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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/McKeon, John

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McKEON, John, lawyer, b. in Albany, N. Y., in 1808; d. in New York city, 22 Nov., 1883. He was graduated at Columbia in 1825, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began to practise in New York city. He was a member of the lower house of the legislature from 1832 till 1834, and subsequently was elected to congress as a Democrat, serving from 7 Dec., 1835, till 3 March, 1837, and from 31 May, 1841, till 3 March, 1843. He was appointed district attorney of the county of New York early, in 1846, and the following year, the office having become elective, he was chosen for the full term of three years. He was resolute in the discharge of his duties, notably in securing the conviction of the notorious malpractitioner, Madame Restell, and in his determined hostility to criminals of all classes. After serving during the unexpired term of Charles O'Conor as U. S. district attorney for the southern district of New York, he resumed the practice of law in 1858. While holding the latter office he was engaged in prosecuting a number of important cases. Among them were the attempt to enlist men to serve in the British army during the Crimean war; the seizure of the filibustering ship “Northern Light,” and the trial of Officer Westervelt, who had been captured on board the “Nightingale” by government cruisers, that vessel having in her hold 960 slaves. Although well advanced in years, he was nominated for district attorney in the autumn of 1881, and was elected to the same office that he had held more than thirty years before.