(Feb. 9, 1843-May 29, 1914). John Lennox McMaster was born in Rutland, Ohio. He worked at his father’s mill and was educated at the village school. He joined the Union army in 1861, serving more than three years in the American Civil War. After his military service, he attended Ohio University at Athens, graduating in 1869. He completed work at the Cincinnati Law School the next year and opened a law office in Indianapolis, known as McMaster and Boice.

McMaster participated in the effort to build the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, pictured here in 1919.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

His first attempt at elective office—superior court judge—failed, but, the following year, he was elected mayor as a Republican. He, however, lost the Republican Party nomination in 1885 to Caleb S. Denny, the incumbent city attorney, and also lost for Marion County state senator in 1890.

Elected to the superior court bench in 1894, McMaster was reelected three times, serving 16 years in all until he was defeated in 1910. He was a leading member of a citizens’ group instrumental in securing the compulsory education law of 1897, and he was an active member of the Grand Army Of The Republic in the effort to build the Soldiers And Sailors Monument. McMaster was a devoted Mason as well as a member of the Columbia Club and the Marion Club. He was regarded as an able lawyer, a profession he pursued to the end of his life.

Revised March 2021

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