Biography of James Mackey
Mahoning County, OH Biographies

JAMES MACKEY, one of Youngstown's leading eitizens, whose professional work as a surveyor has kept his name before the public for many years. was born at Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio, February 7, 1829, and he is a son of James and Margaret (Early) Mackey

As the name indicates, the Mackeys originated in the Highlands of Scotland, and the founder of the family in America was the grandfather of James Mackey, who settled in Pennsylvania and there reared a family. James Mackey, Sr., father of James, was born in 1776, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and in 1805 he came to Ohio and settled in that part of Trumbull County which later became Mahoning County. He was a man of education, a mathematician and a surveyor, and. with other enterprises, he became associated with Robert Montgomery in the building of one of the first furnaces on Yellow Creek. He kept the accounts of the firm until the beginning of the war of 1812, when he joined the Fourth division of Ohio militia, in which he was paymaster and also adjutant, and was accorded the rank of major, by which title he was subsequently known.

In 1816 Major Mackey entered into partnership with Colonel William Rayen in a mercantile business at Youngstown, which continued for several years. Prior to 1823, when he was married, Major Mackey purchased a large tract of land northeast of the village, and on this he settled, making it his home during the remainder of his life, and carrying on farming and stock raising. His death occurred August 15, 1844, when he was 68 years old. During the whole of his active life he had done surveying, and his son's proficiency as a civil engineer may be a direct heritage from the father. September 10, 1823, he married Margaret Early, who survived until May 14, 1870. Her parents, Thomas and Jane Early, who were born in Ireland, settled in Coitsville township, Mahoning County, Ohio. Major Mackey and wife had eight children, three of whom died in childhood. There are but two survivors, namely: James and his youngest sister, Letitia, who is the wife of Andrew Kirk.

Major Mackey was the type of pioneer whose value to a community cannot be overestimated. He served as township trustee, justice of the peace, township clerk, county commissioner, a member of the legislature and treasurer of Trumbull County, while in his immediate neighborhood there was no necessity to elect or appoint by law, for he was naturally fitted to be a leader and safe adviser.

James Mackey, Jr., was afforded common school and academic training before he entered the Cleveland University. Here he prepared himself for the work for which he felt himself especially fitted, and proved himself so competent and accurate, that he had filled but a few contracts before he was invited to become a member of a commission made up of five representative engineers and surveyors of Ohio and Pennsylvania, to establish for all time the boundary line between the states. Mr. Mackey has probably had as much experience in the surveying of coal lands and mines as any man in his profession, his work being marked with the certainty and accuracy which precluded all kinds of litigation. About 1875 he began also to survey and plat, town sites and his work in this line has been vast. With his brothers, the late David and Robert Mackey, he promoted and constructed the first street railroad in Youngstown, the old horse car line, which was then an enthusiastically welcomed public utility. Of this enterprise he served for seven years as president, when the pressure of professional work made it seem advisable that he resign this office, as well as curtail his activities in a number of other directions.

Mr. Mackey, like other members of his family, has always been identified with the Democratic party, but he has never been convinced that his duty as a good citizen necessitates his acceptance of public office. Neither has he accepted many positions on directing boards of business or other enterprises, his tastes lying more in the direction of a private life and close attention to his professional work. Large demands have come to him in this line, and these he has met with the efficiency which has made his name one of note in civil engineering all over the state. He spent upwards of fifty three years in and about Youngstown in his profession.

On October 30, 1862, Mr. Mackey was married to Mary H. Ruggles, who was born in Canfield, Ohio, a daughter of Azor and Adeline M. Ruggles. Mr. and Mrs. Mackey have had five children, namely: Robert M., who died in infancy, Charles L., Grace, Margaret H. and Nellie. The beautiful family home, which is the center of much social life, is situated just east of the city limits, on McGuffey street. Mr. and Mrs. Mackey are members of the Episcopal Church, worshipping with the congregation at St. John's, of which Mr. Mackey was a member of the vestry for a number of years.

Mr. Mackey was a member of the original board of trustees of the Rayen School, and after serving continually for twenty years, he refused to accept the position longer on account of his professional duties. His portrait is published on a neighboring page of this volume.

20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Representative Citizens,
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Youngstown, Ohio
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897

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