Showing posts with label Wabash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wabash. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Historical Fiction Reveals Real Conflict in Ancestral Town

If you haven't checked out both fiction and nonfiction to understand the lives of your ancestors, give historical fiction a try. Historical fiction is often (but not always) based on historical fact. The characters aren't real, but in many cases, the daily lives and family ups/downs described in a period novel or short story will provide a compelling sense of time and place.

Five years ago, while I was attending FGS 2013, my husband spent time in Wabash, Indiana, where some of his mother's ancestors were pioneering farmers. The local historian recommended we read a young adult book loosely based on a real family that lived in the area at the same time as Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure, hubby's 2d great-grandparents.

The book is The Wild Donahues by Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood. In an author's note, Friermood says "Years ago my father told me about a house he lived in as a boy, and about the rascally family that had built it long before his time, in pre-Civil War days."

Rascally is an understatement. Friermood read through actual news clippings from the time and learned a lot about the family's "dishonest dealings." She transformed the real family into the "wild Donahues" and wrote about the many conflicts caused by this family in rural Indiana in 1860. The human story (of a young orphaned girl coming of age) plays out against the backdrop of slavery, hostility toward Native Americans, and the rise of Abraham Lincoln. Not to mention the villainy of the Donahue family (murder is just the start).

Author Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood was born in Marion, Indiana, and grew up to be a librarian in the Marion Public Library and, later, in the Dayton, Ohio library. She heard stories from her parents and grandparents about the Indiana of their childhoods--and, with additional research, turned those stories into YA books that bring Indiana's past to life in a dramatic way.

So if you're interested, ask a historian or librarian to recommend historical fiction of the time and place where your ancestors lived. My brother-in-law read and enjoyed The Wild Donahues for the setting and atmosphere of the period as much as (or more than) the twists and turns in the heroine's life. The cover art, at top, suggests the bit of light romance that runs through the book, rather than the day-to-day realities and dastardly deeds depicted in the chapters.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow's #52 Ancestors for this prompt.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

One Memorable Tax Day in Family History

April 15th was a special day for Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927), the eldest son of hubby's great-great-grandpa, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896).

On April 15, 1858, Theodore was married to Louisa Jane Austin (1837-1924), in Wabash county, Indiana. Actually, this was Louisa's second marriage. (What happened to her first husband, John Donalson/Donaldson? They were married on May 17, 1855, but I haven't yet found his death record and of course no divorce record. Maybe a newspaper search will give me clues...)

One hundred years ago today, on April 15, 1918, the Wabash Plan Dealer published a front-page account of Louisa and Theodore's 60th wedding anniversary. The newspaper wrote about the original 1858 ceremony:
"The Rev. Cooper of the M.E. [Methodist] Church was the officiating minister, and conducted the service at 5 o'clock. The wedding feast was one of the bountiful ones, read about more often than seen in present times, and included venison, wild turkeys, and ducks."
By 1918, Theodore and Louisa might well have been paying federal income tax...his occupation was "justice of the peace" according to the Wabash, Indiana city directory. Earlier in his career, he had been a farmer and storekeeper. His 1927 death cert says he was a miller.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow's #52 Ancestors challenge, I looked up when Tax Day first took place (March 1, 1914)--and noted two other years when new tax deadlines took effect (March 15, 1918 and April 15, 1955). Family history brings American history alive!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Surname Saturday: Researching Sarah Denning's Origins

It was 173 years ago this month that hubby's 2d great-grandmother, Sarah Denning (1811-1888), settled in Wabash county, Indiana, with her husband, Benjamin McClure (1811-1896). This is according to the History of Wabash County, which also notes that the county wasn't formally formed until 1835. Other McClures had arrived in the Wabash area years earlier, including Samuel McClure, Sr. (apparently not a relative or at least, not a close relative).

Sarah's parents were Job Denning and Mary E. [maiden name unknown]. Proving Job's birth place and date is another challenge. His gravestone only says he died in 1836, aged 61, which implies a birth year of 1775. It's probable that Job Denning was from way back east--possibly Massachusetts--but so far, I have no hard evidence.

Sarah had at least 7 older siblings but just 1 younger brother. She told the US Census (in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880) that she was born in Ohio. Possibly she was born in Adams County, Ohio, where her younger brother William Henry Harrison* Denning was born. Records are scarce for the early 1800s, haven't found her yet.

