The McClure Family/McClures in Pennsylvania

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The first mention of the name in America is in Pennsylvania. The family is probably more numerous there today than in any any other State in the Union, while descendants are to be found in every section of the country. The earliest record is that of Robert McClure, in Dauphin County, 1722.


Four brothers settled in Currituck County, N. C., about 1740. Not finding the climate healthful, James and John emigrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Uwchlan Township, Chester County. Their deed is dated Oct. 12, 1748. Of these brothers:

A. James McClure m. Mary Lewis and left a daughter, Esther. No further record.

B. John McClure, b. 1705, m. about 1743, Jane Ahll, and died March 25, 1777. Jane, his wife, died Feb. 15, 1762. Four children:

I. Esther, b. Sept. 10, 1744, m. ——— Williams.

II. Capt. James McClure, a Revolutionary soldier with Gen. Proctor, b. Jan. 11, 1746; m. his first cousin, Esther McClure, daughter of James and Mary Lewis McClure. Four children, viz: Jape, Rachel, Mary and Silas. Silas married and left a son, James, an Elder in the Nantmeal Presbyterian Church, 1870.

III. Mary, b. Oct., 1747, d. s.

IV. Joseph, b. Oct. 27, 1749, m. Martha Thompson, of Uwchlan Township; died Oct. 15, 1827. Martha, his wife, died Nov. 23, 1829, aged seventy-three years. Eight children, viz: Jane, Elizabeth, James, Joseph, Martha, John, Rachel and Mary. Of these,

3. James, lived near Landisburg, Perry County. One of the first Elders in the Landisburg Presbyterian Church, 1823. Died after 1852. He m. Hannah McKay. Son,

(1). William McKay McClure, one of the first Elders in the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, Perry County, 1834. Two sons.
a. William R. McClure, m. Ida Coulon. Died 1899.
b. Charles V. McClure, dealer in Real Estate, Greene, Iowa, and to whom I am indebted for the information of this branch of the family. He was born August 24, 1845. Soldier in the War between the States; private Co. H, 49th Penn. Vol. Infantry, 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac.
Two sons—
(a). Charles A. McClure, was private in the 49th Iowa Vol. Infantry, Spanish-American War. Promoted by President McKinley to 2nd Lieutenant in the regular Army. Resigned on close of hostilities in the Philippines.
(b). James Barrett McClure was floor clerk (1912) of the United States Senate

4. Joseph, was ordained an Elder in the Brandywine Manor Church, 1830.

6. John McClure, b. in Chester County July 26, 1791; m., first, Feb. 6, 1816, Elizabeth Mackelduff, of Honeybrook. She died August 22, 1822. Two sons.

(1). Dr. Joseph M. McClure, ordained an Elder in the Nantmeal Presbyterian Church, Chester County, 1870. He died some years ago, leaving a widow and two daughters, viz: Margaret, living at Lyndell, Chester County, and Mrs. Wm. Pemrock, Atlantic City, N. J.
(2). James McClure.

He married, second, January 13, 1824, Elizabeth Mackelduff, a first cousin of his first wife. Three children.

(3). Elizabeth, m. Robert Neely.
(4). John, who married and left a daughter, Mrs. Adda B. McSparran, Peter's Creek, Lancaster County.
(5). Samuel M., d. s.

He died Feb. 9, 1873. Elizabeth, his wife, died Dec. 15, 1867, aged seventy-three years. The address of Rev. A. Nelson Hollifield on the occasion of his death, delivered at the Fairview Presbyterian Church, Wallace, Chester Co., Feb. 13, 1873, is preserved in book form. The following is from this address:

