After serving in World World War II and working for his family he later returned to his studies and earned his Doctor of Philosophy in history from University of California, Los Angeles in 1950.
From 1951 to 1954, he served as Civilian Military Historian in the Office of the Chief of Military History in Washington District of Columbia In 1954 Mahon accepted a teaching position in the history department at the University of Florida. His interest in Military history and the Seminoles led to his three books, as well as numerous articles for encyclopedias and historical journals. His work "History of the Second Seminole War" is considered by some as the authoritative modern reference on the little-known but regional and nationally important last great war of Indian Removal east of the Mississippi.
Mahon documents the American, Seminole and Black cultures, leaders, and tactics of the war.
He served as the chairman of the History Department at the University of Florida from 1965 to 1973. After retiring in 1982, Mahon continued to pursue his interest in history.
He also held leadership positions in the local Sierra Club, the Florida Historical Society, and the Seminole Wars Historic Foundation.
(By the third decade of the 19th century the growing Ameri...)
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Member Florida Antiquities Committee, 1966. Trustee American Military Institute, 1980-1984. Served to captain, Field Artillery Army of the United States, 1942-1946.
Member American Military Institute (trustee, board editors), American, Southern history associations, Organization American Historians, American Association of University Professors, Florida History Society (board editors, director 1973-1984, president 1980-1982), Phi Alpha Theta.
Married Enid Pasek, February 28, 1948. 1 son, John Keith III.