March is designated as Women’s History Month, so I am going to feature Helen Grace McMahon. Helen was a local historian, writer, and teacher. She was born November 8, 1901 in Olean, New York, to John and Katherine Carmady McMahon. Helen graduated from Wellesley College and received her Masters Degree from Cornell University. Her thesis for her Masters Degree was the Life of Reuben E. Fenton. Helen taught history and sociology at Jamestown High School for 39 years and was awarded the Valley Forge Classroom Teacher’s Medal in 1959. In 1958 Helen published Chautauqua County A History. Helen was also a leader in community service in areas of housing, senior citizens, social and mental health activities. Helen McMahon was one of the founders of the Fenton Historical Society in 1963. Helen died in June of 1965 at the young age of 64.
The Fenton Historical Society wishes to offer our gratitude to Helen McMahon as one of our founders. It is our hope that we will be able to use her thesis on Reuben E. Fenton as a basis for publishing a biography on Governor Fenton.