John O. Saxton (1833-1903)

John Saxton was born on July 3, 1833 in Silver Spring Township near New Kingston, Pennsylvania. He was the only son of John and Nancy Saxton. Although his farmer father died when John was ten years old, he attended the New Kingston Academy and entered Dickinson College in nearby Carlisle in 1852 with the class of 1855. He was elected to the Belles Lettres Society, but left the College after three years and returned home to run the family farm.

Saxton was a prosperous farmer who, after his marriage, controlled 345 acres in the area. He moved into the nearby town of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was active in civic affairs. Saxton sat for twenty years on the school board, held office for two terms on the city council, and served as chief burgess of the town. He was active in the Cumberland County Agricultural Society and, as an active Presbyterian, was a founder and treasurer of the Mechanicsburg Bible and Tract Society from 1871. Saxton was also a Democrat and was a presidential elector from the Nineteenth Congressional District in 1880.

In November 1866, Saxton married Ellen Dunlap of Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County. The couple had six children. Three of these reached maturity, including Lynn M. Saxton, who attended Dickinson with the class of 1896. John Saxton died at this home on the corner of York and Main Streets in Mechanicsburg in 1903. He was seventy years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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