Lee County Biography
Elliott S. McCleary
George S. McCleary
Amboy Township


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George S. and Elliott S. McCleary are profitably engaged in business as dairymen and farmers, and each has a well-stocked and finely equipped dairy farm in Nelson Township. These gentlemen are natives of Lawrence County, Pa., the first-mentioned born Feb. ruary 15, 1848. George McCleary's farming interests are centered on section 13, where he owns one hundred and thirty-eight acres of excellent farming land, that is finely adapted to stock-raising purposes, and is one of the best dairy farms of the neighborhood. It is stocked to its fullest capacity with cattle of good breeds, and for the past two years Mr. MeCleary has kept a herd of thirty dairy cows and by his able management has made this branch of agriculture a paying business. He and his brother came to this county with their parents and other members of the family in the spring of 1865 and have since been numbered among its most desirable citizens. He spent the first eighteen months after his arrival iii Dixon Township, and since then has been a resident of Nelson Township, becoming the owner of his present farm in 1876.

The marriage of George McCleary with Miss Mary A. Alcorn was solemnized in his native county. She was also a Pennsylvanian by birth, born in Beaver County, in 1855, and was ten years old when her parents, Henry and Catherine (Baker) Alcorn, removed to Lawrence County, where they now live retired, having formerly been engaged in farming. May 29, 1889, death crossed the threshold of the home of our subject and took from him his beloved wife, who had filled in a perfect measure her position as daughter, wife and mother, and was truly a home-maker. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and her Christian spirit was evinced in her daily life. Four children were born of her marriage with our subject, all of whom arc with him and are named as follows: Edna, Iva P., Charles N. and Frances C.

Elliott S. McClearv has won a fine reputation as a farmer of much ability, who employs modern methods in conducting his operations, keeps his farm up to a high standard in point of cultivation and improvement, and is raising first-class stock. His homestead lies on sections 12 and 13, Nelson Township, and here he and his family live very pleasantly. He gives much attention to the dairy business and has thirty-five cows of the finest breed for that purpose, which net him a good yearly income.

He has found in his wife, formerly Miss Melinda Gruver, a capable coadjutor in the making of a home. Their marriage was celebrated in Nelson Township, where Mrs. McCleary was reared and educated, coming here with her parents when a child. She, like her husband, is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Columbia County in 1853. and is a daughter of Ujinli Gruver, a wealthy farmer, living in Dixon.

Our subjects are sons of William MeCleary, who was a native of the same Pennsylvania county in which they were born. He in turn was a son of Samuel McCleary, who was a native of the North of Ireland, and came to this country when he was twelve years old, with his parents, who were of Scotch-Irish stock. The fnmily first settled in Westmoreland County, Pa., and when Samuel was a young man removed from there to what is now New Castle, the county seat of Lawrence County, that city now being built upon the farm that the grandfather of our subjects developed from the dense growth of primeval forest that then prevailed in that section of the country. Samuel Mc- Cleary spent his remaining das in the home that he made there, dying at the age of fifty-six. He was prominent in promoting the growth of New Castle and lived to see it a flourishing town. He was one of its pioneer merchants and one of its principal business men in his day. Besides running a mercantile establishment he did an extensive business as a drover, taking stock to Philadelphia, and with the proceeds of the sales buying goods to sell at home. Tie and his wife were great workers in church matters, and they helped to organize the Presbyterian Church in their town.

Samuel MeCleary was married in New Castle to Nancy Gorderi, who was born on the Atlantic Ocean when her parents were emigrating to this country from their ancestral home in Scotland. They were a branch of the celebrated Gorden family so well known in the history of Scotland. They settled first in Westmoreland County, Pa., after their arrival in America, and thence removed to Mercer County in the early days of its settlement, and were pioneers of the country around New Castle, where they hewed out a farm from the wilderness. Some of them served as privates in the War of 1812. They were stanch Presbyterians in religion and were Whigs in polities, while the old stock of McClearys were Democrats. Mrs. Samuel MeCloarv survived her husband many years and died during the Rebellion when nearly eighty years of age. She was a large woman, of fine physique, and retained her bodily and mental faculties to the last.

William MeCleary, as the eldest of ten children. looked after the large farm, owned by his father, after he attained manhood. He was married in New Castle to Miss Selinda Moorehead, who was born and reared at that place, her parents, who were of Pennsylvania birth and of Scotch-Irish blood, having been early settlers of Lawrence County, moving there from Westmoreland county. Mr. and Mrs. MeCleary lived in New Castle many years after their marriage, all of there all of their children were born. In 1865 they came to Illiiiois and established a new home in Lee County, in which the father passed the rest of his days. He died in the fall of 1880, at the age of sixty-seven, leaving behind him the record of a well-filled life and the legacy of a good name, which his children and children's children hold in reverence. He was an active member of the Presbyterian Church and was deeply interested in every movement for the moral uplifting of the community. In politics he was thoroughly in sympathy with the Democratic party. His wife, who survives him and makes her home with her children, was born June 30, 1816, yet old age has not dimmed her faculties. She is a noble Christian woman and is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Of the seven daughters and two sons born to the McClearys, one daughter and two sons are now dead. James enlisted in October, 1861, in Company B, of the famous Cooper's Battery, in the First Pennsylvanoa Artillery, and fell while bravely fighting for his country at the battle of Gettysburg; John C., the eldest son,a farmer in Palmyra Township, married Mary Gruver, of Nelson; Mary is the wife of Jerry Hetler, a farmer of Dixon Township; George S. is the third son of the family; Kate, now deceased, was the former wife of D. C. Harden, of whom a biography appears in this work; William, a farmer in Carroll County, married Ainanda Mason; Elliott S. is the next in order of birth; Joseph, who married Ida Long, is a member of the firm of McCleary & Long, boot and shoe merchants of Dixon. All the brothers are very successful in business. All but two of them are Presbyterians, and all of them are stalwart Democrats in politics.

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