James Mackey Sr. (1829-1913)
Famed Civil Engineer and Surveyor.

In 1865, at the age of 36, Engineer James Mackey was hired by the Trustees of the Poland Cemetery Association to establish the boundary lines of the proposed 3.3 acre cemetery to be situated on the east side of Yellow Creek in the Village of Poland. Mr. Mackey’s professional reputation was highly regarded in the community by then. He surveyed the property, designed the roadways, and drew a map of the new cemetery. A copy of his work is on file at the Mahoning County Courthouse. The final results indicate the skill with which he carried out his assignment. Today the corner stones set in the ground at each grave site are a testimony to the precision of Mr. Mackey’s surveying.
Mr. James Mackey was born on February 7, 1829 of Scottish lineage, a son of Major James and Margaret (Early) Mackey, and the fourth of a family of eight children. His parents were early pioneer settlers of Mahoning County and his father was one of the first merchants of Youngstown. Young Mackey received common school and academic training in Youngstown and later became a student at Poland Academy.
While attending the Academy in Poland, he learned surveying and paid his tuition and board to Cleveland University with money received as a surveyor. During the sixteen years after graduation from engineering school Mr. Mackey established a reputation for his accurate work in surveying underground coal mines. In 1875 he began to give his attention to surveying of town sites and resurveying boundary lines of disputed territory. In 1878 he was invited to become a member of a commission made up of five engineers and surveyors from Ohio and Pennsylvania instructed to establish for all time the boundary line between these two states.
The Mackey brothers, James, David and Robert, organized the first street railway of Youngstown, which was built in 1875. This horse drawn line was operated until the electric car was adopted. James Mackey served seven years as president of this enterprise. He was also one of the original board members of Rayen School of Engineering and served continually for twenty years.
Mr. Mackey was a philanthropist who gave liberally of his means to aid mankind. He was interested in children and donated a large tract of land on Delaware Avenue in Brier Hill for a playground.
On October 30, 1862 Mr. Mackey married Miss Mary H. Ruggles of Canfield. Five children were born to the couple. One son named Charles became a civil engineer and assisted his father in the office. Charles drew the present map used by the Oak Hill Cemetery located on the south side of Youngstown.
Mr. James Mackey died on January 27, 1913 at the age of 83. He and his family are buried in Lot 59 situated in the northeast corner of the Oak Hill Cemetery. His obituary and the above photograph were found in The Vindicator.