BIOGRAPHY - Benjamin H. McClure

BENJAMIN H. McCLURE, familiarly known as "Uncle Ben," is one of the well-known pioneers of Illinois of 1824. He is a native of Indiana, born in Posey County, June 8, 1818, and his parents were Thomas and Susan (Hines) McClure. The father was a native of Rockingham County, Va., born on the 15th of July, 1765, and the mother was born in Kentucky, December 23, 1774. Thomas McClure went to Kentucky in 1782, in the pioneer days of that region, when the Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers and still had most of the land in their possession. In that State he was married, and moved to Indiana in 1815, but in 1824, still seeking the frontier of civilization, he came to Central Illinois and laid a claim eight miles east of Springfield. Three years later, he removed to McLean County, where his death occurred January 3, 1847, at the age of eighty-two years.

Our subject, Benjamin H. McClure, accompanied his parents to McLean County in 1827, being then nine years of age. He was reared to manhood on his father's farm, receiving little or no educational advantages, on account of the newness of the settlements. One of the important events in his life was his marriage, October 13, 1835, in McLean County, at Stout's Grove, with Miss Frances Killiam, a daughter of John and Sarah (Shackelford) Killiam. Mrs. McClure was born in Casey County, Ky., May 1, 1811, and in 1824 came with her parents to Illinois.

Mr. McClure and his estimable wife have become the parents of nine children: John T. married Jane Deal and makes his home in Drummer Township, Ford County; William F., a resident of Pearl County, Miss., wedded Augusta McClure; Sarah J. died in childhood, at the age of eight years; Susan Elizabeth is the wife of Milton Bailey, of Gibson City; Mary Ellen died when eight years old; James Marion was united in marriage with Josephine Hall and resides in Plaquemine, La.; Harriet Newell is the wife of the Hon. John H. Collier, of Gibson City, of whom see a sketch elsewhere in this work; Frances P. died at the age of four years; and one child died in infancy.

Mr. McClure was engaged in agricultural pursuits in McLean County until 1868, when he removed to Ford County, settling in Drummer Township, some four miles northwest of Gibson City, where he made his home until 1876, when he went to Gibson without disposing of his land. The farm contains one hundred and fifty-six acres of good arable land and is still the property of our subject.

In early life, Mr. McClure was an old-line Whig and cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison for President in 1840. He joined the Republican party on its organization, and still supports it with his ballot. He has held a number of township offices, among which are those of Supervisor and Road Commissioner. He was reared under the auspices of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and united with that denomination in 1845. His wife joined at the same time, and they have now for nearly fifty years been devoted members of that church and active workers in their Master's vineyard. Mr. McClure has been a Deacon since 1847, and was made an Elder in 1869, when he helped to organize the church in Ford County. He is one of the worthy pioneers of Illinois and early settlers of this county, and this work would be incomplete without his history. He has led a busy and useful life, and is highly esteemed for his sterling worth and integrity.

Extracted 22 Aug 2019 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 258-259.

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