"The McClure family, ever since its settlement in the American colonies, has been highly respectable. John, (the grandfather of the deceased) and all of his family, were persons of superior intelligence. They were well-to do in wordly possessions, industrious, honest and economical. During the period that preceded and succeeded The Declaration of Independence, they were warm and active partisans of the American cause. From conviction, they were Federalists, and espoused the principles of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, as opposed to those of Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and James Madison, Strange to say, with but two exception, all of the decendants have adhered to the political faith of their forefarthers, being, to-day, republicans. Two of the family, (at least) rendered efficient service in the revolutionary war, James and Benjamin, the eldest and youngest sons of John. The former was commissioned a Captain of Infantry. He was captured by the British near the close of hostilities, and imprisioned at Long Island, from whence he succeeded in effecting his escape, and returned to his father's home. The war terminating shortly afterwards he did not return to his post in the army. Turning from the scenes of war, we come down to more peaceful times. In the year 1812, a poor woman died, leaving two children only a few days old. A neighboring farmer, of means and respectability attended the funeral. He there saw the helpless orphan boys. Who was to care for them? Their father was not in circumstances to permit him to employ a nurse. As the neighbor observed these things, his heart was touched with sympathy. But he did not stop with that. When the funeral was over, he returned to the tenant house where the children were, and having obtained the grateful consent of their father, took them up, one on each arm, and carried them one mile to his home, and presented them to his astonished wife to care for. That man was Joseph McClure, the father of the deceased. When they became older, he sent one of them to reside with the deceased. These boys are now old men. One resides in this township, an honest, sober and industrious citizen. The other lives in the west, a Methodist Minister. According to the records of the Brandywine Manor Church Session, Joseph McClure was an elder there in 1814, but for how long a time preceding that date we are unable to say, as the minute of 1814 is the oldest we could find. December the 9th, 1825, the following minute appears upon the Sessional Records of Brandywine Manor Church: 'Session regret to learn that Joseph McClure, an aged member of Session, being lately stricken with palsy, we cannot expect from him his usual service.' This family has furnished the church with several elders. As we have seen, Joseph, (the father of the deceased) was an elder in 1814. Two of his sons, Joseph and the deceased, were ordained ruling elders, and installed over the congregation about the year 1830, they, together with a number of persons, founded this, the West Nantmeal Presbyterian Church. The deceased was installed a ruling elder here in 1840. Joseph M. McClure, M. D., (son of the deceased) and Jas. McClure, (grandson of James and Esther McChire) were ordained as ruling elders, and installed over this congregation in 1870. In 1872, Joseph M. McClure, M. D., was elected by the Presbytery of Chester a Commissioner to the General Assembly, and was present in that body at Detroit, Michigan. The deceased was one of the most efficient ruiling elders of the two churches with which he was connected. In his younger days he was a very excellent reader, and it frequently happened that, in absence of the pastor, he was called upon to read a printed sermon, which service he invariably performed with great acceptance to the people. He was always in his accustomed seat in church, until the infirmities of age compelled him to have some consideration for the weather. One of his former pastors, Rev. D. C. Meeker, says on this point, in a recent letter: 'He was exemplary, and often self-denying in his attendance upon the services of the sanctuary,'

Another preacher, the Rev. B. B. Hotchkin, D. D.: 'He was devoutly solicitous for the prosperity of the church; free-hearted in service as a member of its Session and Fiscal Board; cordial towards his associates in office, studious of things that make for peace; ever ready to bear his part in its social devotions; lending to the pastor the support of his influence; and as watchful for it as a father for a child. You knew him only when these qualities began to feel the impairing effect of advancing age; I knew him when they were in their vigor.'

No man ever thought more of his church. He was consecrated to its service in youth, and life's setting sun found the veteran of four-score years at the post of duty and of honor. Not only as a ruling elder did he serve the church of his fathers, but rendered efficient service as a trustee for near a half a century. When the first church was built here, he and his brother Joseph subscribed one-fourth of the whole amount required to complete the structure, and when we began to agitate the subject of building this new church edifice, he was the first one to subscribe. He headed the list with one thousand dollars. Subsequently he largely increased that sum. The deceased was a man likely to be misunderstood by strangers. They might consider him harsh, haughty, overbearing. But such was far from the truth. Whatever his naturally reserved manner might indicate, he had a sympathizing heart, was of a very benevolent disposition, and exceedingly kind and friendly. In the social relations of life, he endeared himself by his constancy and affection. He was given to hospitality. His house has long been the minister's home, and nowhere were they more warmly welcomed or generously treated. The deceased was a great reader, but wasted no time on literature of a light character. His Bible, Burden's Village Sermons; The Grace of Christ, by Dr. Plumer, and Religious Experience, by Dr. A. Alexander, (together with the Presbyterian and Evangelist) completed his reading library. Although he possessed many other valuable works, these were his favorities. Thus he spent the close of his long life, reading religious books and good papers. He could repeat the Shorter Catechism to his dying day, asking and answering the questions himself. By industry he amassed a large property. But that he was rich in faith and good works is more worthy of record. The aroma of the good name he has left behind him is a more inestimable heritage than the fortunes of the Rothschilds, or the wealth of the Astors; a name honorably associated with the Covenanters of Scotland, the battle for priceless freedom on these western shores, and the establishment of the early Presbyterian Church in America."

