Alexander Kelly McClure (January 9, 1828 – June 6, 1909) was an American politician, newspaper editor and writer from Pennsylvania who served as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1858 to 1859, the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 18th district in 1861, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1865 to 1866 and the Pennsylvania Senate, 4th district from 1873 to 1874. He was a prominent supporter, correspondent and biographer of President Abraham Lincoln. He was the editor of the Franklin Repository newspaper in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and of the Philadelphia Times. The borough of McClure, Pennsylvania and the Alexander K. McClure School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are named in his honor.
Alexander Kelly McClure
|Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives|
|Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 18th district|
|Preceded by||George W. Brewer|
|Succeeded by||George Hough Bucher|
|Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 4th district|
|Preceded by||Henry Wolf Gray|
|Succeeded by||Horatio Gates Jones|
|Born||January 9, 1828|
Sherman's Valley, Pennsylvania
|Died||June 6, 1909 (aged 81)|
|Resting place||Laurel Hill Cemetery,|
|Whig (before 1856)|
Early life and educationEdit
McClure was born on January 9, 1828, in Sherman's Valley, Perry County, Pennsylvania, to Alexander and Isabella Anderson McClure. He grew up on a farm and received little formal education. At the age of fourteen, he traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and apprenticed as a tanner. He traveled west as far as Iowa but returned to Pennsylvania after failing in the tannery business. He worked as a printer at the Perry County Freeman and the Juniata Sentinel in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
He became editor and publisher of the Sentinel in 1846, and became known for his Whig political views.
McClure was appointed to the staff of the first Whig governor of Pennsylvania, William F. Johnston, with the honorary rank of colonel. In 1850, Millard Fillmore appointed McClure deputy United States Marshal for Juniata County. He moved to Chambersburg in 1852 and purchased the Franklin Repository newspaper.
McClure became active in the newly formed Republican Party and was an outspoken abolitionist. In 1857, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and re-elected in 1858 and 1859.
At the 1860 Republican National Convention McClure became a well-known political figure, opposing fellow Pennsylvanian Simon Cameron's bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency. McClure and Andrew G. Curtin helped swing the state's vote away from Cameron and William Seward to Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln's election, McClure became chairman of the Republican state committee and helped to elect Curtin governor of Pennsylvania.
When the Civil War began, McClure rallied support for the war as Chairman of the Senate Committee of Military Affairs. He assisted Governor Curtin in planning a meeting of fourteen Northern state governors known as the "Loyal War Governors of the North", in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in order to secure their continued support of the war. McClure was commissioned by President Lincoln as an assistant adjutant general with the rank of major on September 6, 1862. He was tasked with raising seventeen Pennsylvania regiments for induction into the U.S. Army and served until he resigned his commission on February 27, 1863. During the U.S. Civil War, Confederate forces threatened McClure's home in Chambersburg several times. McClure was captured but released when General J.E.B. Stuart entered Chambersburg on his raid around McClellan's army in October 1862. The following July, Confederates under then Colonel Eppa Hunton crossed the Potomac River and destroyed railroad property in Chambersburg en route to the Battle of Gettysburg, but noted McClure's hospitality. Days before the battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Albert Jenkins was a guest at McClure's house. McClure personally met with Robert E. Lee during the second occupancy of Chambersburg by the Confederate army.
In 1864, during the Confederacy's third occupation of Chambersburg, when the town was unable to pay ransom demanded by General Jubal Early, Confederates burned McClure's home, Norland along with much of the rest of the town, The home was rebuilt and sold to Wilson College. The building that housed the Franklin Repository newspaper operations was also destroyed in the blaze.
In 1864, McClure moved to Philadelphia, opened a law office and helped Lincoln carry Pennsylvania again in the general election.
In 1865, McClure was elected again to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Union Party member.
After the war, McClure traveled extensively in the Western United States to recoup personal wealth lost during the war. He became an investor and officer of the Philadelphia-based Montana Gold and Silver Mining Company and was superintendent of one of the company's mills at the Oro Cache vein in the Montana Territory. He also collaborated with former Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin as an incorporator of the McClure-Curtin Oil Company in Venango County, Pennsylvania.
He returned to Philadelphia in 1868 after supporting Ulysses S. Grant at the Republican National Convention. By the time of Grant's reelection bid, McClure had left the Republican Party and threw his support to Horace Greeley and the Liberal Republican Party.
In 1867, McClure published "Three Thousand Miles Through the Rocky Mountains" and it became a resource by many interested in traveling in the West.
He also worked to heal sectional divisions between Union and former Confederate forces, including participating at the unveiling of the monument to Confederate General George Pickett at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. In 1886 McClure wrote The South: Its Industrial, Financial, and Political Condition, which included material on race relations in the South. McClure recognized that integration was necessary.
Death and legacyEdit
Works by Alexander McClureEdit
- Three Thousand Miles Through the Rocky Mountains. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1869.
- The Annals of the Civil War. 1878. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994.
- The South: Its Industrial, Financial, and Political Condition. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1886.
- Lincoln and Men of War Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration". Philadelphia, The Times publishing company 1892
- The Life and Services of Andrew G. Curtin. Harrisburg: Clarence M. Busch, 1895.
- Addresses, Literary, Political, Legal & Miscellaneous, Volume 2. Philadelphia: The Times Publishing Company, 1895.
- Lincoln's Yarns and Stories: A Complete Collection of the Funny and Witty Anecdotes That Made Abraham Lincoln Famous as America's Greatest Story Teller. Philadelphia: The J.C. Winston Company, 1900.
- The Authentic Life of William McKinley Our Third Martyr President: Together with a Life Sketch of Theodore Roosevelt. Washington, DC: W.E. Scull, 1901.
- To the Pacific & Mexico. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1901.
- Famous American Statesmen & Orators, Past and Present: With Biographical Sketches and Their Famous Orations. New York: F.F. Lovell, 1902.
- Our Presidents and How We Make Them. New York: Harper, 1902.
- Colonel Alexander K. McClure's Recollections of Half a Century, The Salem Press Company, 1902.
- Old Time Notes of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Company, 1905.
- "Pennsylvania State Senate - Alexander Kelly McClure Biography". www.legis.state.pa.us. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- The Valley of the Shadow, accessed June 10, 2008
- McClure, James Alexander (1914). The McClure Family. Petersburg, Virginia: Presses of Frank A. Owen. p. 177. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Alexander K. McClure". www.explorepahistory.com. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Pennsylvania House of Representatives - ALEXANDER KELLY McCLURE Biography". www.legis.state.pa.us. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- Laabs, Damon M. "Alexander Kelly McClure". www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- Eppa Hunton, Autobiography pp. 87-89
- Norland Hall Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine, Wilson College, accessed June 10, 2008
- Waterloo, Stanley (1896). Famous American Men and Women. Chicago, Illinois: Wabash Publishing House. p. 318. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- Osborne, John. "Alexander Kelly McClure". www.deila.dickinson.edu. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- Eppa Hunton, Autobiography p.88
- "Maj Alexander Kelly McClure". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- "McClure, Pennsylvania". www.mcclure1867.wixsite.com. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- Gerencser, James and John Osborne. In their own words- Alexander Kelly McClure. Dickinson College. 2004.
- Gould, Lewis L. “Alexander Kelly McClure.” American National Biography Online. 2000.
- Valley of the Shadow: Alexander K. McClure at valley.vcdh.Virginia.edu The Valley of the Shadow
- Mr. Lincoln's White House
- Pennsylvania State Senate - Alexander Kelly McClure
- Works by Alexander McClure at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Alexander Kelly McClure at Internet Archive