Pennsylvania’s first Roman Catholic state senator, James was born in Littlestown, Adams County, July 29, 1776; the son of Irish immigrant Patrick McSherry. He was educated at Lancaster Academy; pursued business interests, becoming a founder of the Littlestown Railroad and a founding director of the Gettysburg National Bank. McSherry served as a member of the state House of Representatives, 1807-1812; entered the military, defending Baltimore during the War of 1812; returned to public life as a state Senator, 1813-1817; served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1821-1823; and returned to Pennsylvania’s lower house, 1824-1830, 1834, and 1835. He is the father of state Senator William McSherry and prominent author James McSherry, Jr., whose son became a Maryland Supreme Court Justice. He married Anne Ridgely Sappington. The Senator died on February 3, 1849. He died in Littlestown and is buried in St. Aloysius’ Catholic Cemetery. McSherrystown, Pennsylvania is named in the family’s honor.
William McSherry (III), History of the Bank of Gettysburg, 1814-1864 (Gettysburg: Gettysburg National Bank, 1914)