Adam McGovney was born in County Down, Ireland, December 14, 1789, of Protestant Presbyterian parents. He received a fair education, became a Free Mason and was advanced in that order to the degrees of Christian Knighthood, before leaving that country. While there he united with the Presbyterian Church.

In 1818, he came to this country and located in Adams County. He was married to Miss Mary McGovney, in Adams County, on the twenty-eighth day of January, 1819. They had one child, Thomas, and she died January 14, 1820, at the age of 28 years. Her surviving husband never remarried. In West Union, Mr. McGovney kept a general store and part of the time conducted a tannery. In 1840, he became a member of the Methodist Church and from that time until his death there was no more devout or consistent Christian than he. Always in his place at every church service, and every prayer and class meeting, he was a bright and shining light. He lived his religion every day of his life, and in his dying hours it was his comfort and solace. He was always at the Wednesday evening prayer meetings which the writer attended when a small boy. Uncle Adam, as all the boys knew him, had a fixed and certain prayer and the writer at one time knew it all and could repeat it from memory. He regards it as his loss that he cannot remember it and repeat it, until this day. One phrase in it was "Knit us, Oh Lord, closer to thy bleeding side." He, Abraham Hollingsworth, Nicholas Burwell, William R. Rape and William Allen could always be depended on to attend and be found at the weekly prayer meetings.

Next to his religion, Mr. McGovney was attached to Masonry. He was as faithful a Mason, as he was a church member. The writer remembered seeing him in many Masonic parades and he usually wore the crossed silver keys of the lodge jewels. He was treasurer of the lodge many years. As a neighbor and a friend he was liked by all who knew him. He published the country of his birth whenever he spoke, as he had the broadest of Irish accent, but it was a pleasure to listen to it.

He was very fond of the little people, the children. He knew how to please them, to cater to their pleasures, which he was very fond of doing. They were always his friends, and he, theirs.

He promised to bring the writer up to the tanner's trade and took great pleasure in explaining it all to him. Mr. McGovney was over six feet and slender. He had a very firm expression when his countenance was in repose, but when animated or in a laughing mood, no one was more agreeable. He was always ready to sympathize with those who deserved it and to aid those who needed it. On his death bed he expressed his complete confidence in the religion he professed in life. He required no religious consolation and, when approached on that subject, said, "I have long placed my confidence in my Savior."

His funeral was conducted with Masonic honors by the West Union Lodge and members of other lodges in the same county. The services were at the Presbyterian Church and the interment was in the Kirker Cemetery where he was laid beside his wife who had been buried there forty years before.

Adam McGovney was a just man and a model citizen. His activities were confined to his business, Masonry and the church. In his political views he was a Democrat. His memory stands as that of a good and true man, a credit to the generation to which he belonged.

He had no taste for politics and never was a candidate for office, but he believed in doing every duty before him, and lived his belief.


From "History of Adams County, Ohio from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time" - by Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers - West Union, Ohio - Published by E. B. Stivers - 1900