferred upon me against my own consent and in opposition to my own wishes, I nevertheless feel bound to make a proper extension to secure my election. For this purpose I am about to call on you and others of my long-tired, faithful friends, who have so generously and cordially supported me heretofore, and tax your friendship with one more effort in my behalf. I am sure you will readily believe me, when I say that it is not the desire of office, but the future welfare and supremacy of the party in the county, which induces me to make this call upon you. Our political opponents are still animated with their victory of last year and will make more than ordinary exertions to defeat our ticket. They will operate quietly but actively, and activity on their part should be met by corresponding activity on ours. Defeat, this year again, will probably forever prostrate us in Adams County... see the voters and urge them to attend the election themselves and take with them their lukewarm neighbors. If possible get the active young men of the township to take up the matter, urge them to attend at the polls early and take care of wooing voters.” - September 15, 1843, James Cooper to John A. McGinley, Gettysburg, PA. General wear.