John McConkey, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John McConkey

JOHN MCCONKEY. From his boyhood days this sterling citizen of Porter county has had fellowship with honest toil and endeavor, and through the sole medium of these agencies has he finally won a secure prosperity and independence. It has been his at various times to have had contact with adversity and misfortune, but schooled in courage and self-reliance, he has bravely contended with opposing forces and has shown that success is the natural prerogative of such valiant souls. He has long maintained his home in Porter county and is now one of its substantial and representative agriculturists. "Ingleside," his valuable and attractive rural homestead, is one of the fine farms of Porter township and represents the concrete results of former years of earnest and honorable effort on the part of himself and his devoted wife, both of whom have the unqualified esteem of the community in which they maintain their home and in the social activities of which they are popular factors.

Claiming the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity and tracing his lineage back to sturdy Scotch origin, John McConkey was born in Holmes county, Ohio, on the 11th of December, 1845, and is the only one surviving of the two sons and one daughter born to Jeremiah and Nancy (Pomeroy) McConkey. His father was born in Wayne county, Ohio, and was a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of that state. He followed agricultural pursuits during the earlier period of his active career and later turned his attention to the trade of silversmith. He continued his residence in Holmes county, Ohio, and there his wife passed her entire life, her parents having been early settlers of the county.

He whose name initiates this review was reared to the sturdy discipline of the farm, and owing to the exigencies of time and place, his early educational advantages were very limited in scope. An alert and receptive mind and a definite ambition have enabled him to overcome most effectually this lack of early scholastic opportunities, for he made good use of otherwise leisure hours and fortified himself in knowledge that has made him a man of broad mental outlook and mature judgment, the while he has gained much from the stern discipline of experience. Mr. McConkey became a wage-earner when a lad of but fifteen years and his entire career has been one of close identification with the great basic industry of agriculture. He remained in his native county until he was eighteen years of age. At the age of twenty-two years he took unto himself a wife, and bravely have they faced the duties and responsibilities of life, sharing adversity and prosperity together and sustained and comforted by mutual love and sympathy. Mr. and Mrs. McConkey began their wedded life with a capital of less than two hundred dollars, and for many years he was a renter of land in Porter county. Misfortune attended his business activities for many years, though he was ever industrious and careful in the ordering of his affairs. Earnest labor failed to bring its just returns, though there were intervals of prosperity, but in the end the just recompense was not denied, as is evidenced in the splendid farm property which he now owns and which is entirely free from financial encumbrance. Retrieving his financial losses, Mr. McConkey was enabled, in 1906, to purchase his present homestead of one hundred and sixteen acres in Porter township, and he has not only brought the farm under most effective cultivation hut has also made permanent improvements of excellent order, including the remodeling of the original house on the place and the erection of the attractive modern cottage in which he and his wife are now enjoying unalloyed peace and comfort and in which they delight to extend hospitality to their many friends.

Integrity of purpose has ever characterized Mr. McConkey in all the relations of life, and thus he has not been denied the unqualified esteem of his fellow men. He is broad-minded and public-spirited as a citizen and always ready to do his part in the furtherance of measures for the general good of the community. In a generic way he is a Democrat, but in local affairs he gives his support to the men and measures meeting the approval of his judgment, irrespective of partisan affiliations. He is a member of the Valparaiso council of the Royal Arcanum and both he and his wife are zealous and liberal supporters of the Christian church at Boone Grove, in which they are valued members. Their children have adhered to the religious faith in which they were reared and all are active in church work.

On the 20th of February, 1868, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. McConkey to Miss Alice Cornell, a representative of one of the old and honored families of Porter county. Mrs. McConkey was born on the old family homestead in Porter township, this county, and the date of her nativity was September 3, 1851. She is the eldest of the six children born to Ira and Emily (Kaufman) Cornell, and of the children four besides herself are now living. Elmina is the wife of Leander Jones, a retired farmer, and they reside in the village of Boone Grove, this county; Isaac is a prosperous farmer of Washington township; Effie is the wife of D. K. Jones, who is the owner of farm land in Porter county but who now resides near the city of Houston, Texas, where he has valuable real-estate interests; and Fannie is the wife of John Marine, a retired farmer, residing in the city of Valparaiso.

Ira Cornell, father of Mrs. McConkey, was born in Wayne county, Ohio, about the year 1822, and died at his home in Porter county, Indiana, in 1904, one of the venerable and honored pioneers of this section of the state. He was but nine years of age at the time of the family removal from Ohio to Porter county, and thus grew to manhood under the conditions and influences of the early pioneer epoch in the history of this county. It is needless to enter into details concerning his experiences in those early days, for the story of the period has been often rehearsed and is properly covered in the general historical department of this work. He became one of the representative agriculturists arid substantial citizens of the county that represented his home during virtually his entire life, and as a true Christian gentleman he ordered his course upon the highest plane of integrity and honor, so that he ever commanded the implicit confidence and high regard of all who knew him. His remains rest in the Cornell cemetery, which is located on a part of his fine old homestead farm in Porter township, and there the remains of his cherished and devoted wife likewise repose. The names of both of these worthy citizens merit enduring place on the roll of the honored pioneers of Porter county. Mrs. Cornell was a native of Pennsylvania and a representative of the staunch German stock so prominently identified with the history of that commonwealth.

Mr. and Mrs. McConkey became the parents of nine children and favored indeed have they been in that death has never visited the family circle, while the children, to whom were given the best possible educational advantages, have all honored the name which they bear. Concerning them brief record is entered in conclusion of this review: Inez K, who completed her education in the normal department of what is now known as Valparaiso University and who was for several years a successful and popular teacher in the schools of her native county, is now the wife of Adolphus Gustafson, a thrifty farmer and stock-grower of Porter township, and they have one son, John Robert. Martha is the wife of William Stevens, a member of one of the old and representative families of Porter township, where he is concerned with agricultural pursuits, and the one child of this union is a son, Mark. Nancy Emily, who received one of the first diplomas issued by the public schools of the county and who latter attended the normal department of Valparaiso University, is now the wife of Warren Peck, a successful farmer of Porter township, and they have one son, Myron. Ross D., who is engaged in the mercantile business at Dillon, Washington, wedded Miss Bertha Farley, who presides graciously over their home in the far west. Ira C. has gained prestige as one of the representative farmers of his native county and is the owner of a good farm in Porter township. The maiden name of his wife was Bessie Cain. Herbert B., who is a prosperous farmer in Boone township, married Miss Mildred Price, and they have one son, Kenneth. Olive May is the wife of Clayton L. Phillips, a representative young agriculturist of Porter township, and they have one child, Alice Louise. Arthur Glenn resides in the original dwelling on the homestead of his father and is associated with the latter in the work and management of the farm. He wedded Miss Elsie Folsom, and both are popular figures in the leading social activities of their home community. Grace, the youngest of the children, is the wife of A. A. Baird, another of the thrifty young farmers of Porter township.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 801-804

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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