Thomas McCluer, Jefferson Township


Thomas McCluer was born February 28, 1790 in Maryland or Virginia. He came with his family from Virginia. In March 1808, he accompanied his Uncle James McCluer to where Belleville now stands to clear the way for a road. When the War of 1812 broke out Thomas McCluer under Colonel Kraetzer's served with many of his relatives and future in-laws. According to his son, Henry C. McCluer, Thomas McCluer travelled at night, in the snow, delivering messages from Knox County to Mansfield.

At some unknown time, Thomas married Susannah Trucks who was from Pennsylvania. His father Samuel McCluer had settled in Troy Township and Thomas seeking to start his new family began farming near the now defunct of Paris which is located on the border of Richland and Huron County, in Plymouth Township. By the mid-1820s, Thomas took his family and moved to the 'Indian Lands' near Bucyrus in what is now Crawford County. In 1828 Thomas again sold his lands and moved back to Richland County, near Lexington to spend the winter. By the next year, 1829, Thomas had relocated again to Belleville, Ohio.

The following is an excerpt from a Mansfield newspaper for purpose of a pioneer axe claim (earliest "chopper" in Richland County using an axe):

Jefferson Township, Richland Co., January 19th, 1858.

Messrs. Cook & Roberts. -- The undersigned living in Jefferson Township, one mile East of Bellville, begs leave to present his claim for one of your axes, which you propose to present to the three oldest inhabitants of Richland who has been engaged in clearing land for the purpose of farm cultivation at the earliest day in the history of Richland County. The undersigned came to Richland County, Jerfferson Township, in the Fall of 1807 or 1808, he cannot tell certainly which as he has no data to count from, he must depend on memory, but is confident he was in the County three years before the war of 1812, if not four. Sometime in the month of October, he landed on the bank of teh Clear Fork of Mohican, John's Creek, on section nine, North East quarter where the village of Bellville now stands, and forthwith began to chop and clear land. He worked as a hired hand for James M'Clure proprieter of the land. If he lived till the 29th day of next month he will be sixty-eight years old. He was borne in the State of Maryland, and raised in the State of Virginia. He emigrated to Ross County, Ohio in his eighteenth year, and from thence to Richland. In this county clearing land was his occupation for about twelve years. Gentlemen: I have now give you a very short history of my first life in the woods of old Richland. If you wish to know any more concerning the toils and trials that awaited the first settlers in this county I am at your service --as far as I know I will relate. Yours &c. THOMAS M'CLURE.

Thomas' marriage to Susannah Trucks gave him the following children: John Allen, James J., George Yearian, Kate, Ruth Ann, William and Henry C., all born in Richland County.

After the marriage of his oldest son, John Allen McCluer, in 1837, Thomas was prepared to move to Missouri. In November of 1837 the Thomas McCluer family had found their way to Perry County, Illinois. Being a pronounced anti-slavery man, Thomas then decided not to go on to Missouri, as Elijah Lovejoy, the prominent abolitionist, had just been murdered in Alton, Illinois, for his anti-slavery sentiments, by a mob from Missouri. Thomas purchased land in the year 1838 in the neigboring county of Jackson, in Illinois. It was here in August of 1838 that his wife Susannah Trucks died. Therefore, in the fall of 1839 Thomas took three of his children and went back to Ohio, leaving his sons, John A., James J. and George Y. in Illinois.

After his arrival back in Richland County, Ohio, Thomas McCluer married Sarah Lockheart on August 22, 1839, Richland County, Ohio. The 1850 census for Richland County shows Thomas, his new wife Sarah, Ruth Ann, William and Henry C. living in Jefferson Township.

Thomas was recognized at a meeting of Pioneers in 1858, where Jabez Cook as president recognized him as one of the oldest surviving pioneers with the earliest arrival in the county and was presented with an axe, specially made for the occasion.

Thomas McCluer left a will written 29 December 1862. He gave his wife Sarah one-third of his estate for the balance of her lifetime. He divided the farm upon which he lived into equal portions for his children still living in Richland County, William, Ruth Ann Leedy and Henry C. For their service and kindness, he gave to his neighbors and friends Margaret and Sarah Ann Fyke, "the little field between the Rail Road and the Creek. I mean the field adjoining William Mocks in the neighborhood of two and one half acres, more or less." There were no mention in the will of his other children, now all adults.

It is not know when exactly Thomas McCluer died or where he is buried. He probably died sometime after his will of 1862. He gave to his country and his family with equal zeal. His profession of faith no doubt led him to have strong convictions on anti-slavery issues. Thomas McCluer's pioneering footsteps can be found from the southern to the northern most boundaries of Richland County, Ohio.

James W. McCluer, December 1999

1. 1820 Federal Census, Richland County, Ohio.
2. The Cassville Republican Newspaper,John A. McCluer, Barry County Missouri, 1897.
3. History of Richland County Ohio, ... published in 1880 by A. A. Graham & Company, Mansfield, OH.
4. Marriage Records, Volume 3, page 269, 22 August, 1839, Richland County, Ohio.
5. 1850 Federal Census, Richland County, Ohio, Jefferson Township.
6. Shield and Banner Newspaper, Mansfield, Ohio, Axe Claims:Thomas M'CLURE, January 19th,1858.
History of Jackson County with Biographical Sketches...Philadelphia, Brink McDonough & Co., 1878 (Illinois Historical Society) F896, J, H67b, 1878, (1973 reprint) oversized. On page 88, under paragraph titled "John A. McCluer""He is the eldest child of Thomas and Susan McCluer. Thomas McCluer was a native of Virginia, and his wife of the Keystone State, though when quite young, they had removed to Ohio with their parents; and it was in the latter state that they were married. In 1837, Mr. McCluer, wife and family moved to Perry County, Illinois, and a year later settled in Jackson County, Illinois on the farm now owned and occupied by his son, John A. McCluer."


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