49 Dick. L. Rev. 60 (October 1944 to June 1945)
An Orphan Became Pennsylvania's Chief Justice

handle is hein.journals/dlr49 and id is 66 raw text is: DICKINSON LAW REVIEW

A great master of phrases has defined a true alumnus as a devoted son of a
loving mother. A son best serves his mother by leading a proper and successful
life and by remembering her in his strength and her weakness. Judged by such
a standard, Justice Kephart takes high rank. From the time when he was graduated
from the Dickinson School of Law until the present, he has been unfaltering in
his loyalty, intense in his enthusiasm, and assiduous in his labors for Dickinson
His attitude toward his Alma Mater quite accurately reflects his attitude toward
all the activities of his life. He is a man of steadfast allegiances, ardent optimism,
and unremitting endeavor.
The story of the life of such a man is the heritage of those who come after
him and serves as an example and an incentive. Its publication is not only a
labor of affection but also the performance of a public duty.
John W. Kephart was born in Wilmore, Pa., on November 12, 1872. His
parents were Samuel H. and Henrietta B. Kephart. His father, who had served
distinction in the Civil War and who at the time of John's birth was the proprietor
of the general store at Wilmore, died in 1874, when the future Chief justice was
two years old, leaving a widow and five children.
Three years later the five children entered the Soldiers Orphan School at
McAllisterville, which was a military school supported by the state. His career
at this school was quite remarkable. He entered as one of the youngest of its
students, was appointed colonel of the school battalion, which was the highest
honor attainable in the school, and was graduated therefrom two years in advance
of the prescribed time as the valedictorian of his class.
After leaving this school he worked as a telegrapher for .the Pennsylvania
railroad, living frugally and saving carefully in order that he might attend col-
lege later. He did enter Allegheny College but was compelled to leave before
graduation because of his lack of funds.
After leaving college he again entered the service of the Pennsylvania rail-
road. Because of his natural aptitude and the faithful and efficient character of
*By Walter Harrison Hitchler, D.C.L., LL. D., Dean of the Dickinson School of Law. Dickinson
Altmnus-Vol. 13, No. 3-February, 1936.

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