The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 1, Page 23.


John J. McCafferty, Blacksmith of Beatrice, 107 At His Next Birthday, Is County's Oldest

John J. McCafferty, of Beatrice who until a short time ago followed the blacksmith trade, is Porter county's oldest citizen. He will celebrate his 103rd birthday next October 7.

McCafferty, who was healthy and active at his trade until a year ago, is a veteran of the Civil and Spanish-American wars. He began his trade of shoeing oxen in Sauk county, Wisconsin, more than eighty years ago.

According to McCafferty, he was born in 1831, in Sauk county, Wisconsin. At the age of 14 he began shoeing oxen and since then has plied his trade. He served in both the Civil and Spanish-American war. Records at Washington indicate him to be a veteran of only the Spanish-American war, but this is due, he claims, to the fact that he father, whose name was John J. McCafferty, was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, and his son placed his coat under his father's head when the latter was dying on the field and this way the father was identified as the son, and so recorded in the casualty list.

This, has precluded him, he says, from obtaining a pension from the government.

McCafferty was a first lieutenant in the Spanish-American war and served with Theodore Roosevelt's rough riders.

Nearly four years ago McCafferty was shot in the arm by a gang of holdup men who tried to rob a store at Beatrice. The robbery was frustrated but the aged man received a bullet which penetrated the forearm, but luckily did not shatter the born. The wound, he claims is the only thing that bothers him nowadays.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook

Editorial Note: At the date of this article's publication, three ages can be inferred for John J. McCafferty: 106 from the article's title, 102 from the article's first paragraph, and 104 as inferred from the birth day and year (October 7, 1831). The 1930 Federal Census reveals that John J. McCafferty was living alone in a rented home in Beatrice, Porter Township, Porter County, Indiana. The census record, enumerated on April 30th, indicates an age of 98, which suggests that he was 104 when the article above was written. The August 4, 1941, issue of The Vidette-Messenger includes a front page story concerning the death of John J. McCafferty on August 3, at the age of 109. The article also states that McCafferty claimed to be born on October 10, 1831, at Sauk Center, Wisconsin.


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