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Charles Wylie McClure

July 4, 1866 - January 23, 1943

By : Ira McClure


      Charles Wylie McCLURE was born July 4, 1866 in Washington County, Illinois to James Morton McCLURE and Sarah ( nee McKINLEY )   McCLURE.

      James McCLURE was born in Chester, South Carolia and moved to Illinois with his parents, Alexander and Jane McCLUE around 1830.

      Sarah McKINLEY was born in Northern ireland and immigrated to Canada with her damily around 1840 and a few years later Sarah and her family settled in Illinois.

      Charles Wylie McCLURE who became kown as C. W. McCLURE started selling tin ware in Southern Illinois at the age of 20. In 1896 at the age of 30, Charles left Illinois and settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where he opened "The McClure Ten Cent Company".

      In 1900 he married Cora B. RUTHERFORD of Baldwin, Illinois in Fulton County, Georgia on May 15, 1900. They had three children; one died early in life and their two surviving children were Sterling McCLURE and Helen McCLURE.

      During his time in Atlanta, C. W. made a mark on the city and on the Ten Cent merchants of the United States. the ten cent merchants organized an association in Cincinnati and in 1910, C. W. was elected its first president, and at the second annual meeting he was once again reelected president. C. W. also organized the McClure Realty, held a large interest in the Atlanta and Carolina Railroad Company, and was the director of the Colorado Mining Company of Mexico.

      In 1914 C. W. ran for U. S. Senate from Georgia on the Progressive Party ticket against Hoke Smith (Dem) but was defeated.

      Charles W. McClure died January 28, 1943, at the age of 76, in Dawson County, Georgia.


Sources :

Newspaper Article from The Atlanta Constitution of September 17, 1899
See : Article

Marriage License Record
Book K, page 139, Fulton County, Georgia marriage records

C. W. McCLURE is in the book "Men of Mark in Georgia"    by William Northen
A. B. Caldwell Pub., Atlanta 1912, Vol 6 of 7, pages 295 - 298
See : Excerpt

Photograph of McClure Ten Cent Co. - Store Front - 1910
See : Photograph

Newspaper Article from The Atlanta Journal of November 4, 1914
See : Article

Newspaper Article from The New York Times of June 14, 1915
See : Article

Photograph of McClure Ten Cent Co. - Building - 1918
See : Photograph

Newspaper Article from The Atlanta Constitution of March 20, 1919
See : Article

Photograph of C. W. McClure ( above )
The Atlanta Constitution of June 22, 1919, Page 10-F

Obituary of Sarah McClure from : The Atlanta Constitution of February 3, 1921
"Mother of Charles Wylie McClure"
See : Obituary

"Who Was Who in America"
Vol 4, 1961 - 1968, page 629
See : Excerpt


The Atlanta Constitution
September 17, 1899
Page 5
A Five-Cent Business That Amounts
to Thousands a Year
      A few years ago a young man came to this town, unknown, but knowing.
      A short while after his arrival a small 5 and 10-cent store was opened on lower Whitehall street. As the time passed by this little store beganto grow; ; it began to attract attention. Itwas what Atlanta had needed. "Who is the young fellow that has money to lose?" was generally the question that one heard from the wiseacres. The young fellow was sawing wood and he kept pretty close at the job. It was hard , it is true, but today he is enjoying the fruits of it. that young man that had money to lose was C. W. McClure, now the proprietor of the C. W. McClure Five and Ten-Cent Company, the largest store of its kind in the southern states, located at the corner of Whitehall and Hunter streets, and filled with everything from a toothpick to a packing trunk, is a monument to the business sagacity, perseverance and determination of this young man. A store that is a credit to the city, a boon and personal friend to every housekeeper in Atlanta. "McClure's" is a household word.
      Quiet and unobtrusive, attending strictly to his own business, he has weathered the storm, and has met and defeated competition in several instances. Since starting his 5 and 10-cent store, Mr. McClure has seen several of his competitors go to the wall for lack of patronage, and in every instance he has purchased their stock and offered it to the public at lower prices, thereby saving tham money.       The McClure Five and Ten-Cent Company is now working a force of about fifty people and has several men on the road. They do a large wholesale as well as retail trade and their friends are legion.
      Mr.McClure's friends are congratulating him on his opening, on moving into his new quarters.
      A few years ago, unknown. Today by judicious use of printers' ink in the daily newspapers he sis at the head of one of the largest enterprises in the city, and known by everybody in Atlanta.


