Biography of Jacob S. McKemey
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





Jacob S. McKemey needs no introduction to the readers of this volume. for his long and prominent connection with the bar and his helpful advocacy of many progressive measures of citizenship have made him widely known. His entire life has been passed in Jefferson county and in his history there is no esoteric phase. He has always been actuated by a sense of loyalty to duty, which is as strongly manifest in his public relations and in his private life as in his professional connections, where he serves the interests of a large clientele.

Mr. McKemey was born in Fairfield, September 7, 1854, and is a representative of one of the oldest families of this section of the state, his parents, Joseph A. and Cynthia (Hemphill) McKemey, having come to Iowa in 1839, when this district was still a part of the territory of Wisconsin. Extended mention of his parents is made elsewhere in this volume, for no record of Jefferson county would he complete without mention of them. The youthful days of Jacob S. McKemey were passed in a manner similar to that of most lads of the period. He was a pupil in the public schools prior to entering Iowa College at Grinnell, and with a good literary education to serve as the basis for his professional knowledge, he took up the study of law in the office of the well known firm of Stubbs & Leggett of this city. His thorough preliminary reading qualified him for admission to the bar and on the 3d of May, 1877, he successfully passed the required examination. He then entered into partnership with his former preceptor, Charles D. Leggett, and the association was maintained for ten years, or until Judge Leggett's elevation to the bench on the 6th of December, 1886. Mr. McKemey then formed a partnership with Eben F. Simmons, who had been a student and clerk in his office for several years but following the retirement of Judge Leggett from the bench the old partnership relation was resumed and the firm of Leggett & McKemey still continues. The years have chronicled a continuous increase in their business and there have been few important cases tried in the courts of this district with which they have not been associated either as counsel for the defense or prosecution. The zeal with which Mr. McKemey has devoted his energies to his profession, the careful regard evinced for the interests of his clients and the assiduous and unrelaxing attention to all details of his cases have brought him a large business and made him very successful in its conduct. His arguments have always elicited warm commendation not only from his associates at the bar but also from the bench. In addition to his law practice, Mr. McKemey is one of the stockholders of the Iowa State Savings Bank and was chosen a member of its first board of directors.

Mr. McKemey has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Ada Light, a daughter of Solomon Light. She passed away on the loth of June, 1887, leaving a son, Charles L., whose birth had occurred July 27, 1882. On the 19th of June, 1889, Mr. McKemey was married to Miss Julia Scofield, a daughter of Bryant Scofield, of Carthage, Illinois, in which city Mrs. McKemey was born and from its college was graduated. Coming to Fairfield, she was elected superintendent of the schools here and by reelection served for four years at the head of the public school system of this city. Both Mr. and Mrs. McKemey attend the Congregational church and his political allegiance is given to the republican party because of his firm belief in its principles. He has never been an aspirant for office, for he has ever felt that his professional duties demanded all his time and attention save that which he wished to give to home and social interests in his leisure hours. Choosing a business in which individual merit is the source of all advancement, he has gradually worked his way upward and the bar and the public both accord him prominence in the ranks of the legal fraternity of Jefferson county. He is notable for the care and precision with which he prepares his cases; his briefs always show wide research, careful thought and the best and strongest reasons that can be urged for his contention, presented in cogent and logical form and illustrated by a style unusually lucid.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


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