V. Elizabeth, b. Oct. 20, 1751, d. s.

VI. Rachel, b. March 20, 1754; m. John Neal, of Slate Ridge, Lancaster County. Five children.

VII. Jane, b. January, 1757, m. John Wallace, of Honeybrook, Chester County. Son and five daughters.

VIII. Benjamin, b. Sept. 9, 1759, d. 1821. Lieut. to Capt. George Crawford, Col. James Dunlop, Revolutionary War. He m, Agnes Wallace, of Chester County. Eight children, viz: Robert, Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, John, William, Esther and James. Mary m. Rev. Wm. Kennedy, Daughter Mary Jane m. Crawford Hindman.

It will be observed that the names of this family are similar to those of a family in Augusta County, viz. John McClure, of Chester Co. Pa., (1705-1777), eight children: Esther, James, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Rachel, Jane and Banjamin.

John McClure, of Augusta County, Va. (1717-1797), eleven children: Anne, Esther, James, Jane, Elizabeth, Martha, Mary, John, Margaret, Andrew and Eleanor.


The best authority on this and all the Pennsylvania famlies is Mr. C. P. McClure, of Bunola, Pa. He has compiled a Family History. It is to be regretted that it has not appeared in print, as it doubtless contains much information of general interest. Associated with him in his undertaking is Mr. Roy Fleming McClure, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Mr. J. H. McClure, of Elizabeth, Pa.

John McClure, b. in Scotland 1696, came to Pennsylvania from the North of Ireland 1715; m., 1730, Janet McKnight, sister of John McKnight, Esq., the well known Justice of Cumberland County, Pa. Settled in Cumberland County about 1732, where he died 1757. Eight children, viz:

John. Andrew, who is supposed to have married Jean, a first cousin, daughter of Abdiel McClure, b. in Glasgow, 1702; son Abdiel, born in Carlisle 1750, ancestor of Rev. James T. McClure, pastor of the First U. P. Church, Wheeling, W. Va., for forty-nine years.

Charles, Richard, Margaret, Jean, Eunice and Catherine. The above may be the Margaret McClure of Big Spring Presbyterian Church, Cumberland County, who signed, 1786, the call for Rev. Samuel Wilson.

The Richmond, Va., Standard, vol. III, p. 7, gives the following:

Margaret McClure, m., April 4, 1776, John Parker, of Cumberland County, b. 1740.

Chas. McClure, b. Carlisle, Pa., 1739, m., first, Emelia who died Feb. 1, 1793, aged 28 years. Two children:

1. John McClure, m. Jane Blair and left four children, viz: Catherine, Aurelia, Mary, and John, who d. s.
2. Mary McClure, who m. Joseph Knox.

He m., second, Mrs. Rebecca Parker, widow of Maj. Alexander Parker. She died at Carlisle April 13, 1826, aged sixty-three years. Four children.

3. Charlotte.
4. Charles, married Margaretta Gibson. Son, Major Charles McClure of the U. S. army. Sons, George and William McClure.
5. Judge Wm. B. McClure, Pittsburg, Pa.
6. Rebecca, m. Rev. F. T. Brown.

Miss Emma McClure, of Elk Lick, Somerset County, belongs to this line.

John McClure, with Andrew Blair and others, was ordained an Elder in the Second Presbyterian Church, Carlisle, 1833; had been an Elder in the First Church.

Joseph McClure, from Carlisle, 1767. Signed the call to Rev. John Steel.

James McClure, who settled, 1780 in Newport, Ky., is supposed to belong to the Cumberland family. Died in Newport, 1830.

He m. Jane Miles, who was drowned at Vevay, Ind., March 8, 1818. Six children:

1. Sarah, m. David Perry; Died about 1815.

2. John, m. Hester Lloyd of Pennsylvania; died of yellow fever at Baton Rouge, La., 1826. Three children, viz: Eliza, James W. and Julia.
3. James H., b. Nov. 13, 1800, m. Mary Lewis; d. in Texas. No chilnren.
4. Eliza, twin, b. Nov. 13, 1800; d. May 24, 1868; m. Capt. Samuel Perry. Six children.
5. David, drowned at Vevay, Ind, March 8, 1818.
6. Frances S. O., b. June 28, 1803, d. Feb. 4. 1890; m., Sept. 11, 1821, Capt. Samuel Carter, Their youngest daughter, Jane, b. Dec. 20, 1833; m. James B. Stillwell; lived it Seattle, Wash.

