Polk County, Florida


1790 - 1875

Silas McClelland was born about 1790, but nothing is known about his early life and parentage. Also where he was born in unknown as the 1850 census shows South Carolina, the 1860 census North Carolina and the 1870 census Georgia. In Bulloch County, Georgia on October 29, 1818 Silas McClelland and Penelope Anderson were married. She was the daughter of Revolutionary soldier Joseph and Sarah Anderson. To them were born the following children (birth dates approximated:

1. John L. McClelland, born 1820; died 1872; married Mrs. Winnie Tanner on April 20, 1845.

2. Moses Andrew McClelland, born 1821; died August 3, 1896; married at Cork, Hillsborough County, Florida, Sarah Platt (daughter of Peter Platt) on August 27, 1847.

3. Gabriel J. McClelland, born 1826; died July 8, 1857; married Lydia Ann Smith, daughter of George W. Smith, on March 17, 1853.

4. Sarah Ann McClelland, born 1828; married William Hancock, September 9, 1854.

5. Dori Ann McClelland, born 1830; died 1890; married December 7, 1854 in Hillsborough County, Berrien (Berian) Platt, son of Peter Platt.

6. William A. McClelland, born 1831; died August 16, 1900; married Sabra Ann Lunn, March 27, 1870.

7. Silas L. McClelland, born 1834; died April 20, 1862 in C. S. A., Fort Lee, Florida; married Susan Wingate, June 24, 1861.

8. Jesse McClelland, born 1836; died November 27, 1912; married February 2, 1860 Susan Godwin, daughter of Solomon and Mariah (Tyner) Godwin.

9. Maxfield McClelland, born 1838; died September 6, 1909; married Mary I. Crews, March 18, 1861.

10. Julia J. McClelland, born 1840; died 1875; married Alfred W. Lunn September 8, 1870 in Polk County.

11. Joseph McClelland, born 1842.

Jesse McClelland in application as administrator of Silas McClelland's estate, Polk County, Florida, October 6, 1905 lists in addition to heirs listed above, George and James McClelland as heirs as legal representatives. No additional information has been found on these last two heirs. Maxfield McClelland in application as administrator of Penelope McClelland's estate, Polk County, April 7, 1884, lists John, G. J. and Silas L. McClelland and Julia J. Lunn as deceased heirs with issue and Moses A., William A., Jesse and Maxfield McClelland and Doriann Platt as living heirs of Penelope McClelland. He did not list Sarah Ann, George, James or Joseph McClelland as heirs.

Silas and Penelope McClelland on July 9, 1819 were residing in Captain Jesse Durrence's district in Tattnall County where they claimed a right to two draws in a land lottery (remarks after entry, "wife and no child"). A warrent was issued October 2, 1820 to them for a tract of land (33 acres) which was surveyed October 4, 1820 on the waters of the Ohouppee River.

About 1821 the family removed to Telfair County, Georgia (Moses Andrew was born in that county in 1821) and thence to Irwin County, Georgia, prior to 1830, as 1830 shows them living in Irwin. A few monts after Dorminy's Meeting House (later named Bushy Creek Primitive Baptist Church and the second oldest church in Irwin County) was constituted, December 17, 1831, they joined by letters. Silas joined on June 15, 1832 and Penelope on July 14, 1832. Both were dismissed by letters on February 17, 1833. Then the family removed to Thomas County, Georgia, where Penelope's parents were living, and thence to Hamilton County, Florida about 1836 and where they were listed in 1840 census.

Again they transferred their Church membership by letter, joining February 22, 1840, Prospect Primitive Baptist Church shortly after it was constituted on September 27, 1839 aat Jasper in the Territory of Florida. According to an abstract of the Church records, December 25, 1841 "Silas McClenan (McClelland) made application for letters of dismission - - in consequence of a false oath which McLenon (McClelland) made before a committee while in the service of the United States respecting a horse which he said died. Case laid over." The record of January 22, 1842 reads: "Silas McLenon (McClelland) failed to attend and give any satisfaction and made it appear to the Church that he was quilty of making a false oath and was excummunicated." There is no record of dismissal of Penelope. According to tradition a group of pioneers followed the frontier as the Indians were driven farther south. In line with this tradition Silas McClelland and family and a group of other pioneers moved about 1846 to Ichipucksassa settlement in Hillsborough County, Florida. He and family were listed as living in this area in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. After moving to this settlement a group of pioneers established Salem Baptist Church on October 15, 1850 and shortly thereafter, on December 18, 1850, the Church record show: "....Penelopy (Penelope) McCleland who was received in ful fellowship with us who was formerly a baptist...". The records kept in an old ledger book are in poor condition and it could not be found where Silas joined this Church; however, in the back of the book the Church Clerk kept his personal records as "List of Horse Swaps", and recorded that he made several swaps with Si and Silas McCleland.

