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John Kearney, who is engaged in farming in Raymond Township, was born in Racine on the 5th of September, 1850, a son of Michael and Mary Ann (Whaley) Kearney. The father was born in Rose Green, Ireland, September 29, 1818, and when a youth of sixteen years crossed the Atlantic, working in New York for a time. He afterward removed to Washtenaw County, Michigan, and still later purchased an interest in a milling company in Muskegon. Michigan. The business venture there met with failure, however, and he removed to Racine. Willing to take any work that would yield him an honest living, he engaged in chopping wood for some time at eighteen cents per cord. He afterward operated a farm on shares in Raymond Township for three years, taking up his abode upon that place in 1853. He prospered during that period and on the 15th of January, 1856, purchased one hundred and eighty acres of land, thus becoming the owner of an excellent farm. As time passed success continued to attend his efforts and he became one of the substantial residents of his locality, his life proving what may be accomplished when one has the will to dare and to do, for he started out empty handed and also faced disaster at one point in his career. His strenuous efforts, however, overcame obstacles and difficulties and he was well-to-do when death called him to the home beyond. In Wisconsin he wedded Mary Ann Whaley, who was born in Quebec, Canada, and they became the parents of fourteen children, of whom eight are living: John, of this review; Michael, who follows farming near Burlington; Thomas M., an attorney at Racine; Mrs. James Vyvyan; Catherine, living in Racine; Patrick, who is the possessor of a handsome competence and is living retired in Racine; Matt, who is engaged, in the real estate business in Milwaukee, and Nora, also of Racine. The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church, to which Mr. Kearney belonged, while his political allegiance was given to the Democratic Party.
To the common school system of Racine County John Kearney is indebted for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. Since starting out in life on his own account he has continuously followed farming and at first lived upon rented land until his well directed labors brought to him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase his present farm in 1884. He has since remodeled the buildings upon the place and has erected others and now has a well improved property of eighty acres, supplied with all modern conveniences and equipment. In addition he owns three hundred acres of fine land in South Dakota and his career may indeed be said to be a successful one. While carrying on general agricultural pursuits he also does considerable dairying and keeps a fine herd of pure blooded Holstein cattle. He is also an auctioneer and has successfully cried many sales.
On the 29th of November, 1876, Mr. Kearney was married to Miss Mary A. Leonard and they became the parents of eight children, of whom seven are living: Walter, now residing in Raymond Township; Frank, who is connected with the International Harvester Company at Huron, South Dakota; Lizzie. the wife of William Cavanaugh, of Milwaukee town; Julia, the wife of Matt Foss, residing in Milwaukee County; Agnes, who is keeping house for her father, and John and Jimmie, both at home. The wife and mother passed a way December 11, 1910, her death being deeply regretted by her immediate household and also by many friends.
Mr. Kearney is a communicant of St. Luke’s Catholic church at Caledonia and in politics is a democrat and yet does not hesitate to cast an independent ballot if he so desires. He has served as Township treasurer, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, feeling that he can aid the community in other ways and preferring to concentrate his efforts and attention upon his business affairs.