Sarah and her husband Benjamin were married in Ohio, according to their obits, and their two elder children were born in Ohio. Their other children were born in Indiana (according to Census data), beginning with third child Martha Jane McClure (1841-1916).

In the 1840 Census, Sarah and Benjamin were living in Harrison township, Fayette county, Indiana, with a total of "3 white persons under 20" years old. Most intriguing, they were living on a land division "allotted to Benjamin Caldwell." In other words, land allotted to Benjamin's brother-in-law's family, since his sister Jane McClure married Train Caldwell. Within four years, they were living about 100 miles northwest, in Noble township, Wabash county, Indiana.

Sarah, I'm on the lookout for more info about your origins!

*Yes, the family seems to taken inspiration for some given names from U.S. presidents. Benjamin McClure and his wife Sarah named one of their sons William Madison McClure, possibly honoring James Madison.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Train McClure's Civil War Reunion in Wabash, Indiana

Since today is the day in history that President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, I want to say a few words about hubby's Civil War veteran, 1st great-grand uncle Train Caldwell McClure (1843-1934).

Train enlisted on August 3, 1862 in the Union Indiana Volunteers, 89th Regiment, Infantry. He served as a private and remained with his regiment until he was mustered out on July 19, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama. In three years of service, Train marched through Tennesee and other Southern states as his regiment fought in the Battle of Nashville, Battle of Arkansas Post, Battle of Fort Blakely, Battle of Munfordville, and Battle of Pleasant Hill.

Two years after Train was mustered out, he married Guilia Swain (1847-1920) and they settled down in Train's hometown of Wabash, Indiana for the rest of their lives. Their four children were: Frank, Harry, Jesse, and Bessie.

Above is a photo of Train McClure (standing, 2d from left) at a reunion of Civil War veterans in Wabash in September, 1922.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

52 Ancestors #48: Wabash Pioneers Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Wilson McClure, Married "Three Score Years"

Thanks to the Wabash Plain Dealer, I got a glimpse into the pioneer lives of hubby's great-grand uncle Theodore Wilson McClure (1834-1927) and great-grand aunt, Louisa Jane Austin McClure (1837-1924). Theodore was the son of Benjamin McClure and Sarah Denning McClure. Jane was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Austin. Both came to Wabash as youngsters, when the area was still heavily wooded and the entire settlement consisted of a handful of wooden cabins.

Ted and Louisa married on April 15, 1858 and all their children were born in Indiana. In April, 1918, the Wabash paper published a front-page story about their "Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary--Mr. & Mrs. Theodore W. McClure of Lagro Married Three Score Years." (The same front page carried WWI news from the European front.) The Wabash newspaper often mentioned how the McClures were from Scotch-Irish roots--and this article was no exception.

According to the newspaper clipping (some of which is illegible):
Mr. McClure is of Scotch-Irish descent and was born in ___ county, Ohio, in 1834, the son of Benjamin McClure. His early life was spent in Wabash, beginning in a pioneer environment. When the Indians still enjoyed the liberty of the woods, wandering through the trails that are now streets of Wabash, he used to climb the hill next to the court house to see the people in the only two cabins there.

Mrs. McClure's parents came here in early days also from the east, reaching Wabash county in 1847. Her parents were Mr. & Mrs. Austin, and they came overland from Clinton county, Ohio, passing through some rough and wild country. Their farm, east of Wabash, became known as the old Austin ___.

A member of the Austin family, who was popular in the school and church circles, and who grew up with the other pioneer children as the village of Wabash grew to a town was Louisa Jane Austin ___ in later years, Mrs. Theodore McClure. The wedding took place April 15th, 1858. The Rev. Cooper of the M.E. [Methodist] Church was the officiating minister, and conducted the service at 5 o'clock. The wedding feast was one of the bountiful ones, read about more often than seen in present times, and included venison, wild turkeys, and ducks.

Mr. & Mrs. McClure are the parents of five children (Charles, Albert, Clara, Theodore Jr., and another daughter, name illegible). 
Louisa McClure died just weeks after celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary. Ted McClure lived seven months past what would have been their 66th wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

52 Ancestors #36: Margaret McClure "Stricken with Grippe . . . Until Life Became Extinct"

Hubby's great-grandma, Margaret Jane Larimer McClure (1859-1913), the daughter of Brice S. Larimer and Lucy E. Bentley, outlived her husband by more than 30 years.

Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Margaret married William Madison McClure in October, 1876. After great-grandpa Willy died in 1887, Maggie moved to Wabash, Indiana, with three of her four children (Lola, Lucy, and Hugh Benjamin).

The photo above shows Maggie with her daughter Lucy (Lucille) and Lucy's husband, John Everett De Velde.

As a member of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, I can conveniently search databases like Newspaper Archive from home. So I plugged Maggie's name into the search box for Wabash, IN, and found her obit in the Wabash Daily Plain Dealer of May 15, 1913--the day she died.

According to the obit, Maggie was "stricken with grippe" a few days before her death, "which later developed into a complication of diseases and caused her to grow gradually weaker until life became extinct." Rest in peace.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #14: Lt. Theodore W. McClure

One of hubby's great-grand uncles on his mother's side was Lieut. Theodore W. McClure, a son of Benjamin McClure (aka Uncle Benny) and Sarah Denning. He got his rank of Second Lieutenant while serving with the 11th Indiana Regiment Reserve. His name is the last on this page from the June, 1863 sign-up sheet.

McClure (1835-1927), a farmer, married Louisa Jane Donaldson (1837-1924) in 1858. By the time he listed himself with the 11th Indiana, he was a father. Louisa and Ted had six children in all: Ida (who died in infancy), Charles, Anna (died as a teenager), Albert, Clara, and (of course) Theodore.

Lt. McClure's family is also listed on an informative Find a Grave site, kindly researched and posted by the Friends of Falls Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Wabash, Indiana. Thank you to all the volunteers who preserve the memories of our ancestors in this way!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #10: Typhoid Fever Fells William M. McClure

Hubby's great-grandpa William Madison McClure (1849-1887) had been married to Margaret Jane Larimer for only 11 years when he died following six weeks of suffering from typhoid fever. As noted in his obituary from the Wabash Plain Dealer, above, "Will" was a Mason. According to the 1880 Census, he was a worker on the railway.

Will left four children under the age of 10 at the time of his death:
  • Lola A. McClure, born in 1877 in Goshen, Indiana
  • Brice Larimer McClure, born in 1878 in Little Traverse, Michigan
  • Lucille Ethel McClure, born in 1880 in Millersburg, Indiana
  • Hugh Benjamin McClure, born in 1882 in Wabash, Indiana
Luckily, the Wabash Plain Dealer reported that Margaret (known as Maggie) had some financial cushion, thanks to his advance planning and his Masonic connection: 
Will McClure had his life insured in the Masonic Mutual Insurance Co for $3,000. The policy was made payable to his wife.
What caused Will and Maggie to move from Elkhart, Indiana, where they married in 1876, to Goshen, then to Little Traverse, then back to Millersburg and finally to Wabash? I know a number of McClures lived in the Little Traverse area, which was in the midst of a farming, tourism, and lumber boom. But why leave to return to Indiana so quickly?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Uncle Benny McClure Saves a Coon

Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), hubby's great-great-grandpa, was a pioneer settler in Wabash, Indiana, but what was he really like?

The woodcut at left is from The Wabash Times, 21 December 1893, which ran a story on p. 3 titled "A Biographical Sketch: One of the Sturdy Old Settlers--Uncle Benjamin McClure, a Man Well Known to All the Older Inhabitants of Wabash County--an Octogenarian." The same newspaper used this woodcut when it ran McClure's obit in 1896. And I'm using this woodcut as the profile photo for my Benjamin McClure Facebook page, my social media experiment in genealogy.

(Mrs. Sarah Denning McClure, hubby's great-great-grandma, died in 1888. Widower Benjamin soon sold the family farm and lived with his children for the next 8 years.)

