Biography of John Perry Mahaffey

John Perry Mahaffey, born in 1845 in Cambridge, Ohio, was a hardworking man who sought success through honest means, living by the Golden Rule and following the example set by his ancestors. He learned the printer’s trade after receiving a common school education and became proficient in it. Mahaffey was a prominent Democrat, serving as clerk of courts of Guernsey County and as a state senator. He was also a patriotic soldier during the Civil War, and a member of various fraternal organizations and the Methodist Episcopal Church. He purchased the Cambridge Herald in 1882 and made it a successful journal until he retired in 1910.

The life of John Perry Mahaffey, one of Cambridge’s substantial and well-liked citizens, has been replete with success well-earned, for he has always been a hard worker and has sought to advance himself by no questionable methods, always striving to live up to the Golden Rule and follow the example set by his ancestors. He is the son of John and Margaret Mahaffey and was born in Cambridge, Ohio, on April 16, 1845. Practically his entire life has been spent in this city. His father was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, on December 31, 1813. Coming to Cambridge at an early age, he made this community his home until his death on March 5, 1852. He was a man who took an interest in the affairs of his community and was highly respected for his integrity, and he established a very comfortable home here. The mother of the subject, known in her maidenhood as Margaret Newman, was born on the Isle of Guernsey on April 3, 1817, and there she grew to maturity, emigrating to America in 1834 and locating at Cambridge, Ohio, where she continued to reside until her death on January 3, 1892.

John P. Mahaffey, of this review, after receiving a common school education, learned the printer’s trade, and that has been his chief occupation ever since, being very proficient in the “art preservative.” He has always been a Democrat and an earnest and untiring advocate of the party’s principles and prominent in its conventions in the town, county, and state. He served one term as clerk of courts of Guernsey County from 1879 to 1882 and made a very commendable record. He was a candidate for presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1900, and in 1904 he was the Democratic candidate for clerk of the Supreme Court of Ohio but went down in defeat with the balance of the ticket. In 1905, he was elected state senator from the eighteenth and nineteenth districts, composed of Coshocton, Guernsey, Monroe, Tuscarawas, and part of Noble counties, and he made such a commendable record and gained such universal favor that he was re-elected in 1908. He made his influence felt in that important body, and his record has been so praiseworthy in every respect that he won the admiration of all fair-minded citizens, irrespective of party alignment.

During the war of the Rebellion, Mr. Mahaffey proved his patriotism and loyalty to the national government by enlisting in the One Hundred and Seventy-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in which he served in a very faithful manner. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and he takes a great deal of interest in these lodges. He holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church and is faithful in his support of the same.

On March 1, 1882, in connection with T. W. Ogier, Mr. Mahaffey purchased the Cambridge Herald, which the firm continued to publish until August 10, 1910, when the plant was sold to other parties, since which time he has been leading a retired life. He made this paper one of the leading journals of its type in eastern Ohio, and it was a success from a financial standpoint under his judicious management. Its circulation gradually increased, and its value as an advertising medium was made apparent; its columns teemed with the best and brightest news of the day and with able and convincing editorials. In short, he rendered it an indispensable molder of public opinion.

Mr. Mahaffey was married on March 21, 1872, to Sarah F. Scott, daughter of Thomas and Lydia (Langell) Scott, natives of Nova Scotia, who came to Cambridge in early life. Mrs. Mahaffey’s death occurred on February 9, 1873. This union resulted in the birth of one son, G. F. Mahaffey. After graduating from the Cambridge high school, the latter became a student at the college at Delaware, Ohio, and he is at present secretary of the state game and fish department.


Sarchet, Cyrus P. B. (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty). History of Guernsey County, Ohio. Vol. 2, B.F. Bowen & Company, 1911.

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