Miss Mary E. Applegate, of Chicago, belongs to this line.

Two nephews of James McClure of Newport, from Pittsburg, but of the Cumberland family, emigrated to Illinois about 1845.

"Col. John B. McClure, of Peoria, with his brothers, Robert and Samuel, were from Shippensburg, Cumberland County. He married a lady from Wisconsin. Daughter Mary living 1868. Robert lived in Olney, Ill. Physician. Samuel d, in Pennsylvania."

Col. John D. McClure, of Peoria, was born in Franklin County, Pa., 1835, settled in Peoria, 1849, and died there March 3, 1911.

Judge David McClure, b. in Ireland 1726, lived in Cumberland County, Pa.; died in Sherman's Valley, Pa., 1796. Married Jane McCormick. Son, William McClure, b. about 1760, m. Jane Byers. Son, William (1797-1856), m. Margaret Beaver. Daughter, Emily C. McClure, m. William Warmington.

McClure, a village in Snyder County, probably got its name from the Cumberland family. There are several McClures living now in this section—large and prosperous farmers

Col. Alexander Kelly McClure, LL. D., is perhaps the most distinguished of the name in Pennsylvania. Member Penn. Legislature, candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia, personal friend of President Lincoln. Best known as Editor of the Philadelphia Times.

He was born in Sherman's Valley, Perry County, Pa., January 9, 1828, and spent his early years on his father's farm. With his older brother he divided his time week about at a country school. In 1846 he made his first visit to Philadelphia in order to get work as a journeyman tanner. He found no work there and tramped to New York, where his luck was no better. He worked his way west until he found himself in Iowa, but still his ill fortune in the tanning trade stuck to him. He then journeyed back east and that fall, in spite of advice to the contrary, went into the printing business, starting with the Sentinel, the Mifflin local paper.

At his suggestion an outline history of his family was prepared by Rev. G. O. Seilhamer, Chambersburg, Pa. Col. McClure's sudden death prevented its being published, which is to be regretted, as it doubtless contains much of interest to the family in general.


William McClure, a Covenanter of Dumfries, Scotland, was with his family driven by persecution from his home and country and settled in Ireland. His youngest son, James, emigrated to America, settled, first, in Lancaster County, Pa.; removed in 1772 to Bloomsburg on the Susquehanna, where he built the well known Fort McClure. Revolutionary soldier.

He had five children: Margaret, Josiah, John, Priscilla and James. Margaret, the oldest daughter, m., Dec. 10, 1783, Maj. Moses Van Campen of New York, and died at Dansville, New York, March, 1845. Col. James McClure, the youngest child, was born in 1774, m. in 1796, and died at the old homestead, October 4, 1850. His children were Margaret, James, Mary, Samuel, Eleanor, Josiah, Charles, Priscilla, Benjamin and Alfred. The Rev. Alfred James Pollock McClure, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, now living in Philadelphia, belongs to this family.

He and his daughter, Miss Abby McClure, have put into permanent form the record of their branch of the family.

See Penn. Magazine of Biography, vol. XXXI, pp. 504-506 (1907).


Miss Martha McClure, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, is an authority on this branch of the family.

Richard McClure, from the north of Ireland, settled about 1725 in Paxtang township, then Lancaster, now York county. Four sons born in Ireland.

A Thomas, d. in Paxtang, 1765. Wife, Mary, d. in Hanover April, 1775. Six children, viz., John, wife Mary; mar. 1775, lived in Mt. Pleasant township; William; Mary, m. Joseph Sherer; Martha, m. Andrew Wilson; Jean, James Burney; Thomas, m. Mary Harvey.

B. Charles, wife Eleanor. He died prior to 1761. Nine children, viz: Arthur, Rebecca, Jennett, William, John, Martha, Eleanor, Charles, Margaret.

C. John, wife Mary. Died in Hanover 1762. Four children, viz: James, William, Jane, who m. Wm. Waugh, Ann. Of these, James was b. 1733, m. Mary Espy and d. at Hanover Nov. 14, 1805. Nine children, viz: James, d. s. Sept., 1815. Martha, m. a Wilson; three children. William, son James. Frances. Isabel, m. Jos. Catheart. John. Mary, m. Snodgrass. Andrew, m. and em. to Ohio. Six children, viz: John, Hugh, Scott, Andrew W., Ann and Bell. The fourth son. Dr. Andrew W. McClure em. to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, 1856. Mar. Emily Conaway Porter, a dau. Martha McClure.