Hubby used the microfilm reader in the Wabash Carnegie Public Library (which has lots of useful genealogical resources) last month to look for McClure's name in local newspapers. He found a story in the Wabash Plain Dealer one week after McClure's death that gave us new insight into this pioneer man's strong religious feelings. Here's the story in its entirety:
Uncle Benny and the Coon

How the Late Mr. McClure Balked a Party of Hunters
Jehu Straughn, the genial pioneer resident of this county, tells an anecdote of the late Benjamin McClure, which shows how thoroughly loyal Mr. McClure was to his Christian faith.
Many years ago when the country was new and Mr. McClure lived on the farm just west of the city, an industrious, contented husbandman, rugged in constitution and strong in religious convictions, there was a coon hunt by persons living in the vicinity of Mr. McClure's farm.
The coon was started, and ran toward the home of Mr. McClure, ascending a tree in the door-yard of that gentleman. It wanted only a few minutes to midnight when the animal ran up the tree and it was after twelve when the hungers located him. It would have been an easy matter to shoot the creature, and some members of the party were determined to do so, but Mr. McClure, who regarded the Sabbath day as sacred, lifted his hand warningly and said: "Boys, you can't shoot that coon until Monday. This is Sunday and the day shall be kept holy. If the coon is in the tree tomorrow night at this time, get him if you can, but he shall not be killed before that."
The hunters expostulated, but to no purpose, and the dawn found the coon still in the tree. During the day the hunters dropped in and begged to be allowed to fire at the coon, but Uncle Benny turned them all away with the remark: "No man shall ever say that he heard the crack of a rifle on my farm on the Sabbath day, if I can prevent it. Come tomorrow and if the coon is there, he's yours."
But Sunday evening the coon ran down the tree and escaped and Mr. McClure was roundly censured, but he was true to his convictions and not an iota did the lavish criticisms cause him to yield from the position he had taken.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Genealogy by the States: The Hoosiers in Our Family Tree, Including a Man Named Train

This week's Genealogy by the States topic is Indiana, the Hoosier state (aka the Crossroads of America).

At the top of the list of Hoosiers in hubby's family tree: 2nd great-grandparents Benjamin McClure and his wife Sarah Deming (or Denning) McClure, an early settler in the Wabash county area.

Wabash had a number of McClure families, and of course Benjamin is NOT the most celebrated or documented, although he did pitch in to build the community in several ways. (The most famous McClure in Wabash is Samuel McClure, considered the first permanent white settler in the county.)

Benjamin and Sarah's first children were born in Ohio, where the couple was married; their children born in Indiana include:
  • Martha Jane McClure, who married William Buck Cloud
  • Train C. McClure, who married Gulia Swain (and, after Gulia's death, remarried to Rebecca E. Abbott) - Isn't "Train" an interesting first name? His occupation was "oil mill operator" according to the 1880 census. He served in the Civil War, too.
  • Elizabeth D. McClure (who married John W. Austin)
  • Addison D. McClure (who died of an accidental gunshot wound at age 18)
  • William Madison McClure (hubby's great-grandpa, who married Margaret Jane Larimer)
  • John N. McClure
  • Amanda "Callie" Caroline McClure (I don't know much about her--yet)
Another of hubby's ancestors lived in Indiana: His uncle John Andrew Wood, who married Rita Goodin on April 7, 1951 in Crown Point, Indiana and was an area supervisor for du Pont in East Chicago, Indiana for many years. Although family legend has it that John was mostly estranged from his three brothers (Wally, Ed, and Ted Wood), I know from Ed's diary that John and his wife Rita were in touch with Ed from time to time and they even visited each other once in a great while. How the "estrangement" story got started, I don't know...

As usual, thanks to Jim Sanders for this week's genealogy blogging prompt.

A special thank you to Harold of Midwestern Microhistory blog, who just posted news of thousands more Indiana marriage records being available at Family Search (click here). If you're researching Indiana ancestors, check out Harold's blog.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Experimenting with Facebook for Genealogy

Can Facebook help me research the Benjamin McClure family?

I've been tracing the McClure family tree, and I know that Benjamin is hubby's g-g-grandpa on his father's side. Earlier this year, I finally located this ancestor's obituary (complete with woodcut portrait, above).

Erin, the program chair and a recent speaker at my local genealogy club, suggested creating a "public figure" page on Facebook to try to attract other researchers and distant relatives who are interested in a certain family or ancestor.

I'm trying a variation of that idea. I created a FB account as Benji, uploaded this woodcut as his profile photo, and have been posting a little about his life to fill out his Facebook page. I've also friended him from my real FB account and explained to my fam and friends that Benji's account is an experiment.

