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Joseph F. Quinn

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Title: Joseph F. Quinn  
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Subject: Joe Quinn, 1912 Lawrence textile strike, Massachusetts state court judges, University of Ottawa alumni, 1857 births
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Joseph F. Quinn

Joseph F. Quinn (1857–1929) was the first Irishman to become a judge in Massachusetts for any significant period of time. He served on the bench of the Essex County Superior Court after being appointed by Governor Eugene Foss in 1911 until his death in 1929. He lived in Salem and was the son of an immigrant from the days of the potato famine. He attended the University of Ottawa in Canada due to discrimination against the Irish in the U.S. at the time, graduating in 1883, and went on be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts in 1884 after attending Boston University School of Law. After working for the local U.S. Attorney, Joseph Quinn started his own thriving practice.

Joseph Quinn was associated with John F. Fitzgerald and Patrick Kennedy (P. J. Kennedy) and other prominent local persons in the greater Boston area. Judge Quinn presided over many prominent cases including the trial of Joseph Ettor and other leaders of the Lawrence textile strike in 1912 which became a national cause celebre and resulted in the defendants' acquittal. The next year he was the judge in the widely publicized trial of William Dorr of Stockton, California who was convicted and sentenced to death for having traveled all the way back East to Lynn, Massachusetts in order to murder millionaire George Marsh as part of a scheme to inherit his money through an unwitting California niece. Dorr was executed in the electric chair in 1914.


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