John H. Mickey

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John H. Mickey
John H. Mickey2.jpg
13th Governor of Nebraska
In office
January 8, 1903 – January 3, 1907
Lieutenant Edmund G. McGilton
Preceded by Ezra P. Savage
Succeeded by George L. Sheldon
Member of the Nebraska Legislature
In office
Personal details
Born (1845-09-30)September 30, 1845
Burlington, Iowa
Died June 2, 1910(1910-06-02) (aged 64)
Osceola, Nebraska
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Morinda McCray
Flora Cinderella Campbell
Parents Oliver Perry Mickey
Betsy Ann Davidson
Alma mater Iowa Wesleyan College
Occupation Banker, Politician, Governor

John Hopwood Mickey (September 30, 1845 – June 2, 1910) was a Republican politician who served as the 13th Governor of Nebraska from 1903 to 1907.

Life and career[edit]

Early life and ancestors[edit]

He was born near Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa on September 30, 1845, a son of Oliver Perry Mickey, a pioneer in Iowa, locating there from Pennsylvania in 1836 and Betsy Ann Davidson.


In 1847, his parents moved the family removed to Louisa County, Iowa, and it was there his education was attained in the Iowa public school system. After being mustered out of the service, he returned to his Iowa home and for two years was a student at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Upon leaving college, he engaged in school teaching and during the vacation periods he devoted himself to farming.

Military service[edit]

In 1863, he enlisted as a private in the Union Army, in Company D, 8th Iowa cavalry, and served until the close of the war. His regiment was in service in eastern Tennessee and with William Tecumseh Sherman in his Atlanta Campaign until the successful surrender of Atlanta on September 2, 1864. He also served in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. He was honorably mustered out of service in August 1865.

Marriage and family[edit]

He married as his first wife, on September 10, 1867 at Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, Morinda McCray, born April 8, 1849 at Fayette, Indiana, the daughter of James McCray and Mary Harlan. She died on December 23, 1886 at Osceola, Polk County, Nebraska and is buried in Osceola Cemetery. John and Morinda were the parents of 5 children.

He married, as his second wife, on December 8, 1887, at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Osceola, Polk County, Nebraska, Flora Cinderella Campbell, the daughter of Benjamin Crawford Campbell and Elizabeth Ann Scott. She was born on November 16, 1861 in Iowa and died on January 16, 1938 at Osceola, Nebraska. She is buried next to her husband in Osceola Cemetery. John and Flora were the parents of 4 children.

Two-story wooden house with wrap-around porch and two chimneys
Mickey's house in Osceola is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is now part of the Polk County Historical Society Museum.[1]


He moved with his young bride and child to Polk County, Nebraska arrived on September 3, 1868 and homesteaded.[2] He moved to the town of Osceola in 1872.

In May 1879, the Osceola Bank, with a capital stock of $5,000 was opened by Mr. Mickey. Ever since its organization Mr. Mickey has been its president. During the financial stringency of 1893, when financial institutions throughout the country were threatened with disaster, Mr. Mickey's bank survived the storm and was the means of assisting many of the business houses and farmers of Polk county in maintaining such credit as enabled them to survive during the depressed times.

Political career[edit]

Even though his father was a Stephen A. Douglas Democrat, he always identified as a Republican. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, when he was only nineteen years old, the State of Iowa having passed a special act enabling all soldiers to vote irrespective of age.

Shortly after settling in Nebraska, Mickey was elected treasurer of Polk County. After 10 years as treasurer, he served two terms in the Nebraska House of Representatives. He was elected governor of Nebraska in 1902 and re-elected in 1904. His failed attempt to arbitrate strikes in Omaha between Gurdon Wattles's Omaha Traction Company and union organizers in 1903 marked the rest of his administration.[3]

During his tenure as governor, numerous pardons were granted; an improved state auditing system was initiated; and a direct primary law was promoted.

Post career[edit]

After retiring as governor, John Mickey returned to Osceola, Nebraska. He was an active member of the Osceola Methodist Episcopal Church, and for many years was a trustee of his church and superintendent of the Sunday school. He was a lifelong supporter of the Temperance movement, and served as president of the Board of Trustees of Nebraska Wesleyan University.


He died at his home in Osceola on June 2, 1910, and was buried in the Osceola Cemetery.[4]


  1. "The Political Graveyard". Mickey, John Hopwood. Retrieved January 4, 2006. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Ezra P. Savage
Governor of Nebraska
Succeeded by
George L. Sheldon