Search billions of records on


      Jacob P. McClain, prominent pioneer farmer of the Bitter Root Valley, was born near Mount Pleasant, Henry County Iowa, April 1, 1845. He is a descendant of an old Virginia family, both Scotch and German ancestry. His father, Jacob B. McClain was born in Virginia in 1810 and was there married, January 10, 1836, to Miss Olive Wilson, who was born in that state in 1817. They lived n Virginia until three of their children were born then moved to Henry County Iowa and seven years afterward, in 1850 located in Polk County, that state. Mr. McClain died there in 1889 his wife having departed this life November 30, 1860.
      They raised twelve children, eight of whom still survive. Jacob P., their seventh child, received his education in the public schools of Polk County. When sixteen years of age the great Civil War broke forth upon the country and after reaching an age sufficient to be accepted, he enlisted in a Nebraska regiment to serve nine months or until the close of the struggle. He was stationed in the Indian country and participated in several engagements. After receiving his honorable discharge, he returned home.

      February 18, 1865 Mr. McClain was united in marriage with Miss Emily E. Coon who was born in Indiana, November 17, 1844, a daughter of George Coon, a native of Belmont County, Ohio. He now resides in Indiana, aged seventy-four years. His wife departed this life in 1891, in her sixty-ninth year. After marriage, Mr. McClain farmed on his father's place and afterward purchased a small farm.

      In 1868 he came up the Missouri River on the steamer Deer Lodge to German Gulch in Deer Lodge County, Montana where he followed mining a year and a half and took out large quantities of gold during that time. He then returned to his home but in the following spring came again to Montana, accompanied by his wife and child. The latter, Carrie Virginia, was then two years of age. She is now the wife of David Maclay and resides near her parents. After spending one year in German Gulch they removed to Deer Lodge Valley where Mr. McClain was engaged in raising cattle and hay for four years. Three children were born to them at that place: George D., Olive and William Henry.

      In 1874 the family came to their present home in the Bitter Root Valley, fifteen miles south of Missoula. He first purchased 160 acres on which was a small log cabin with a board and dirt roof and their nearest neighbor was four miles distant. The Nez Perce Indians were plentiful and camped near their home. Mrs. McClain was much loved by the Indian women and as the settlers were leaving the valley because of the fear of being massacred, one of the women gave her a bracelet, after first pressing it to her heart in a token of love. While in Missoula, Mrs. McClain was petitioned by Whitehead, one of the chiefs to return to them. Mr. McClain now owns 760 acres of fine farming land and is considered one of the leading farmers of the valley. Three children have been added to the family at their present home: Albert Perry, Charles A. and Frederick Homer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                History of Montana, by Joaquin Miller, 1894