JOHN JOSEPH HYNES is one of Buffalo's well-known lawyers and one of the first fraternal insurance men in the country.' He takes a keen interest in civic matters, has held responsible official places and is notably identified with the cause of education, being at the present time a member of the Buffalo Board of School Examiners.
Mr. Hynes is of Irish ancestry, coming of a family for centuries prominent in the counties of Clare and Galway, and distinguished for patriotism and staunch Catholicity. On the maternal side he is derived from the Peeneys of Galway, a stock which is one of the oldest and best known in that country. The father of John J. Hynes was Michael Hynes and his mother was Catherine Feeney, who died in 1875. They came from Galway, Ireland, to this country in 1846, and settled in Buffalo. Michael Hynes was a ship carpenter and followed the craft until his death in 1876. He was one of the pioneer shipwrights of Buffalo, and spent practically all his life with the ship-building concerns of Bidwell & Banta and Mason & Bidwell, though for a few years he was in the employ of Mills & Walsh. He was a strong believer in organized labor and helped form the first ship carpenters' and caulkers' union in Buffalo. A devout churchman, he was a member of the first Catholic Church erected in Buffalo, old St. Patrick's.
John Joseph Hynes was born in Buffalo May 25, 1854. His education was obtained at Public School No. 4 and the Buffalo High School. In 1877 he began studying law, while he was employed in the County Clerk's office, being afterward entered as a law student with 0. F. Barton and later with the Hon. Charles F. Tabor. In 1882 he was admitted to the bar. From 1887 to 1891 he was Deputy City Attorney. After the latter year he resumed practice by himself, and has continued alone ever since. His specialties are real estate and insurance law, but he has a large general practice. He is General Attorney for the Grand Lodge of the Switchmen's Union of North America, and has been for many years Attorney for the Supreme Council of the C. M. B. A. in New York State.
Always a Republican, Mr. Hynes was a candidate for Supervisor in the old First Ward in 1879, and though the ward was Democratic, he was elected by 300 majority. In January, 1904, Mr. Hynes without solicitation was appointed by Mayor Knight a member of the Board of School Examiners for a term of five years, and was later chosen Chairman of that body. In the public school system of Buffalo Mr. Hynes takes the deepest interest, and never misses a meeting, either special or regular, of the examining Board. Once a year he visits each school of the city.
When eighteen years old Mr. Hynes enlisted in the 74th Eegiment, N. G. N. Y. He rose through successive grades of promotion until 1878, when he was commissioned Captain.
Mr. Hynes is serving his third term as Supreme President of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association, which was organized in 1876. Mr. Hynes took a leading part in the establishment of the first branch at Buffalo in 1878, the total membership of the society being then less than 350. Mr. Hynes was one of the earliest men to grasp the possibilities of the work, bringing to his task an ardent belief in the objects and purposes of the Association. He became a member of New York Grand Council in 1881, and served as Chairman of the Law Committee, Trustee, Supreme Representative, Grand President and Grand Chancellor. He was twice unanimously elected Grand President. He was on the Committee on Laws of the New York Grand Council which in 1881 submitted the report in favor of a graded scale of assessments. He became a member of the Supreme Council in 1884, has been Chairman of its Committee on Laws ever since, and in 1886 was a member of the London, Ont., convention which enacted the present Reserve Fund Law. In October, 1900, the Supreme Council of the C. M. B. A. met in Buffalo, and Mr. Hynes was elected Supreme President for a term of three years, being reelected in 1903 and again in 1906. He is thus the head of an organization which has a membership of over 60,000, and which carries insurance aggregating 190,000,000. There is no sounder insurance society in the world, and this is largely due to the wisdom, conservatism and firmness of Mr. Hynes.
Mr. Hynes belongs to the Catholic Benevolent Legion, and is a former member of its Supreme Council. He was active in the inception of the Irish Land League, of which he was elected National Secretary in 1882, and with his colleagues collected and forwarded $79,000 to Ireland. He was Secretary of the Philadelphia convention in 1883, and was elected Secretary of the new Irish National League, but resigned for reasons of residence. In 1902 Mr. Hynes was appointed by Gov. Odell one of the Board of Managers of the Western House of Refuge for Women, at Albion, N. Y., and later served as Chairman. In January, 1905, he was reappointed by Gov. Higgins, but resigned owing to other duties. For sixteen years he has been a member of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Mr. Hynes has marked ability as a public speaker. In court or on the platform he is convincing and eloquent.
January 8, 1879, Mr. Hynes married Anna M. McCarthy, daughter of Dennis F. and Ellen (Hallaron) McCarthy of Buffalo. The children of the marriage are Mary Gertrude Hynes, a teacher in the public schools, and John J. Hynes, Jr., a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I