Marriage License        ( Record )
State of Georgia, Fulton County
Book K, page 139

Mr. Charles W. McClure
Miss Cora B. Rutherford

May 15, 1900
Recorded : May 24, 1900




Store Front - 1910
McClure Ten Cent Co.
Atlanta, Georgia



Who Was Who In America
Volume 4, 1916 - 1968
Page 629

  McCLURE, Charles Wylie, merchant; b.Washing-
ton Co., Ill., July 4, 1866; s. James and Sarah
(McKinley) M.; ed. pub. schs., and Coulterville
(Ill.) Acad.; m. Cora B. Rutherford, of Baldwin,
Ill. May 15, 1900; children--Helen (wife of Dr.
Wm. Howard Halley, Sterling Rutherford. Entered
mercantile business at 20; established 5 and
10-cent store in Atlanta, Ga., 1896; pres. McClure
Co., McClure Realty & Invstment Co.; propr.
McClure Realty Co. Mem. Prog. Nat. Com., 1912-
16. Prof. candiate for U. S. senator, 1914. State
chmn. Roosevelt Memorial Assn. Home : 343 8th
Av., St. Petersburg, Fla.



Men of Mark
by William Northen
A. B. Caldwell, Pub.
Atlanta 1912
Volume 6 of 7
Pages 295 - 298

  Page 295

Charles Wylie McClure
The McClure Ten Cent Company is known far and near.
      The great business which has grown up under this name
is due to the industry, the sagacity, and the unflagging
energy of C. W. McClure, a young man of forty-five,
whose career is an inspiring one to every ambitious young man
starting life with empty hands.
      Mr. McClure is of Scotch-Irish stock. he was born in
Washington county, Illinois, july 4, 1866, son of James and
Sarah (McKinley) McClure. His father was a native of Ches-
ter, South Carolina, a farmer by occupation, who had moved
West to take advantage of the rich lands of Illinois. His
mother's people had moved from the North of Ireland to Can-
ada, in 1840, and a few years later settled in Illinois.
      Young McClure was blessed with a healthy body and an
alert mind. he had the advantages of the farm rearing, which
is the best school of industry in the world. he received his
school training in the local public schools and in a course at the
Coulterville Academy, located in Randolph county, Illinois.
His father's farm was remote from the great centers and the
lad longed for the larger activities obtainable only in more
populous sections. At the age of twenty he struck out, selling
tinware and other household goods through the rural districts
of Southern Illinois, and in eight months so prospered as to
convince himself that his true vocation was that of a merchant.
After some years of varied experience, in 1896, then a young
man of thirty, after giving the careful consideration to the
matter which he does to everything, Mr McClure decided to
establish a Five and Ten Cent Store in Atlanta. At that time
there was no such establishment in the city. He opened a small
store on lower Whitehall Street; worked incessantly, and laid
the foundation securely and well for the great success which he
has achieved. In three years he was able to open up at the
present location on the corner of Whitehall and Hunter, where


