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09/19/2021 08:25 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

John Kean



Session Position District Party
1793-1794 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1795-1796 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1797-1798 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1799-1800 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1801-1802 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1803-1804 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
1805-1806 N/A Jeffersonian Republican
 Counties   Berks, Dauphin


1762 - 1818

An early Harrisburg settler, John Kean was one of the first judges of Dauphin County; a county commissioner for eight years; a two-term state senator from Dauphin and Berks Counties; register-general of Pennsylvania; a presidential elector in 1800 (for Jefferson); and for many years a justice of the peace at Harrisburg.  Born in Philadelphia, October 3, 1762, Kean was the son of Irish immigrant John Kean, a captain in the Revolution, and Mary Dunlap. Moving with his family to present Dauphin County in 1775, John Jr. served in the Revolution through the surrender at Yorktown.  After discharge, he apprenticed as a merchant in Hummelstown, became the second sheriff of Dauphin County, and taught himself surveying.  In 1785 he came to Harrisburg where he married his first wife, Mary, in 1786, the daughter of Hon. Robert Whitehill of Cumberland County, Speaker of the state Senate, congressman, and major contributor to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.  With the death of his first wife, he remarried Jane Hamilton in 1789, daughter of Capt. John Hamilton.  He was one of the first managers of the library company, established in 1787; of the trustees of the Harrisburg Academy, 1788; treasurer of the Presbyterian congregation; chosen captain of the town’s first volunteer company upon the resignation of Gen. Hanna; and president of the first fire company. In 1792 he was appointed a judge.  In 1796 he purchased the New Market Forge, moving to its location near Palmyra.  He served in the state Senate from 1794 through 1801.  Senator Kean moved to Philadelphia in 1810, became a merchant, returned to Harrisburg in 1813, was appointed justice of the peace by Governor Snyder, and passed away on December 9, 1818, aged fifty-six years.