When Polk County was created from Brevard and Hillsborough Counties on March 2, 1861, Silas McClelland was cut out of Hillsborough in a community called Medulla, south of present day Lakeland. The first Polk County officials were elected on April 13, 1861 and Silas McClelland was the sucessful canidate for Coronor over two opponents, J. D. Smith and James Whidden.

Silas McClelland had a long and varied career of military service. First he was mustered in as a private on January 10, 1814 in Captain John P. Blackmon's Company, Tenth Battalion (Tattnall County), Second Brigade (General Samuel Byne) First Division, Georgia Militia, War of 1812. His unit was stationed at Fort James, Milligan's Bluff on Altamatha River two miles north of mouth of Brard's Creek for protection of the frontier against Indian attack. He was mustered out March 10, 1814.

Later in the Second Seminole Indian War he enlisted as a private at Columbia County, June 22, 1836, in Captain William B. North's Company, First Regiment (Warren's) Florida Mounted Militia. The name of the unit was later changed to Columbia Rangers and he was discharged July 11, 1838. On his application for bounty land he claims to have served until 1842. Copies of military records so far received from the National Archives do not validate the date of 1842. On November 11, 1851, he received a bounty land warrant number 21204 for 80 acres for this service. When the Seminole disturbance of 1849 began, Silas enlisted as a corporal July 25, 1849 and served in Captain S. L. Sparkman's Company of Florida Volunteers until discharged October 23, 1849. He received a warrant number 113743 as a result of this service for 160 acres December 12, 1874.

In the third Seminole Indian War, he enllisted as a private on December 29, 1855 in Captain F. M. Durrance's Company of Mounted Volunteers at Fort Meade, Florida, and reenlisted two more time and served until December 1857. He was appointed First Corporal April 27, 1857. Four of his sons - - Jesse, Maxfield, Moses A. and William, and a son-in-law, Berrien Platt, all served in this war. He was too old for service in the Civil War; however, three of his sons - - William, Maxfield and Silas L. who died in service, all served. Also Berrien Platt, a son-in-law, and two grandsons, William and John L. McClelland were in the Civil War.

Silas was a skilled chair maker, using a lathe which he operated by treadles to shape the wooden parts out of seasoned hickory with cowhide seats. These chairs were suitable for pioneer living as his chairs were strong and durable, and age made them collector's items. He would take his lathe to the homes he served and stay with families while filling orders. This custom suited another of "Si Mack's" (as he was called) talents, that of entertaining the children with his repertory of tales for which he became well known. His impossible stories earned him the reputation which he was described as a Baron Munchausen story teller of his day. A collection of these stories was made by the late Judge Kelsey Blanton. Silas died August 1, 1875 and was buried in a cemetery near his home which was about one mile north of Medulla.

After his death Penelope lived in the household of son-in-law and youngest daughter, Alfrew W. and Julia (McClelland) Lunn, south of Lakeland and she is listed in the 1880 census. She died about 1883 and is probably buried near Silas. After her death, Maxfield McClelland qualified as administrator of her estate and he sued Alfred W. Lunn in Polk County Circuit Court April 7, 1884 Charging that Lunn ". . . unlawfully assumed to dispose of her property. . . " Lunn asked for an amount of $898.00 to cover cost of boarding and nursing her for six years and eight months, and for looking after her herd of cattle. The court awarded Lunn $284.31 for judgement and costs.

SOURCES: Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia by Folks Huxford, Vol. IV, pg. 372, 1960; Application for Letters of Administration, Polk County, Florida, pg. 108; Polk County Probate Court Records; Tattnall County Mixed Records of Inferior and Superior Courts, 1807-1845, Probate Judge's Office, Reidsville, Georgia; Tattnall County Land Grants, 1802-1837, Reidsville, Georgia; History of Irwin County, J. B. Clements, 1932, pp 461 & 466; E. L. (Boe) and Carolynn Williams "Abstract of Records of Prospect Primitive Baptist Church, Hamilton County, Florida"; Huxford Genealogical Society, Inc. Magazine, Volume V, No. 2, (June 1978) pp 906 & 909; Salem Baptist Church minutes at Polk County HIstory Library, Bartow, Florida; the Florida Penisular, Tampa, Florida, April 20, 1861; Georgia Genealogical Magazine; Bounty Land Application, National Archives, Washington, D. C.; Soldiers of Florida, 1903, pp. 14, 15 & 313; other military records in National Archives & Archives of Florida; "Florida Pioneers" by D. B. McKay in Tampa Tribune, August 28, 1855; Ledger A - Probate of Accounts, Polk County, Florida, p. 363.


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