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Rev. James McKean
Born September 24, 1795


REV. JAMES McKEAN, deceased, Anamosa. James McKean was born near Pease's Mill on Ten-Mile Creek, Washington Co., Penn., on the 24th of September, 1795; his father's name was Hugh McKean, who was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1753; the father of Hugh McKean died in 1763, at an advanced age. The family came originally from Scotland, and were what is known as the Scotch-Irish, settling in Ireland about the close of the sixteenth century, and were originally Scotch Covenanters.
James' youth was spent on a farm west of New Wilmington on the Pulaski road, one mile from the Chenango Creek. He joined the army at the age of 19 years, in the war against Great Britain, at Erie, Penn., and was a member of Capt. Rea's company, Col. Christy, Pennsylvania Militia; on his discharge, he marched home, ninety miles; the weather was cold and the snow was deep, and in after life he was afflicted with bronchitis and weakness of the chest arising from disease contracted in his army career. The schools at that early day were few, and classical education was difficult to obtain; he worked by the job or by the month, and in any way that was remunerative and honorable, to obtain funds; he was one of the men who, in the year 1818, helped to clear the ground where Wooster, Ohio, now stands, receiving $15 per month for his services; for several years, he attended the academy at Mercer, Penn., under the care of a teacher named Anderson, and went over the whole college curriculum, but, owing to failure of health, was not able to finish the course at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, where several of his classmates graduated.
He was married to Nancy Smith, of Mercer Co., Penn., in May, 1822. His health failing from over-study while at school, he was not expected to live and retired to his farm in Neshannock Township, Lawrence Co., Penn , where his health was comparatively restored, and, after about nine years, having studied theology under the charge of Rev. William Wood, Pastor of Neshannock Church, and for two years under the care of Beaver Presbytery, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Beaver, and, about the year 1834, was sent as a missionary to Ohio, where he settled as Pastor of Waynesburg, Still Fork and Bethlehem Churches, at a salary of $400 per year, which, at that early day, was all that they could pay; as the churches grew stronger and his labors increased, he gave up Bethlehem and Still Pork by consent of the Presbytery, at about the year 1845, and retained Waynesburg alone of the three original churches, and, for nine years, preached at Waynesburg and New Harrisburg, until the year 1856, when he removed to Scotch Grove, Jones Co., Iowa.
At the time he reached in Ohio, there was an organization of infidels, under the lead of one Permarr and Zach Wathy, who were followers of Hume, Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine; this leader gave him an opportunity for a public discussion, and the question was as to the credibiltty of the religion of Christ; he completely and forever demolished the society, which never met after for discussion. He lectured on temperance and slavery, and persistently fought every foe of man and of the country. For years, during the winter months, he preached in schoolhouses and private dwellings all over his county and beyond; nearly every church from the Ohio River west, in the Steubenville Presbytery, was privileged to hear his faithful exhortations and pungent logic; the disease of his throat so increased upon him that, at the age of 60 years, he was compelled to give up the pastorate in Ohio and remove to Iowa; here, for several years, he preached one-half of his time to the church of Wayne.
He died on the 1st of September, 1876, at Scotch Grove, Iowa, and was buried in the cemetery of the Presbyterian Church. He had eight children, as follows; Jane McKean, who died and was buried at Bethlehem, Ohio; Rev. James W. McKean, President of Lenox Collegiate Institute, and Captain of Co. C, 44th I.V.I., who died at Memphis, Tenn., in the officers' hospital, on the 9th of July, 1864; Dr. Hugh C. McKean, the beloved physician of Scotch Grove, where his name and memory are still held sacred in the minds of many, to whose health he had contributed; he died in November, 1865; P. S. McKean, attorney at law, Anamosa, Iowa, for many years Auditor of Carroll Co., Ohio, and County Treasurer of Jones Co., Iowa, who died on the 25th of December, 1867; Francis C. McKean, Captain of Co. D, of the 9th I. Veteran V. I., and attorney and counselor at law, who died at Evans, Colo., on the 5th of May, 1874; Dr. Alexander McKean, of Scotch Grove; C. B. McKean, of Scotch Grove, and John McKean, of Anamosa, Judge of the Circuit Court, Eighth Judicial Circuit.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 564.

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