Added to the McKemie One Name Study Biography section today:
From: A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County Ohio, With Illustrations and Sketches of its Representative Men and Pioneers; Cincinnati Ohio. Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1882.
Pages 361 – 366.
John C. McKEMY, late judge of the common pleas court in Darke County, but now a resident of Hamilton, was born May 5, 1835, in Lexington, Virginia. His father and mother, William and Elizabeth (KIRKPATRICK) McKEMY, were both natives of Virginia, and descendants of the earliest settlers of that State. Both are now dead, the former having died April 8, 1882, aged seventy-nine. Farming was their life vocation, and they resided in their native State until death. W. D. McKEMY, a brother of John C., who was educated by the latter, after serving in the rebel army throughout the Rebellion, and for a long time a prisoner, being captured at the battle of the Wilderness, is now judge of probate at Dayton, and a lawyer of excellent ability.
John C. McKEMY remained at home upon his father’s farm until 1855, when he came to Ohio and located in Darke County, where he labored on a farm during the Summer and attended school in the Winter. His circumstances were such as to deny him the privilege of a collegiate education, but he made the best of what opportunities he had, and gained a good, practical knowledge of books. In 1858 he entered the law office of Evan Baker, of Greenville, as a student, and after two years of arduous study, was admitted to the bar of Darke County in 1860. He immediately established himself in practice in Greenville, making his mark at once, and in 1865 formed a partnership with Mr. D. L. MEEKER, of that place. This connection was continued up to 1866, when Mr. McKEMY was elected probate judge of his county. His ability as a lawyer, and the judicial quality of his mind were soon, however, to elevate him to a higher position in his profession than he had previously held. In 1868 he was elected judge of the common pleas court, to accept which he resigned his position as probate judge.
Judge McKEMY remained on the bench till the Fall of 1872, when he resigned, with the determination to resume practice. He established himself at Dayton, where the firm of McKemy & Nauerth existed till 1876. He then removed to Hamilton, where he has since remained in successful professional pursuits. During the four years in which Judge McKEMY presided as common pleas judge there were perpetrated within his circuit the greatest number of terrible murders and crimes ever known in the history of the county. The state of affairs was dreadful. Six months of the year were of necessity devoted to the trial of criminal cases. Judge McKEMY did not shrink from the responsibility. Among those which came before him were the famous McGEHEAN and LICKLIDER murder cases, and many others of aggravated character. Substantial justice was attained, and the purification of the community was largely owing to his strenuous efforts. There were also several very important civil actions tried before Judge McKEMY, in which he did himself great honor. One particularly worthy of mention, was tried in Dayton, involving the rights of the veterans in the Soldiers’ Home of that city to vote. Judge McKEMY decided that they had no right to exercise the elective franchise in that place, and his decision was sustained by the Supreme Court of Ohio. However, Congress subsequently passed a law granting to them that privilege, which they now enjoy.
Probably no other judge in the State within a period of equal length has been obliged to sit in judgment in so many cases of equal weight and importance as did Judge McKEMY from 1868 to 1872, in the first subdivision of the Second Judicial District of Ohio, trials in which public feeling ran high, and in which personal sympathies and prejudices placed the lives of men involved in them in actual jeopardy. Since his retirement from the bench Judge McKEMY has been an attorney in nearly every important case tried in Hamilton and the neighboring cities. He was in the noted Dickey-Tytus breach-of-promise and seduction case, and also assisted in the trial of the State vs. John FRANCIS, for murder, which was transferred from Montgomery County to Hamilton on a change of venue. He was also one of the attorneys in the settlement of the Beatty estate, the largest ever brought in the courts of Butler County.
For years Judge McKEMY has been a very active and influential Democrat, and up to within a few years was one of the leaders of his party in his own and surrounding counties. He served as chairman of several Democratic conventions, and in several presidential campaigns canvassed both Ohio and Indiana as a speaker. His life has been one of activity and industry, which, coupled with his native ability, has made him not only an excellent lawyer and able judge, but successful in pecuniary affairs. He is the possessor of considerable real estate in Hamilton and other places, besides having an interest in four silver mines in Colorado, two of which are in successful operation, and the others are under process of tunneling. He is a member of the Knights of Honor and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Judge McKEMY was married December 6, 1861, to Miss Mary A. WILEY, of Darke County, daughter of Caleb and Elizabeth WILEY. Mr. And Mrs. WILEY were both natives of Virginia, though they removed to Ohio when young. They have lived on one farm for about sixty years. The former is eighty-three years of age, and the latter sixty-three. Of this union there are seven children now living. The oldest, Fannie Belle, born in 1865; Ella J., born 1866; Pearl C., born in 1868; William C., in 1875; Florence May, in 1876; Blanche, in 1880, and the youngest in 1882.