Member Biography

James Patrick McNichol Sr.

Sessions Office Position District Party
1905-1906       7 Democrat
1907-1908       3 Democrat
1909-1910       3 Democrat
1911-1912       3 Democrat
1913-1914       3 Democrat
1915-1916       3 Democrat

COUNTIES: Philadelphia  


07/03/1864 - 11/14/1917

James Patrick McNichol, Sr. (R7) Philadelphia (Part) County, 1905-1906 (R3) Philadelphia (Part) County, 1907-1918

Early Life:

James Patrick McNichol, Sr., born July 3, 1864, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; son of James and Catherine McNichol; public school education; Pierce’s Business College; engaged, building contractor; married, Anastasia Agnes Fasy McNichol, 1884 (d.1909), children, Daniel J. McNichol, Joseph Ignatius McNichol, John F. McNichol, Harry Aloysius McNichol, James Patrick McNichol, Jr., Agnes Toner, Frank J. McNichol, Dunstan McNichol, William J. McNichol, Helen M. McNichol, Mary McNichol; married, Margaret Frances Donohue, 1910; member, Select Council, 1898; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate 1905-1917; delegate, Republican National Convention, 1916; died, November 14, 1917 (aged 53), Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; interment, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, McNichol Mausoleum, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

At an early age he engaged in the contracting business with uncle, Daniel, at D. J. McNichol Brothers, upon the death of the head of the firm, became its title member.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Member, Select Council, 1898.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate 7th district, Philadelphia (Part) County, 1905-1906, committee assignments regular and extraordinary sessions, City Passenger Railways, Insurance, Judiciary Special.

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 3rd district, Philadelphia (Part) County, 1907-1918, committee assignments, Appropriations, City Passenger Railways, Congressional Apportionment, Corporations, Executive Nominations, Finance, Insurance, Judiciary Special, Law and Order, Municipal Affairs, Public Roads and Highways; chairman, Elections.

Delegate, Republican National Convention, 1916.


Son, William J. McNichol Pennsylvania State Senator, 3rd district, Philadelphia (Part) County 1919-1920.

From the New York Times obituary of his son, William J. McNichol; referenced that he was known as “Strawberry Jim”. His nickname came to him, when he testified before a committee of reformers, he challenged the knowledge of its conditions and said “I’ve been up and down the financial lines. I used to have baked beans for breakfast in June and now I can have strawberries in January if I want them.”

Son, Edward Joseph McNichol, head men's basketball coach, University of Pennsylvania, 1920–1930. His first Penn team finished the season with a 21–2 record and was retroactively named the national champion by the Helms Athletic Foundation. Record: 186–63 (.747).


Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1906) Cochran, T.B., (Editor) Miller, H.P. (Assistant Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 829-834.

The Pennsylvania Manual, (1917). Miller, H.P., (Compiler). Baker, W.H., (Assistant Compiler). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 1150, 1162, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 1094.

The Philadelphia Record (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Friday, November 16, 1917, Page 17.