McGINNES, Lemuel E., was born in Perry county, Pa., May 15, 1853. James McGinnes, his parental great-grandfather, was a native of the north of Ireland. He came to American in 1790 and settled in Greenwood township, now Buffalo township, Perry county. John ditty, his maternal great-great-grandfather, settled in the Lykens Valley, three miles northeast of Millersburg, in 1770. John Cochran McGinnes, father of Lemuel E., was a native of Perry county and was born in 1812. He was well educated, and his vocation was that of a teacher. He died in 1887. He married Sarah Ann Ditty, who survives him.
Their son, Lemuel E. McGinnes, enjoyed usual educational advantages. His parents were intelligent and well educated people. The influences of his home were such as to stimulate him to mental effort from the very dawning of his intellectual life. He passed through the course of study in the public schools, and, as supplementary to this, he enjoyed tuition in good private schools and the instructions of the most competent private teachers. The aim of his parents was to qualify him for the profession of teaching. He was inspired with lofty aims and equipped with all the intellectual furnishings he had the capacity to receive. When nineteen years of age he was ready to begin the business of life. He followed his ancestral bent and entered the ranks of the teachers. He began on the lower plane of the ungraded country school, and his first three terms were spent in getting hold of the practical elements of his art by the experience of actual relationship and contact between teacher and pupil. The lowest primary grade is as favorable a field for getting this experience as the highest grade in the course. Promotion comes in due time to the patient toiler in the lower grades. It came to Mr. McGinnes in 1875, and the steps of his promotion were rapid and substantial. First came the principalship of the Lower Duncannon high school ; three years later the principalship of the Duncannon borough high school, and three years later, or in 1881, the principalship of the Steelton schools. Much was expected of him, and great demands were made on his ability and professional skill in this new position. The most substantial business elements of the community, and especially the Pennsylvania Steel Company, had adopted the wise and beneficial policy of giving substantial aid to the educational interests of the rapidly developing industrial town. The most liberal provisions were made, in buildings and funds, for the best system of schools. Mr. McGinnes was placed at the head of this great enterprise. His native tastes and aspirations, his thorough education and his nine years of experience combined to qualify him for his work. His success is phenomenal. At the end of seven years the system was perfected. From 1881 to 1888 he was principal of the high school and supervisor of all the departments, and in 1888 he was unanimously elected to the office of superintendent of schools. This system of schools, so largely the creation of his hand, is the demonstration of his ability, fidelity and professional devotion. Mr. McGinnes is interested in the community as a professional teacher. But his influence has a broader and deeper sweep and flow. He is deeply interested in morals and religion, and is an active force in the Christian and benevolent work of the town. He is an elder in the First Presbyterian church, and his character and life show him to be worthy incumbent of the high office. He was married, in 1879, to Miss Ida Clark, daughter of Hugh K. and Ellen S. Wilson, of Perry county, in whom he finds a wife in full and cordial sympathy with him in his aims and efforts to advance society. They have one child, Ellen S.
Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
Transcribed by Leslie Silvernail (email@example.com) for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -http://maley.net/transcription
Date of Transcription: 11 August 2001
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