James McLanahan was born in Greencastle, PA in 1809. He was the grandson of Andrew Gregg. McLanahan graduated from Dickinson College in 1827 and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1837. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1842-1844. McLanahan went on to serve in the United States Congress from 1849-1853, also sitting on the Committee of the Judiciary. Following his time in Congress, McLanahan went back to practicing law. McLanahan died in New York City on December 16, 1861.
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