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John A. Keliher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Austin Keliher
John A Keliher Massachusetts Congressman circa 1908.png
John A. Keliher circa 1908[1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1911
Preceded byJoseph A. Conry
Succeeded byWilliam Francis Murray
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives[1]
Member of the Massachusetts Senate[1]
In office
Sheriff of Suffolk County, Massachusetts[2]
In office
May 3, 1917 – September 21, 1938
Preceded byJohn Quinn
Succeeded byJohn F. Dowd
Delegate to the 1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention[3]
In office
June 6, 1917[3] – August 13, 1919[4]
Personal details
Born(1866-11-06)November 6, 1866
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 21, 1938(1938-09-21) (aged 71)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic
OccupationReal estate

John Austin Keliher (November 6, 1866 – September 21, 1938) was a U.S. Democratic politician.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts and served from March 4, 1903, to March 3, 1911. Congressman Keliher was the uncle of Brigadier-General John J. Keliher and Rear Admiral Thomas Joseph Keliher.

Defeats in the 1910 congressional election

In 1910 Keliher lost his bid for reelection, first losing in the Democratic primary,[5] and in the general election as an independent candidate,[6] losing both times to William F. Murray.[7]

Sheriff of Suffolk County

On April 11, 1917, the incumbent sheriff of Suffolk County, "Honest John" Quinn, died from diabetes.[8] On April 18, 1917 Governor McCall submitted Keliher's name to the Executive Council to fill the vacancy.[9] Keliher's appointment was approved by the Executive Council and he was sworn into office on May 3, 1917.[10] On November 6, 1917[11] Keliher was elected in his own right and re-elected in every election until 1938.[2]

1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention

In 1916 the Massachusetts legislature and electorate approved the calling of a Constitutional Convention.[12] In May 1917 Keliher was elected to serve as a member of the convention, representing Massachusetts' 11th Congressional District.

Electoral defeat and death

In September 1938 Keliher ran in the primary for renomination as sheriff of Suffolk County. After the returns showed that he was losing the election, he had a heart attack and died[13][14] in Boston.


  • Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1919) pp. 7–8, 865, 971.
  • The Municipal Register for 1918 City of Boston (1918) p. 110.
  • Who's who in State Politics, 1908 Practical Politics (1908) p. 14.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1911
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c Who's who in State Politics, 1908, Boston, MA: Practical Politics, 1908, p. 14
  2. ^ a b "John A. Keliher; Sheriff in Boston Since 1917 Dies While Losing Renomination", The New York Times (Special to The New York Times), New York, NY, p. 22, September 22, 1938
  3. ^ a b Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MA: Wright & Potter printing co., state printers, 1919, p. 8
  4. ^ Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MA: Wright & Potter printing co., state printers, 1919, pp. 865, 971
  5. ^ "Both Lose Renomination: Keliher and O'Connell Defeated in Massachusetts Primaries. Majority of the Delegates to Democratic State Convention Will Go Uninstructed.", The Washington Post, Washington, DC, p. 3, September 28, 1910
  6. ^ Murray Speaks in His Home District: Buckley Predicts He Will Sweep District. Keliher Has Three Rallies, Two of Them in Charlestown, Boston, MA: The Boston Daily Globe, November 5, 1910, p. 4
  7. ^ "Foss Wins By 22,000 In Massachusetts; But the Rest of the Democratic State Ticket Has Probably Been Defeated.", The New York Times, New York, NY, p. 2, November 9, 1910
  8. ^ "Honest John" Quinn Is Dead: Sheriff Yields Suddenly at the Charles-St Jail Long A Familiar and Genial Figure in Boston Politics, Boston, MA: The Boston Globe, April 12, 1917, p. 1
  9. ^ Keliher Given Quinn's Berth: Sheriff Until Jan 1 With Election in Meantime Far-Reaching Political Effects Likely--Republicans Angry, Boston, MA: The Boston Globe, April 19, 1917, p. 13
  10. ^ It's Now Sheriff John A. Keliher: Ex-Congressman Sworn In and Visits Jail Reappoints Deputies--Agrees to Sit in Constitutional Convention, Boston, MA: The Boston Globe, May 4, 1917, p. 11
  11. ^ The Municipal Register for 1918, Boston, MA: The City of Boston, 1917, p. 110
  12. ^ Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1919, pp. 7–8
  13. ^ "John A. Keliher; Sheriff in Boston Since 1917 Dies While Losing Renomination", The New York Times, p. 23, September 22, 1938
  14. ^ J. A Keliher, Sheriff, Dies In Bay State Suffolk County Official Had Held Post Since 1917; Congressman 4 Terms; Ran For Mayor, Hartford, CT: The Hartford Courant, September 22, 1938, p. 4
This page was last edited on 19 February 2022, at 06:43
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