John Dickey McCaleb

JOHN DICKEY McCALEB. Among the old residents and worthy representatives of Westmoreland county and the men who have contributed largely to the upbuilding of that place, is John Dickey McCaleb, a prominent business man, and for many years justice of the peace and notary public of Mount Pleasant. He was born near Congruity church, in Salem township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1824, a son of John and Sally (Hosack) McCaleb, and grandson of James McCaleb, who was a farmer at Harveys Cross Roads in Salem township, where he lived for many years. He was a man of means and an extensive property holder. He married, and the following named children were born to him: Margaret, Elizabeth Archibald, John, James and Martha.

John, fourth child and older son of James McCaleb, and father of John Dickey McCaleb, was born and reared in Westmoreland county. His boyhood was spent on the home farm, and in early life he commenced teaching school, which occupation he followed all his life, devoting some fifty years to it. He first taught in the subscription schools, and later in the public schools. He was a member and regular attendant of the Presbyterian church, and married Sally Hosack, a zealous and active church worker. The following named children were born to Mr. and Mrs. McCaleb: 1. Jane, deceased, who was the wife of John Russell, also deceased; 2. Margaret, deceased; 3. Mary Ann, deceased; 4. Sarah, deceased; 5. James Russell, died at Vicksburg during the Civil war, having enlisted in Ohio; 6. Hannah E., married John Hetherington, of Westmoreland county, both deceased; 7. John D., mentioned hereafter; 8. Helen S., unmarried.

John Dickey McCaleb, at the age of ten years, left home and went to live with Major Kain, near Hannastown. where he remained for three years, then removing to Mount Pleasant, where he found employment in the firm of Cunningham & Anderson. After remaining there for a short time he associated himself with Peter Blystone, conducting his store for six months. At the expiration of this time he returned to Mount Pleasant and accepted a position in the store of Sherwick & Braden, remaining there for some seven or eight years, when he severed his connection with this firm and established himself in the wholesale dry goods business in Philadelphia. After six months he returned to Mount Pleasant and opened a general store which he conducted for some time with considerable success. He subsequently formed a partnership with one of his former employers, John Sherwick. This arrangement existed for several years, and Mr. McCaleb then sold out his interest in the business, and became interested in the oil business at Pithole. During these years of earnest work Mr. McCaleb had accumulated a fair competency, all of which he lost soon after entering the oil business. However, being undaunted by his misfortune and a man of moral and physical courage, he immediately set himself to work to re-establish the fortune he had lost. He engaged in the foundry business at Mount Pleasant, where he erected a fine plant, besides buying out three other concerns in the borough. Owing to his inexperience in this line, Mr. McCaleb again met with financial losses, and after four or five years relinquished this business. He then opened a small store in Mount Pleasant, and met with considerable success. In 1885 he was appointed postmaster of the borough, serving two terms. After his retirement from the postoffice he received the appointment of notary public, which office he still holds.

In politics he accords with the doctrines of the Republican party, and loses no opportunity of advancing the interests of that organization. He is a man of standing in the community, and the esteem in which he is held by his fellow-townsmen is demonstrated by the fact that he was elected a member of the board council, member of the school board, and other minor offices, the duties of which he acquitted with credit and efficiency. In connection with his duties as notary public, Mr. McCaleb acts as representative of several of the steamship companies. He has contributed his share toward the building up of the town, having erected two fine brick residences besides a number of smaller houses. Mr. McCaleb was the first man to promote the organization of the First National Bank of Mount Pleasant (1863), which .was the first organized National Bank in Westmoreland county.

In 1851 Mr. McCaleb was united in marriage to Sarah B. Sherwick, daughter of Joseph Sherwick. She was born in Westmoreland county, in 1827. The following named children were born to Mr. and Mrs. McCaleb: 1. Ella, secretary of Vassar College, at which institution she was educated and where she received the degree of A. B. 2. J. Sherwick McCaleb who was educated in Mount Pleasant. He was engaged for eleven years as cashier of the Connellsville (Pennsylvania) National Bank, and had the remarkable record of making but one error during that time. He now resides at Edgewood, where he is state auditor and accountant. He married Katherine Johnson, and after her death married Katherine Roberts. 3. William Baird, superintendent of the eastern division of the Pennsylvania railroad office at Harrisburg. He married Mary Reed, of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, and they have two children. 4. George H., deceased in 1855. 5. Effie, at home.

Source: Page(s) 127-128, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed February 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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