Page 296

the immense four story warehouse, full of attractive goods from
basement to attic, is a very beehive of activity.
      In 1900 he organized the present corporation, and on Febru-
ary 15, 1907, opemed a second establishment on Mitchell
Street, which was destroyed by fire May 7, 1908. Undismayed
by this backset he moved steadily forward and his business has
grown by leaps and bounds. The McClure Ten Cent Com-
panyis now the largest establishment of its kind in the South-
ern States and a monument to the business sagacity, presever-
ance and determination of its founder. They operate stores
in Atlanta, Macon, and Griffin, Athens, and Marietta, Georgia, and
a similar establishment in Greenwood, South Carolina, Their
stores are filled with everything needed in household affairs, are
a credit to the cities in which they are located, and every house-
keeper in their trade zones looks upon McClure's as one of the
bulwarks of the family. From early morning to late evening
their places are thronged with a multitude of people taking ad-
vantage of the good goods offered at prices within reach of the
most moderate purses, and it takes over two hundred active
employees to supply the needs of his customers. From his pri-
vate offices in Atlanta Mr. McClure keeps his hand upon the
pulse of the large commercial syndicate which he has formed
and guided to success. He keeps in close touch with his man-
agers , not only by correspondence but by verbal reports, and sees
that nothing is left undone which will contribute to success
of the business. In addition to the large retail syndicate he
has established he is now operating a wholesale house , first es-
tablished in the Commerce Hall Building in the fall of 1900
which was moved in September 1910, to the corner of Broad
and Hunter streets, where it occupies a frontage of one hun-
dred feet on Broad and ninety feet on Hunter. Here the
company carries a complete line of dry goods, notions, hardware,
tinware, woodenware, enamelware, galvanized ironware, glass-
ware, china, crockery, and toys; and here also Mr. McClure
has his private offices.
      Apparently never in a hurry Mr. McClure has one of the most
restless minds possessed by any business man of Atlanta, and
this active mind is backed up by a strong body. Resulting


Page 297

from this, he has become interested in numerous other direc-
tions. He is the organizer of the McClure Realty Company
of Atlanta, through which he has acquired some of the most
valuable real estate holdings in the city, and from which he has
reaped a large profit. he is largely interested in teh Atlanta
and Carolina Railway Company; is director of the Colorado
Mining Company of Mexico, and in association with some other
gentlemen is now organizing a State bank for West Mitchell
Street, of which he will undoubtedly be one of the officers.
      he is also possessor of inventive genius and has secured
patents on a safety pin and a water cooler, both of which are
strictly in accord with the main line of his business and useful
to every homekeeper. his political affliation is with the Re-
publican party on national issues, while in the State and local elec-
tions he supports the Democrat ticket. his religious in-
clination is towards Christian Science.
      C. W. McClure is a public spirited man, keenly interested
in everything that will contribute to the welfare of the city and
the State; and though not a politician in the ordinary accep-
tation of that word, is a politician in the larger sense that he is
interested in the study of government and active in all meas-
ures looking toward the betterment of our governmental con-
ditions. he is a strong advocate of disversification by our
farmers and thinks the State should give large consideration
and support to industrial education.
      Mr. McClure was married on May 19 1900, to Cora B. Ruth-
erford, of Baldwin, Illinois. Of thsi marriage three children
have been born, of whom two are living; Helen and Sterling
      Mr. McClure's working code is a simple one. He says :
"Preserve your physical vigor; learn to do some useful thing
well; do your work thoroughly and enthusiastically; aim high,
work hard, and never be discouraged. Have a clear conscience
honor in all things, and charity towards all men."
      The position which Mr. McClure has attained in the com-
mercial world is best illustrated by the fact that when the Five
and Ten Cent merchants of the United States organized as as-
sociation at Cincinnati, in September, 1910, he had the honor


Page 298

of being elected its first president, and at the second annual
meeting at Niagara Falls the last week in August, he was
unanimously reelected president for the second term. The man
who, in fifteen years, has built up a business from very small
beginnings to such proportions as to make him the representa-
tive man of one of the great interests of the country, has in
him such qualities of leadership as to need no other eulogy.



The Atlanta Journal
November 4, 1914

Despite Small vote Cast All
Progressive Candidates Are
Snowed Under by Over-
whelming Majority

      True to expectations Senator Hoke Smith and Congressman Thomas W. Hardwick, Georgia's Democratic nominees for the United States senate, triumphed by ovewhelming majorities in Tuesday's election over their Progessive opponents, C. W. McClure and G. R. Hutchens. Although the size of the vote polled was somewhat disappointing it was the larger than that usually polled in the general elections.
      Tremendous majorities were also received by Congressman William Schley Howard, Democratic nominee for Congress from the Fifth district, over Roger Dewar, his Progressive opponent, and the same was true of the Democratic nominees for the legislature from Fulton county. Judge Spencer R. Atkinson, Walter P. Andrews and R. B. Blackburn who were opposed by John T. Pugh, F. H. Peck and W. A. Hart, the Progressive candidates.
      No other candidates were put out by the Progressives.
      All ten of the proposed constituational amendments appear to have carried. That providing for four-year terms for county officials however, received the smallest majority.
      four of these amendments create new counties - Barrow, with Windler as the county seat; Bacon with Alma as the county seat; Candler with Metter as the county seat, and Evans with Claxton as the county seat.
      the addition of these four new counties gives Georgia 152 counties instead
. . . . . . . rest of article - missing . . . . . . .


