The history of business development in Rome commands that mention should be made of James Dominick Corcoran,
who for a long period played an important part in the commercial progress of the city. He was also very active
in the public life of the community and in office displayed qualities that proved him well worthy of the trust
that was reposed in him.
Mr. Corcoran was a native of County Kilkenny, Ireland, born February 26, 1849. His parents, Michael and Elizabeth
Coreoran, brought their family to the new world when he was but a few months old and located in Rome. There the
boy at the usual age entered the public schools and completed his education in the old academy. Home training taught
him the value of industry, perseverance and integrity. Before he was twenty one years of age he became associated
with his father in conducting a retail grocery store and gristmill on the Erie canal near Jay street. He was connected
with that business for a number of years and at the same time conducted a flour and feed store on West Dominick
street from 1884 until 1890. He displayed sound judgment and keen discernment in business affairs and was seldom,
if ever, at fault in matters of judgment. Moreover, his persistent purpose enabled him to carry forward to successful
completion whatever he undertook and not only in business affairs but in public life as well he left his impress
because of the practical methods which he pursued in the attainment of any object.
Mr. Coreoran was long recognized as one of the leaders of the democracy in Oneida county. His interest in politics
was manifest even before he attained his majority and when he was but twenty one years of age the third ward elected
him its representative on the board of supervisors. The capability and effectiveness of his service are shown in
the fact that he was elected nine different years, during which time he served on various important committees.
In 1876 he was made the democratic nominee for the office of county superintendent of the poor and while he was
defeated his personal popularity was such that he ran several hundred votes ahead of the support given to the Tilden
and Hendricks electoral ticket. In 1877 he was his party's nominee for member of the assembly from the third district,
his opponent being the Hon. C. P. Prescott, who won the victory by a majority of only seventy five, although the
norxnai republican majority was much greater. At different times he acted as chairman of the board of supervisors.
Governor Robinson appointed Mr. Corcoran as canal collector for the years 1878-9. That he was very popular among
the people who knew him best is shown in the fact that in 1884 he was chosen alderman of the third ward without
opposition. It was largely due to his efforts as chairman of the street committee of the common council that the
houses in the city were renumbered and street signs put up, for at that time there was no regular system of numbering.
Mr. Corcoran made a careful and painstaking investigation of various systems in vogue in different cities and decided
that what is known as the Philadelphia plan was the best and secured its adoption here. After t.he renumbering
had been accomplished and the street signs had been placed in position Mr. Corcoran made application to the postmaster
general for the establishment of the free mail delivery system in Rome. This was done with the result that the
carriers made their first trips on July 1, 1887. For several years he served as chairman of the democratic city
committee and was always active in the work of the party. From President Cleveland he received the appointment
of postmaster of Rome, which position he filled from 1885 until 1889. Following his retirement from the position
of postmaster Mr. Corcoran engaged in the furniture and undertaking business, having in 1891 in company with J.
C. Smith erected the Smith Corcoran block on West Dominick street. He was a farsighted business man, determined
in the execution of his plans and his sound judgment and reliable methods were factors in his success.
In 1887 Mr. Corcoran was united in marriage to Miss Agnes A. George, a daughter of William and Elizabeth George,
of Rome, and they have become the parents of three children, James D., Elizabeth and Mary, who with the mother
still survive. Mr. Corcoran was a communicant of St. Peter's church and was a member of Branch No. 107, of the
Catholic Mutual Benefit Association, and of the Knights of Columbus. Those who knew him well and he had a very
wide acquaintance spoke of his many manly virtues and t.he high principles which at all times dominated his life,
causing his death, which occurred on the 2d of March, 1906, to be deeply regretted. His whole life history was
as an open book that all might read and upon many a page were written valuable lessons.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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