D. Richard, eight children, viz: Alexander. William, m. Margaret Wright. Jonathan, m. Sarah Hays. Andrew, w., Margaret. Poan, wife Hannah, d. in Northumberland County, Oct. 8, 1833. Margaret, m. Sept. 7, 1757, John Steel. David, m. Margaret Lecky. Katherine, m. Robt. Fruit.


Samuel McClure, b. in Belfast, Ireland, 1736, d. in Phila. 1790. Revolutionary Soldier. Mar. Jenet Graham. Son,

I. David McClure; m. Ann Russell. Son,

1. Dr. David McClure, m. Eliza Shute Stewart.
(1). Dau. Elise, b. in Phila., m. Henry Payson Gregory; parents of Elise Gregory, b. Oakland, Cal., m. Lloyd Bowman. A number of the name are now living in and near Phila.

Rev. Robert E. McClure, D. D., of Blairsville, Pa., gave us the following information:

His great grandfather, with three brothers, came to Phila. from the north of Ireland.

One of them left. four sons, viz: Andrew. John, who died in West Middletown, Pa., and whose children all died single. Richard. Dr. Robert McClure, b. in Phila. and died in Washington County, Pa. Left a son, Robert Brown McClure, the builder of the first threshing machine in the United States, He m. Letitia Templeton and left nine children, viz: Aaron T. McClure, living in Washington County, Pa.; Rev. Wm. S. McClure, D. D., pastor Second U. P. church, Xenia, Ohio. Dr. James A. McClure, Columbus, Ohio; Mrs. Emma K. MacDill, Middletown, Ohio; Mrs. Alice E. Snodgrass, Pittsburg, Pa.; Miss Etta M. McClure, teacher, Pittsburg, Pa.; Miss Anna L. McClure, West Middletown, Pa.; Mrs. Jas. E. Ralston, West Middletown, Pa.; Rev. Robert E. McClure, D. D., pastor U. P. church, Blairsville, Pa.

The following appeared in the New York Times, Dec. 21, 1913:

A Bible carried under his left arm saved the life of the Rev. Dr. R. E. McClure, pastor of the United Presbyterian Church here and President of the Indiana County Anti-Saloon League, last night, when an assassin's bullet struck the Bible, perforating it and Dr. McClure's clothing.

On his way home from a sick call Dr. McClure was passing two men in a shadowed spot in Stuart street, when he heard a whistle. At the signal one of the men leveled a revolver at the minister and fired. The bullet went wild. A second bullet passed through the Bible and touched Dr. McClure's skin, but did not break it. Unhurt, the clergyman picked up a brick and threw at the men, who fled. One of the men lost his hat, which the minister turned over to the police.

Dr. McClure has been unrelenting in his prosecution of liquor law violators, and to this is attributed the attempt to murder him. He is a Trustee of Westminster College and one of the best known temperance workers in the State.

Robert McClure, a Revolutionary soldier, lived in Williamsport, Pa. He m. Mary Hepburn. Two children, viz: 1. Hepburn McClure, m. Martha Biles Anthony, d. Annie Rachel. 2. William McClure, m. Hannah Smith; son Edwin Parson McClure, m. Elvira Grier, dau. Margaret, b. in Rushville, Pa.

John McClure, who died in Morgantown, W. Va., 1874, doubtless belongs to the Pennsylvania family. He m. 1835, Martha Steele (1809-1910), b. in Greene County, Pa., dau. of John Steele, b. in Augusta County, Va., 1769. Three children, among them, Olivier McClure, of Morgantown, W. Va.

William McClure; who was president of the corporation of Dayton, Ohio, 1808. He was a Trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, Ohio, organized 1801.

Miss Jean Wilkinson, Pueblo, Col., writes that she is a descendant of William McClure, who died in Tuscarora Valley, Pa. He had a son Willian, father of Harvey, father of Eleanor, mother of Miss Jean Wilkinson. William Sr. and Jr., were Revolutionary soldiers. She says, "Mollie McClure, the heroine of the Cherokee massacre, was of our family." See p. 156.

The Pennsylvania State Library gives records of the following Revolutionary soldiers, viz: Alexander, Andrew, Francis, George, James, John, Martin and Patrick McClure. Several of these are doubtless the same that appear in the Virginia records.