JOHN MCENERY was born in Petersburg, Virginia on March 31, 1833. He was educated at Hanover College in Indiana, and at Tulane University, from which he earned a law degree. During the Civil War, he served as captain of Company B, 4th Battalion of the Louisiana Infantry, rising to the ranks of major and lieutenant colonel. McEnery entered public service in 1857, with an appointment as registrar of the state land office. After winning the 1872 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, McEnery ran against William P. Kellogg in the general election. The State Returning Board, which validated and approved all election returns, declared McEnery governor. However, an opposing board was formed that proclaimed Kellogg the winner. Both candidates acknowledged victory, and were sworn into office on January 14, 1873 by two separate legislatures. After armed disturbances erupted, President Grant intervened. On September 20, 1873, he declared Kellogg the legal governor. After McEnery left the office, he retired from politics, and returned to his New Orleans law practice. Governor John McEnery died on March 28, 1891, and was buried at the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.