Jackson County, Illinois
FROM THE CASSVILLE REPUBLICAN
May 28, 1896 (Barry County, Missouri)
John A. McCluer
Donated by Jim McCleur
The subject of this sketch was born Nov. 15, 1816, near Paris, Richland Co., Ohio. His parents were of German and Irish descent. His father was born about 1790 in Rockbridge, Co., VA., his mother in Pennsylvania. His early youth was an eventful one., At that time the country was inhabited to a great extent by Indians and wild beasts such as deer, turkeys, bears, etc. Here is where he attended his first, school; here he developed a tact that afterward proved his efficiency as teacher--not particularly as a learned scholar, but as a judge of human nature, the key, as he says, to success in the school room.
About this time his father moved to near Bucyrus, Crawford Co., Ohio, when the logs still lay in the streets as they were felled by the ax. Here he learned the Indian art of dressing deer skins which at that time they were obligated to wear as shoes and clothing. He also learned art of making the old fashioned lye hominy, which was the staff of life when the water mills were not "runnin."
Here, he attended his first Sunday school and saw the first wedding. As an incident of this wedding, his, father ordered him to drive home a neighbor's cows and return if not too late. On getting there he learned that his school teacher was to be married that night and naturally concluded it was too late to return.
At the age of nine years he commenced the profession of ox driving and became an adept at the business., As an anecdote he relates this, which, happened at his father's A Mr. Carr, a neighbor, who was an eastern man, assisting on the farm and a dear lover of pig meat, doubting his ability to eat raccoon meat, saw a raccoon that his father had killed lying on the doorstep late in the evening. Another neighbor had sent a piece of fresh, pig meat, which Mr. Carr did not know of, a portion of which was cooked for breakfast. Coming in as breakfast was ready next morning, he took his seat with others. All understood the situation but himself. He asked to have a bit of the coon and the invitation accepted. He cut off a bit and began chewing. The longer he chewed the bigger it got. He arose from the table and threw it out at the door saying he could not go that. After a hearty laugh by all, he sat down and ate a hearty breakfast from the same dish.
The year he was twelve years old his father moved to near Lexington, Richland, Co., Ohio, and spent the winter, he was going to school and beginning the study of Murray's Primary Grammar, memorizing and reciting all that the teacher required and reviewing at the close. Although he was successful in his memorizing and recitations in grammar he claims he did not understand its rudiments, showing that a child can commit to memory and recite and at the same time not understand ,the study.
In his 13th year his father moved to Belleville, Ohio. His father being in poor health, the labor of the farm devolved, to a great extent on him. Although young, he was equal to the occasion., He remembers the great meteoric shower, or called that day, "falling of the stars." While they apparently fell, they vanished before reaching the earth. He was at his grandmother's when this occurred, being on a trip to the lake' to market. On returning with the ox team, dressed in an old, jeans round-a-bout, bespattered with mud, ox driver style, he saw standing in the door, Miss Clarinda Nase for the first time, who, as future events proved, became, his wife.
In the spring of 1837, his father again sold out, preparatory, to moving to Missouri. This event hastened the union with Miss Nase, which took place Oct. 22, 1337, near Gallion, Ohio, and on the 24th. day of same month they started for Missouri, Nov. 24 they stopped to winter in Perry Co., Ills. Here an event occurred which changed the program. His father being a pronounced anti-slavery man, decided not to go to Missouri as Mr. Lovejoy, a prominent anti-slavery editor, was murdered in Alton, Ills for his anti-slavery sentiments, by a mob from Missouri. In August, 1838, father moved to Jackson Co., Ills. Here, in the same month, an event occurred that changed the destinies of the whole family the death of his mother.
In the fall of 1839, his father took three of the children and went to Ohio, leaving James J. and George Y. with John A. to buffet with the hardships and privations of a frontier life without relatives or near neighbors to rely upon for any help. Here John A. cleared up a large farm and raised a family of twelve children, eleven of whom lived to be grown and married, and by his sterling qualities as a husband and neighbor formed a character which proved him to be one of the best citizens, he often being called the peacemaker.
Here, in 1841, he taught his first school, at the earnest request of his neighbors, boarding five of the scholars free in order to make up the school He taught this school in a cabin with only one small window. The seats were puncheon with wooden pins for legs. Nine of the pupils were in their A,B,C's. In those days schools were taught by subscription. The law allowed the trustees to examine the teachers. He relates this incident The trustees had met at the school house to examine the teacher, who had begun his term. On entering the house the teacher said: "Gentlemen, I am at your service." After waiting a few moments he again said: "Gentlemen, I am at your service." When one of them said: "Let us retire to that log.." After all were seated the teacher again said: "I am at your service." When one said: "Stand up," 'he did so. "Turn around." Which he did. The trustee then said: As you can outrun, out jump or whip any scholar in the district, you are therefore qualified to teach this school." He continued to teach at intervals until he thought others were better
He never took an active part in politics until the war of the rebellion he took a strong stand for the Union, enlisting in the Union Army August, 1862, in Co. D, 81 Ills. Inf. and was discharged for disability, December, 1864. He has been a member of the G.A.R. since 1883. In April, 1843, he and his wife united with the Missionary Baptist church and traveled along as church members without censure or reproof until his companion's death, June 16, 1893, she being 75 years, 6 months, and, days old. An uncommon incident is that he and his wife lived together happily for 56 years and his brother, James J. attended his wedding and also his golden wedding and they attended James' wedding and golden wedding. During this time he was engaged in Sunday school work, organizing and encouraging Sunday schools up to the time of his ordination as a minister which occurred in 1875. He served as pastor of the Pleasant Hill church in, Jackson Co., ills, until 1882, when he and his wife moved to Cherokee Co. KS. Soon after, they united with the Missionary Baptists at Center, in, that county, where he now belongs. His companion died in Barry County and, is buried at Mineral Spring, near which place he has several children. He is a man of more than ordinary strength and energy for one of his age, blessed with a numerous progeny and it is with pleasure that he recites the fact that they all respect him and are all willing and ready to do what they can to make this pathway of life as pleasant as possible for him in his declining years. He has ten children living, fifty-one grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren.
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