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John M. Keagy, M. D.

Keagy, John M., M. D.1 the distinguished educator, was born in in Martic Township about the year 1795, of German descent, on the paternal and maternal aide, the name of his mother's family being Litzenberg. He died in Philadelphia, in the winter of 1836-7, and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery. In 1819 he published a series of articles in the Baltimore Chronicle, which he reprinted at Harrisburg in 1824, in an octavo pamphlet of 38 pages. In 1827 he published his Peatallozzian Primer, at Harrisburg, a book made up largely of the more modern object lessons, but under the name of "Thinking Lessons, and Lessons in Generalization." As soon as the child knows a vowel and a consonant, he is taught to spell and read the syllables which they form. In the Introduction, the author advocates the teaching of a child to read words "as if they were Chinese symbols," and without a previous knowledge of the letters, a practicable mode which avoids the absurdity of telling a child that see-a-tea (which should spell sate) spells cat!

In 1827, Dr. Keagy opened a Classical Academy in Harrisburg, where new studies and modes of instruction were introduced, such as the Natural Sciences taught orally in an excellent conversational style, for there were no proper books at that period. Be-sides being a classical scholar, the Doctor knew Hebrew, German, and French; he knew the principles of mechanics, and insisted that steam boilers should have more fire surface. Had he been brought up as a machinist, he would have invented tubular boilers, having constructed a copper model composed partly of tubes.

After some years of instructing at Harrisburg, the Doctor went to Philadelphia to take charge of the Friends' High School, and whilst there he was elected Classical Professor at Dickinson College, but did not live to act. Doctor Keagy was deeply and practically religious-a Methodist, but entirely free from the demonstrative and noisy characteristics of his denomination at that day. He had charitable feelings toward other denominations, and several times went with a few of his boarding pupils to the Catholic church, where he conformed to ' the acts of the congregation, and taught his pupils that politeness required such conformity when visiting the churches of various denominations. (By Prof. S. S. Haldeman.)


1 The first syllable rhymes with plague.

Source: An authentic history of Lancaster County, in the state of Pennsylvania; Lancaster, Pa.: J.E. Barr, 1869, 813 pgs.

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