HON. JOHN H. MCKUNE
HON. J. H. McKUNE. Remembered as one of the oldest and most
eminent members of the bar of Sacramento county, Hon.
J. H. McKune, who died March 23, 1905, is named among
the representative citizens of this section of the state of California. He was a native of New
York state, his birth having
occurred in Sullivan county March 23, 1819.
Becoming a resident of Pennsylvania,
he read law in the office of Bently
& Richards at Montrose, Susquehanna county, from 1839 to 1844, at the close
of that period being admitted to the bar at that place. He remained a citizen of Montrose for the
ensuing four years, engaged in the practice of his profession, when he removed
to Illinois and resumed practice in Lee
Center, Lee county.
The following year he came overland
to California, on the 7th of May leaving Independence,
Mo., and on the 1st of September crossing the
Sierra Nevada mountains at a point
near where the present railroad crosses.
Like the great majority of those who sought the state at that time, his
first employment was in gold mining at Nevada
City, in which occupation he
remained for a short time. He hunted
deer in the fall of 1849, and in January of the following year came to Sacramento,
where he resided until his death, with the exception of two years spent in San
the election April 5, 1850, he was chosen county attorney and held the office
for two years. Following this he was appointed law agent for the United
States land commission, which office he held for a like
period, being the only agent appointed in California. At the general election of 1856 he was
elected on the Democratic ticket to the legislature, and during the session of
1857 he took a prominent part, acting as chairman of the committee appointed to
conduct the impeachment of State Treasurer Bates. At the regular election of 1858 he was
elected district judge of the sixth judicial district, a candidate of the
Douglas Democrats, and five years later was elected to the same office on the
Republican ticket. He held the office
until the 31st of December 1869.
In company with John C. Burch and Creed Haymond,
he was appointed by Governor Booth as code commissioner to compile the statutes
that were ratified by the legislature in 1871-72. It is said that Judge McKune
was connected with more celebrated law suits than any other attorney in
Sacramento county; while he also compiled all of the ordinances of the city of
Sacramento (except a few touching franchises) into one ordinance numbered 17,
and that number is still preserved among the ordinances of the city.
February 26, 1855, Judge McKune was united in marriage with Mary G. Bennett, of San
Francisco, and they became the parents of two
children: Florence A. and Charles Ralph,
the latter of whom died in June, 1889, at the age of thirty-one years. Fraternally he was a Mason and an Odd Fellow,
and took a great interest in the Grange from its organization. He was always an indefatigable worker, and
only retired from practice two years prior to his death. He was a member of the Society of California
Pioneers and of the Sacramento Society.
by Kathy Porter.
Source: “History of
the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley,
J. M. Guinn. Page 364.
Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago 1906.
© 2007 Kathy Porter.