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Lecky Harper

   Lecky Harper was one of the outstanding journalists of the 19th century, and he lived the last half of his life in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He was born in Ireland in 1815, the son of Hugh and Catharine (Long) Harper. The family migrated to the United States when Lecky was five years old. After the father's sudden death, the Harper family moved to Ohio in 1926. Lecky's early education was in the country schools of Jefferson County.

   He developed an early interest in journalism and history, and he worked for newspapers in Steubenville, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lecky also studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1844 he married Eliza A. Mercer. The Harpers had nine children.

   In 1853 Lecky purchased the Knox County Democratic Banner and the family moved to Mount Vernon.

   Until his death Harper was the editor of this somewhat controversial newspaper. He soon achieved a national reputation for his strong criticism of big government, child labor, Whigs, Abraham Lincoln,  and the Civil War. Harper was apparently responsible for Clement Vallandigham's coming to Mount Vernon in May, 1863, to deliver the anti-war speech for which Vallandigham was later arrested, tried, and banished to the South. Lecky was elected to one term in the Ohio Senate, in 1879.

   So far as we can determine, Lecky Harper wrote no books, but his editorials and his editorialized news items were more than enough for him to be considered a creative writer. He died in 1895 and is buried in Mount Vernon's Mound View Cemetery.

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Knox County Historical Society

875 Harcourt Road
Mount Vernon, OH 43050

Phone No. : (740) 393-5247
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