His account is Benjamin.McClure.35 (so if you search for him, you'll probably have to use this "name" because there are too many guys of this name on FB).*

Since Benji's birthday is April 30, 1812, I couldn't enter that info into FB. Instead, I gave him a bday that's exactly one century later. I showed his "location" as Wabash, Indiana, where he lived for most of his life. His profession is "genealogy researcher." LOL! (In reality, he was a farmer.)

What I REALLY want to find out is whether Benji's parents and grandparents were from Donegal. His parents are John McClure and Ann McFall McClure.

And of course, if any cousins are out there, I do hope they'll send a friend request.

* For followup, please see my post here

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Wm Madison McClure & Margaret Larimer McClure of Wabash, IN

The Wabash Carnegie Public Library is a good source of genealogical info for folks like me, who are tracing ancestors in Indiana via long-distance. They're so busy that sometimes it takes a few months to process a request, but yesterday I was delighted to receive the obits for William Madison McClure (1849-1887) and Margaret Jane Larimer McClure (1854-1913), my husband's maternal g-grandparents. There was a bit of a surprise in William's obit when we learned he was a victim of typhoid fever.

Here's where Margaret Jane Larimer McClure is buried, in Wabash's Falls Memorial Gardens cemetery (Indiana).

Her obit, in a nutshell, says she died at the home of her son, H. B. (Hugh Benjamin) McClure on West Main Street, on Thursday, 15 May 1913 and burial was 17 May 1913.

William Madison McClure's obit, dated 7 October 1887, says he died of typhoid fever "after an illness of six weeks." He was a member of the Presbyterian church (his father was an Elder) and he was of the "Masonic fraternity."

A search on Google for "typhoid fever wabash indiana 1887" turns up 16,000 hits, most not actually in that year. Still, it was quite a deadly problem.

I've added both newspaper obits to these ancestors' Find-A-Grave pages, hoping to help other McClure researchers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Obits vs Death Certs (Dig Deeper!)

Sometimes a death record is more informative than an obituary...and then there are other times when the opposite is true. Here's a case where digging deeper to get the obit was a phenomenal help and broke down a long-standing brick wall.

I've been looking for Benjamin McClure's ancestors. He's my hubby's great-great-grandfather and for years I've actively sought his parents' names.

The very nice folks in Friends of Falls Cemetery in Wabash, Indiana, have photographed his grave for Find a Grave and "calculated" relationships with other relatives buried there (correctly). They (and I) had no way of knowing that Benjamin didn't die in Wabash--he died in Conway, Michigan.

Finally, I got a clue and checked Family Search's Michigan Deaths/Burial Index, finding this:

Just to be sure, I ordered the microfilm and checked it and this is a mostly accurate transcription, from a ledger book that summarizes all deaths in Michigan, by county, during that year. I just didn't believe everything it says. The birth year is right, but the death date is one day off. And it's VERY unlikely that Benjamin and his parents were from New York, and the name "Enos" appears nowhere else in the family. What I really needed was to see his obit.

The kind librarian in Petoskey, Michigan (near Little Traverse) sent me Benjamin's obit from the Petoskey Record of February 26, 1896. It told me that Benjamin, the father-in-law of locally-known Reverend John J. Cook and father of Mrs. John J. Cook, had died at Conway after a short illness. His body was brought back to Wabash, Indiana, where he had resided for nearly 52 years, but no mention was made of McClure's birthplace or other survivors.

Posting a query on a Wabash genealogy message board, I got a note from a historian who told me that Benjamin's obit had appeared in two local Wabash papers, and he gave me the dates, suggesting I send for these. I tried a few different ways to get the obits from libraries, but no luck.

Then I joined the Indiana genealogy Facebook group and, from one of their posts, got the idea to contact the Indiana State Library.

Bingo! They quickly sent me the obit (excerpted at left) for Benjamin -- which includes his likeness. It includes a very complete family history. Benjamin, as I strongly suspected, wasn't born in NY, he was born in Ohio. His parents were John McClure and Ann McFall McClure. What a gold mine!

