John S. Kephart is a native of Kentucky, born in the famous blue grass region, on the 21st day of October, 1826. His parents were Samuel and Jemima (Swift) Kephart, both natives of the same state. Samuel Kephart came to Johnson County, Ind., in 1835, and settled in Hensley Township, where he lived until his death in 1885. He was over eighty years of age when he died, as was also his wife, whose death occurred the same year. They were the parents of fourteen children, nine of whom are living, six of them being residents of Hensley Township. The immediate subject of this biography was reared partly in Henry County, Ky., and partly in Indiana, being nine years of age when his parents moved to Johnson County. In the year 1846, he enlisted in Company C, Third Indiana Volunteers, Col. Lane’s regiment, for the Mexican War, and served for a period of thirteen months, during which time he participated in a number of skirmishes and battles, including the bloody engagement of Buena Vista, on the 22nd of February, 1847. He returned home in July, of the latter year, and on the 22nd day of the month was united in marriage with Miss Mary C. Tapp, daughter of William Tapp, by whom he had eight children, the following of whom are living: Eliza Ann, Samuel, Lucy J., Catherine, Sarah and John T. Mr. Kephart began life as a farmer, and has followed his calling ever since. He served in the late war as a member of Company G, Third Indiana Cavalry, entering the service in 1861 as second lieutenant. He afterward resigned, and a little later enlisted in the Fifth Indiana Cavalry, with which he shared the fortunes and vicissitudes of war for a period of three years, holding a second lieutenant’s commission during that time. Upon one occasion he was tendered the commission of major by Gov. Morton, but refused to accept it. While operating in Kentucky he was captured by Morgan’s Cavalry, and for twenty-two months experienced all the rigorous treatment and privations incident to rebel prisons, having been for some time confined in the celebrated Libby prison pen at Richmond, Va. Among the battles in which he bore a gallant part, were: Shiloh, Franklin, Greenbriar and a number of others, besides numerous lesser engagements and skirmishes. He was honorably discharged from the service at Pulaski, Tenn., June 28, 1865, and immediately thereafter returned to Johnson County, where he has since resided. Mrs. Kephart died on the 16th day of June, 1867. On the 18th day of December; that year, Mr. Kephart’s second marriage was solemnized with Mrs. Elizabeth Lang, widow of the late William Lang. To this marriage have been born three children: Elsie, Andrew and Rebecca M. By her previous marriage Mrs. Kephart had these children: Sarah F., Mary A. and William R. Lang. Mr. Kephart is a member of the I. O. O. F., and in religion a Baptist. Mrs. Kephart is also a member of the Baptist Church.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 708.