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John A. Keliher


John A. Keliher

John Austin Keliher
John A. Keliher circa 1908[1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1911
Preceded by Joseph A. Conry
Succeeded by William Francis Murray
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives[1]
Member of the Massachusetts Senate[1]
In office
Sheriff of Suffolk County, Massachusetts[2]
In office
May 3, 1917 – September 21, 1938
Preceded by John Quinn
Succeeded by John F. Dowd
Delegate to the 1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention[3]
In office
June 6, 1917[3] – August 13, 1919[4]
Personal details
Born Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Profession Real Estate

John Austin Keliher (November 6, 1866 – September 21, 1938) was a U.S. Democratic politician.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts and served from March 4, 1903 to March 3, 1911. Congressman Keliher was the uncle of Brigadier-General John J. Keliher and Rear Admiral Thomas Joseph Keliher.

Defeats in the 1910 Congressional Election

In 1910 Keliher lost his bid for reelection, first losing in the Democratic primary,[5] and in the general election as an independent candidate,[6] losing both times to William F. Murray.[7]

Sheriff of Suffolk County

On April 11, 1917 The incumbent Sheriff of Suffolk County, "Honest John" Quinn, died from diabetes.[8] On April 18, 1917 Governor McCall submitted Keliher's name to the Executive Council to fill the vacancy.[9] Keliher's appointment was approved by the Executive Council and he was sworn into office on May 3, 1917.[10] On November 6, 1917[11] Keliher was elected in his own right and re-elected in every election until 1938.[2]

1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention

In 1916 the Massachusetts legislature and electorate approved a calling of a Constitutional Convention.[12] In May 1917 Keliher was elected to serve as a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1917, representing Massachusetts' 11th Congressional District.

Electoral defeat and death

In September 1938 Keliher ran in the primary for renomination as the Sheriff of Suffolk County, after the returns showed that he was losing the election he had a heart attack and died[13][14] in Boston, Massachusetts.


  • Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1919) pp. 7–8, 865, 971.
  • The Municipal Register for 1918 City of Boston (1918) p. 110.
  • Who's who in State Politics, 1908 Practical Politics (1908) p. 14.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph A. Conry
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1911
Succeeded by
William Francis Murray


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