Thank you, wonderful librarians of Indiana State Library! Now I have literally dozens of leads to follow, including exact counties where the McClures lived and the dates. Digging deeper made the difference.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sympathy Saturday: Mary Ann McClure Cook

My ongoing quest for info about the McClures of Wabash, Indiana and Little Traverse, Michigan, has led me to the obit for Mrs. Mary Ann McClure Cook. She died on January 5, 1901 and her obit, published on January 9, 1901 in the Petoskey Record, mentions friends but NO family members other than her husband:
Mrs. Mary A. Cook, the wife of Rev. John J. Cook, of Conway, died at her home on Saturday last. Mrs. Cook was one of the best-known women about there, having lived in this country for more than twenty-five years. She was much loved and highly respected by old and young, and her death will be felt by all. The funeral was held Monday morning. Rev. John Redpath and Rev. Mr. Snawhan going from here to attend the services.
I already knew, checking Census records, that Mary Ann and John had no children (and never did, according to the Census). Now that I know something about Mary Ann, it's back to researching her siblings!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Church Record Sunday: The McClures in Wabash County, Indiana

I'd love to see church records for Benjamin and Sarah McClure, both of whom died in Wabash County, IN, and are buried in Falls Memorial Gardens cemetery. The McClures are ancestors of my husband, but I can't get any further back in the McClure line without their parents' names (and Sarah's maiden name).
Benjamin McClure, born in 1812, died in Wabash County on Feb 21, 1896 
Sarah McClure was born in 1811 (I think) and died in Wabash County on July 29, 1888 
Unfortunately, the county clerk has no record of their deaths, and these dates are too early for their records to be on file in statewide archives. The county clerk suggested I check church records, a good idea once I figure out which church they might have attended and/or had their funeral in! As a start, I've written for information from the "friends" group that posted the McClure grave photos on Find-a-Grave. Maybe I'll get lucky?! 
Update: The historian who researched the McClures for the cemetery just wrote me back  to suggest I contact the Wabash Pres. Church where Benjamin was an elder, saying the church maintains excellent records. I'm going to do that. Thank you to this genealogy "angel" for the great idea!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Time Travel: 1812, When Benjamin McClure Was Born

Benjamin McClure, born in April, 1812 in Ohio, was among the early settlers of Wabash, Indiana (where he died in 1896). According to Wabash County Early Settlers, he and his wife Sarah and their son, Theodore W. McClure, came to Wabash in September, 1844. Benjamin is hubby's great-great-grandpa.

In this latest entry of my "time travel" series, I try to imagine a little of what life was like for Benjamin and family in the Ohio of 1812.

T-shirt keeps Benji alive for next generation!
The 1812 War was the big news in Benjamin's birth year, but it was also the year Louisiana became a U.S. state (as Google News Timeline reminded me).
  • Did war touch the McClure family? I don't know for certain. Benjamin was born a few months before America declared war on Britain in 1812. According to Ohio History Central, some former British soldiers were settled in Ohio and gave firearms to native Americans to resist the westward expansion of colonists. Once US forces won the war and the British gave up their claims, this practice ended. But war was in the air around the world: Napoleon was trying to expand France's claims in Europe and in Russia (!). The US was still a young nation and I imagine that the McClure family was uncertain about the country's ability to survive, let alone thrive.
  • Ohio was a fast-growing farm state. Admitted to the Union in 1803, Ohio had 230,000 residents at the time of the 1810 Census (and more than double that amount by the 1820 Census). Most were farmers, but during Benjamin McClure's lifetime, Ohio's industry developed rapidly because of ore deposits and other natural resources. Having access to water and good roads helped build the business base (steamboats were just being introduced in Ohio when Benjamin was born). Some settlers may have been attracted by the fact that Ohio tolerated diverse religions. I'm certain that Benjamin's parents were farmers, not refugees in search of a haven from persecution. Home was probably a simple cabin on the farm property, with no frills, at least in the early days. Later, with prosperity and more land, the family's home was more elaborate.
  • Financial ups and downs. Just a few years after Benjamin was born, the Panic of 1819 prompted bankruptcies and financial turmoil in Ohio and many other states. Farmers were certainly not exempt from the problems, although I imagine that Benjamin's family was fairly self-sufficient because of the farm. That said, weather extremes must have caused the McClures hardships and worries. They also needed to get through the winters financially and weather hot/dry summers that threatened crops. How did they manage their money? The family was large, as most were in that time, and yet Benjamin had enough money to acquire 80 acres in Wabash by at least 1875. Very impressive.