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William McGaan Biography


This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Page 249

JUDGE WILLIAM McGAAN. Among the professional men of Clark, Clark county, while it would be difficult to determine who stands in the front rank in all respects, it is yet easy to point out the prominent members of the legal fraternity. Among this number is the gentleman above named. who has been in practice for many years, and is well known not only as a man well versed in law, but courteous, gifted mentally, and a potent factor in the life and welfare of his county and state. Aside from the practice of his profession he is engaged in the handling of real estate, and in a financial point of view is one of the thorough men of his community. 

Judge McGaan is a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, and was born October 1, 1853. He was the third in a family of eleven children, four of whom are now living, born to William and Agnes (Andrews) McGaan. The family came to America in 1857, and the father engaged in farming in Knox county, Illinois, where he still resides, the mother having passed away some time since. 

Our subject was accorded a liberal education, completing a high-school course in Altona, and taking four years in Lombard University, in Galesburg, Illinois. At the age of twenty years he had worked at farming, and after leaving the university he began reading law with Davis & Thompson, of Galesburg. He was admitted to practice at the bar of the supreme court of Illinois in 1880, and became the junior member of the firm of Davis, Thompson & McGaan. He went to Dakota in the fall of 1882 and located a farm in Clark county, near Raymond, and in the spring of 1884 opened a law office in that city. He was elected state's attorney of Clark county in 1886, and removed to the county seat, after which the firm of McGaan & Hague was formed. Our subject has attended to his practice alone since 1892. 

Judge McGaan was married, in 1889, to Mrs. Emma L. Dice, nee Coates, a native of Michigan. Mrs. McGaan was the mother of two children by a former marriage, La Verne B., a teacher, and Vera M. No children have been born to Judge and Mrs. McGaan. 

Our subject is an old settler in his locality, and, having always taken a prominent part in public matters, he has attained a reputation which extends over a good share of the state. A strong and active Republican. his name is associated with the history of his party, and he has served as delegate to the state conventions, and is at present secretary of the county Republican central committee. He was elected county judge of Clark county in 1894 and served one term, and was again elected in the fall of 1898 to that important position. He faithfully discharges his duties, and his name stands with the people of his locality for equity and truth, and his rule is one of faultless judgment governed by an unbiased mind. He is prominent in secret society circles, and holds membership in the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America.


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