Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JAMES H. McCLUER. We are always glad to revert to the lives of the old pioneers, for it seems that they had elements about them that are not found in the lives of men in the present generation; they seem to have been more courageous, more patriotic and more uniformly honest—it is at least indisputable that they were more hospitable. The stranger was always welcome and a guest need have no money with which to defray expenses of a night's lodging at the humble home of the early settler, and if he needed assistance in any way, he could always obtain it readily. There was evidently more brotherly love between men—a broader altruism. The change from such conditions to those of the present day is calculated to arouse regret. James H. McCluer, one of the oldest citizens of Greene county, has come down, to us from the pioneer epoch. He has lived to see vast forests melt away before the sturdy stroke of the conquerors of the wilderness and fine farms spring up as if by magic, and the country everywhere dotted with substantial dwellings in place of the log cabins, school houses and churches built in every community, and thriving towns and populous cities where once were the tepees of the red men or roamed at will the denizens of the wild, and he has seen the winding Indian trails changed into costly turnpikes and broad highways, where now speeds the high-powered motor car instead of the prolix ox-cart. He has not only been an interested spectator to all these vicissitudes, but has played well his part in the transformation. He can look back over it all, now as he stands on the threshold of his ninety-fifth year, with a clear mind and a good conscience (the fruits of right living), and recall many interesting reminiscences of the olden times, and can look forward into the mystic Beyond with no fear.

Mr. McCluer was born in Blount county, Tennessee, February 16, 1821, his people having been early settlers in the mountains of the eastern part of that state, not many miles from the Virginia border. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Mitchell) McCluer, the father born in Virginia, February 25, 1796, and the mother was born in eastern Tennessee, March 16, 1800. The father of our subject left the Old Dominion when young in years and located in Blount county, Tennessee, where he was married on January 28, 1819, and began life on the farm. From there he emigrated with his family, in 1835, to Polk county, Missouri, being thus among the earliest settlers in this section, of the state. There he continued farming with great success until 1858 when he removed with his family to Springfield, locating at what is now the corner of Campbell and Mt. Vernon streets, which at that time was at the edge of the village. Here the parents of our subject spent the rest of their lives, the father dying on November 20, 1884, and the mother passed away on November 16, 1865. To these parents eight children were born, four of whom are still living, namely: Elmira is deceased; James H., of this sketch; Morris Mitchell is deceased; Louise is deceased, Rufus lives in Greene county where he has long been a leading farmer and stockman; Avery is deceased; Elizabeth lives in California; and Caroline makes her home in St. Louis.

James H. McCluer grew to manhood on his father's farm and there he worked hard assisting in the development of the raw land for general agricultural purposes. He was fourteen years old when his parents brought him from Tennessee to Polk county, this state and here he received a limited education, in the old-time subscription schools, taught a few weeks out of each year in the primitive log school houses of those days. He began life as a farmer which he followed in Polk county, getting thereby a good start, and he continued general farming for twelve years after his marriage. In 1863, he moved to Springfield and engaged in mercantile pursuits, under the firm name of M. M. McCluer & Company, maintaining a large and popular store on the public square until after the close of the Civil war. The rest of his active life was spent in improving various properties and building, retiring a few years ago owing to his advanced age and is now living a quiet life at his picturesque old home on South street. He has managed well and his sound judgment and industry has resulted in financial success.

During the war between the states he was a member of the Home Guards and his service was confined to this locality.

Mr. McCluer was married in Polk county, Missouri, in November, 1847, to Lorina Bovd, who was born in eastern Tennessee, April 17, 1823. She was a daughter of Hugh and Levina (Williams) Boyd, who immigrated from Tennessee to Polk county in 1835, the same year that the McCluers came and there they became well established on a farm, on which Mrs. McCluer grew to womanhood and there she attended the pioneer subscription schools. Her death occurred on November 11, 1899.

Three children were born to James H. McCluer and wife, namely: Addie, born in Polk county, has remained unmarried and is living in Springfield; the second child died in infancy; Florence, the youngest, died in St. Louis, Missouri.

Politically, Mr. McCIuer is a Republican, as was also his father, but neither of them ever aspired to public office. Our subject and family are members of the Grace Methodist Episcopal church. In 1906, Mr. McCluer built and now owns the brick store building on the corner of Market and College streets, which is now a very fine property, He built many business blocks in the city.

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