John T. McKenzie, now deceased, was a well known agriculturist and respected citizen of San Joaquin county, having located in Castoria township at a very early day. He died January 4, 1901, and the community mourned the loss of one of its valued citizens. His birth occurred in Kentucky on the 27th of May, 1836, and was of Scotch descent. He ws a son of James and Lucintha (Roundtree) McKenzie, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Wales. They removed to Grant county, Wisconsin, when their son John was only a year old, becoming early pioneer settlers of that locality, and there amid the wild scenes of frontier life John T. McKenzie was reared to manhood, sharing with the members of the household in teh hardships and trials incident to pioneer communities. He attended the public schools, acquiring a good practical education and received ample training in farm work. His knowledge gained in the schoolroom was supplemented by many valuable lessons gained in the school of experience, also through reading and observation, and in later years he was a well informed man, having a broad general knowledge of the questions of the day.
He was married in Grant county, Wisconsin, on the 16th of April, 1863, to Miss Lucy F. Graves, who was born in Warren county, Missouri, a daughter of Henry B. and Lorena A. (Howell) Graves. Her father was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, and with his parents removed to Kentucky in early life, there remaining until sixteen years of age, when the family became residents of Warren county, Missouri. He continued to reside in that locality for many years. There he attained his majority, was married and took up his abode, living there until 1846, when with his family he removed to Grant county, wisconsin. The mother of Mrs. McKenzie was a native of Warren county, Missouri, where her girlhood days were passed, and in 1846 she accompanied her husband to Wisconsin and they reared their family in Grant county.
In the year 1864 John T. McKenzie, accompanied by his wife, her parents and other members of the family, started from Grant county, Wisconsin, to California. they made the journey across the plains, leaving their old home on the 2d of May, 1864, and arriving in the Golden state on the 19th of September following. Their destination was San Joaquin county and they settled in Castoria township on the farm adjoining what is now known as the McKenzie farm and bordering the McKenzie road, which was so named in honor of Mr. McKenzie. To Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie has been born one son, James H., whose birth occurred on the 16th of August, 1870, and is now residing at home.
The McKenzie ranch comprises one hundred and sixty acres of land and was placed under a high state of cultivation by Mr. McKenzie, who was very progressive in his agricultural methods and very active and energetic in all of his work. His business success was the result of his untiring effort and his honest dealing. He made for himself an untarnished name, which he gve to his family as a priceless heritage, also leaving them a substantial property. He served as a trustee of the Castoria school district and was a public-spirited citizen, deeply interested in everything pertaining to the welfare and upbuilding of his community, his co-operation being a factor in the furtherance of many movements for the general good. His political allegiance was given to the Democratic party. Although his life was quietly and uneventfully passed, he yet took an active and helpful part in the pioneer development of two counties and his history is well worthy of emulation in many regards because he was loyal to his family and friends, faithful in citizenship and reliable in business. He died January 4, 1901, respected by all who knew him. His wife, who still survives him and is residing upon the old homestead farm in Castoria township, also has a wide acquaintance and her friends are many.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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