Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

JAMES H. McEWEN. There is something essentially American in the life and character of the gentleman who is the subject of this sketch. The United States has given rare opportunities to men with courage, honesty of purpose, integrity and energy to achieve success. The bulk of the men who have legitimately achieved fortune has been men with the above characteristics, and James H. McEwen is one of that stamp. He is at present Registrar of Deeds of Anderson County, and no man has done more to advance the interests of the county than he.

Born in Allegheny County, Pa., October 8, 1840, our subject is the son of Allen and Elizabeth (Maharah) McEwen, natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in Dauphin County, and the latter in Pittsburgh. The paternal grandparents of our subject, John and Margaret (Bradley) McEwen, were born in Dauphin County, Pa., but the great-grandfather, John McEwen, was originally from Scotland. He came to this country at a period antedating the Revolution, and fought bravely for independence, being a Captain in the Colonial army. He was a farmer, and died in Dauphin County. He had three sons and two daughters. John, grandfather of our subject, was horn about the time of the beginning of the Revolution, and was also a tiller of the soil. During the latter part of his life, he removed to Allegheny County, Pa., and there died at the age of eighty-two, his wife surviving him five years and dying at the age of seventy-nine. They had five sons and three daughters: John, James, Washington, Allen, Thomas, Maria (who died young), Julia Ann and Margaret.

Allen McEwen was early trained to the duties of the farm, but in addition to this he also learned the carpenter's trade. When but a child he removed with his parents to Allegheny County, and was married in Pittsburgh to Miss Elizabeth Maharah, whose birth occurred in February, 1818. She was the daughter of James and Hannah (Lawhead) Maharah. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. McEwen resided in Washington County, Pa., until after the Civil War, and then removed to Iowa, locating near Indianola, where they remained for some time. From there they removed to Kansas City and five years later came to Garnett, where they reside at the present time. They have had the following children: James; John, deceased; William, who resides in Chicago; Allen, who resides in Kansas City Kan.; Elsworth and Julia Ann, both deceased; Hannah, now Mrs. Yarnall, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Elizabeth, deceased. For over fifty years Mr. McEwen has been a member of the United Presbyterian Church, and his ancestors for many generations were members of the same church. In politics he affiliated with the Republican party.

The original of this sketch learned the carpenter's trade under his father, and removed with the family to Iowa. He settled near Garnett, Kan., in 1881, and in the following year purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, all of which was unimproved. He began working on this farm, got it all under a good state of cultivation, erected good, substantial buildings, and there resided until the fall of 1891. In connection with farming be also gave considerable of his time to teaching and to the carpenter's trade. In the fall of 1891 he was elected to his present position, and has discharged the duties of that position in a manner reflecting credit upon himself and his constituents, and in 1893 he was re-elected by an increased majority.

In the year 1866 Mr. McEwen was married to Miss Susan A. Wiley, a native of Greene County, Pa., and the daughter of George and Mary Wiley. Seven children have been the fruits of this union: Cephas, Sadie A., Thomas Albert, William Lindsay, Mary, James C. and George A. Like his father, Mr. McEwen is a stanch Republican in his political views. For two terms he was Trustee of Lincoln Township, and he also held other local positions. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and in his religious views is a United Presbyterian. In the year 1861 he enlisted in the army, being mustered into service in Company A, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry, on the 7th of September. He participated in the battles of the campaign of McClellan in 1862, and for some time was in the hospital at Philadelphia. Rejoining his command at Hilton Head, S. C, he was in the Tenth Army Corps. In the fall of 1863 he returned to the Peninsula with his command, was in the campaign of 1864, Eighteenth Army Corps, and was mustered out at Pittsburgh, November 24, 1864.

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