James McFetrich, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of James McFetrich

JAMES McFETRICH. This honored and representative business man of Valparaiso had been a resident of this city for nearly half a century and had been prominently and benignantly identified with its industrial, educational, social and civic affairs, the while his course had been ordered upon the highest plane of integrity and honor, so that he gained impregnable vantage ground in the confidence and esteem of the community in which his interests had long been centered. He was, in the earlier years of his residence in Valparaiso, an influential and popular factor in educational work, and he served at one time as county superintendent of schools in Porter county. His strong powers were brought to bear in the furtherance of those things which advance the general welfare and he never deviated from high civic and personal ideals, so that he well merited the secure place he gained in the respect of the people among whom he lived and labored to goodly ends. He was numbered among the progressive and substantial business men of Porter county and controled a prosperous enterprise as a dealer in lumber, building supplies of other descriptions and also coal, in which business he had been engaged since 1881.

James McFetrich came of staunch Irish lineage and claimed the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity. He was born on a farm in Liberty township, Trumbull county, Ohio, on the 4th of March, 1840, and his parents settled in that favored section of the historic old Western Reserve more than eighty years ago. He is a son of John and Martha (Anderson) McFetrich, both of whom were born and reared in the fair Emerald Isle, where their marriage was solemnized. About the year 1830 they severed the ties that bound them to the land of their nativity and immigrated to America. Within a short period after their arrival in the United States they made their way to Ohio and settled in Trumbull county. There the father devoted the major part of his active career to agricultural pursuits and there both he and his noble wife continued to reside until their death, he having been eighty-four years of age when summoned to eternal rest and she having passed away at the age of seventy-eight years. They were folk of sterling character and superior intellectual powers, and the names of both are inscribed on the rolls of the honored pioneers of Trumbull county, Ohio. Of their children three sons and four daughters attained to years of maturity, and of the number two sons and one daughter are now living.

James McFetrich was reared to maturity in his native county, where his initial experiences in connection with the practical duties of life were those gained in connection with the work of the home farm. His parents accorded to him and the other children the best possible educational advantages, and after completing the curriculum of the common schools he entered the Western Reserve Seminary, at West Farmington, Ohio, in which he received higher academic training and was graduated as a member of the class of 1861. He initiated his pedagogic career at the age of nineteen years, when he began teaching in the public schools of his native state, and it was his to achieve in this profession distinctive prestige and success. He supplemented his prior discipline by attending the celebrated University of Michigan for one semester course.

In 1864, when a young man of twenty-four years, Mr. McPetrich came to Valparaiso and for the ensuing five years he was a valued instructor in the old Valparaiso Institute, a teacher of Mathematics and Natural Science. Thereafter he gave eight years to enthusiastic and effective work as a teacher in the Valparaiso high school. He was given further emphatic mark of popular approval of his course as a worker in the educational field, in that he was then chosen superintendent of the public schools of Porter county, an office of which he continued the incumbent for two years and of the affairs of which he gave a most admirable administration. He also served two years as city clerk of Valparaiso. He had large and well equipped lumber yards and handled all kinds of building supplies and accessories, as well as coal. He was a director of the Farmers National Bank at Valparaiso. By careful, progressive and honorable methods he has built up a substantial and prosperous business and at the time of his death, September 25, 1912, was one of the oldest active business men in the city.

Mr. McFetrich ever paid unequivocal allegiance to the Democratic party and while never desirous of entering the arena of so-called practical politics he gave effective service in behalf of the party cause, the while he had shown an earnest desire to aid in the support of clean and effective government, both national and local. He served as a member of the board of education of Valparaiso for fifteen years, and his interest in educational work remained constant and lively during the long years that passed since he first began teaching. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, of which church his wife is also a member.

In the year 1872 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. McFetrich to Miss Martha J. White, and she was summoned to the life eternal in 1890. In 1893 he wedded again, the maiden name of his wife being Grace H. Ball.

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: 663-664

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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