The New York Times
Published June 14, 1915

Georgia Leader Quotes Him as
    Finding New Hope for Pro-
        gressives in Bryan's Course.

Special to The New York Times

      ATLANTA, June 13. -- That the resignation of William Jennings Bryan as Secretary of State forecasts a split ticket in the Democratic party and that as a result the prospects for the Progressive Party have become much brighter was the opinion expressed today by former President Theodore Roosevelt, according to C. W. McClure, leader of the Georgia Progressives. The Colnel passed through Atlanta en route to Oyster Bay after a visi to Louisiana.
      Colonel Roosevelt addressed some remarks on the situation to a delegation of Atlanta Progressives who were at the Terminakl Station to talk with the ex-President during his twenty-minute stop. C. W. McClure headed the delegation. He reported Colonel Roosevelt as saying he had great respect for President Wilson, but disapproved his lack of initatve and ultra-conservationism during the present European war. Colnel Roosevelt, Mr. McClure said, compared Bryan to a preacher, and remarked he had often thought he would have made a good running mate with Sam Jones the Georgia evangelist.
      According to Mr. McClure, Col. Roosevelt made it plain that the resignation of the Secretary of State , in his opinion, had seriouly complicated matters for the Democratic Party, and he predicted that, with the Republican party out of power, the logical leaders in 1916 would be Progressives.
      The Colonel said said he had had a most enjoyable visit to John M. Parker of Louisiana, National Committeeman of the Progressive Party, whose guest he was in Louisiana, and Mr. McClure predicted that Mr. Parker would be Roosevelt's running mate at the next national election.
      With Mr. Parker as candidate for Vice President on the Progressive ticket, the Progressives here believe that Louisiana easily could be placed in their column, since Mr. Parker is one of the best known men of that State and Louisiana sugar interests have turned against the Democratic Party on account of the tariff bill.



Building - 1918
McClure Ten Cent Co.
Whitehall Street
Atlanta, Georgia


The Atlanta Constitution
March 20, 1919
      C. W. McClure, proprietor of the McClure Ten-Cent company, and one of the local leaders in progressive party politics, made known Thursdaythe fact that he has been asked to act as southeastern chairman of a new national political party whose organization is to become effective within the next few months. Mr McClure has the request under consideration.
      He states that he has received a copy of the call issued by the "committee of forty-eight," with headquarters at 15 East Fortieth street, New York, for a conference to be held soon.Educators, writers, economists and professional men and women from all parts of the country are among the signers of the call, states the copy.
      Out of this conference, according to the call, when leaders from all over the country will be present, it is intended to obtain a flexible statement of principles and methods that will permit effective co-operation with organized labor and with agricultural workers in the task of reconstruction.
      The call indicates that both of the old parties will be arraigned and a radical reconstruction platform adopted.


The Atlanta Constitution
February 3, 1921

      Mrs. Sarh McClure, mother of C. W. McClure, died at her residence, 6 Elizabeth street, late Wednesday afternoon. Mrs. McClure, who was eighty-eight years of age, was well-known throughout the city and her death is the occasion of deep regret.
      Mrs. McClure is survived by two sons, C. W. McClure, of Atlanta, and John A. McClure, of Coulterville, Ill.; two daughters, Mrs. Ida Nixon, of Oklahoma, and Mrs. Emma Lamey, of California; a sister, Miss Nan McKinsley, of Coulterville, Ill., and two brothers, Robert McKinsley, of Tilden, Ill. and David McKinsley, of Sparta, Ill.
      The body is at the residence and will be sent to Coulterville this morning.





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