Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


John Louis McClellan

A gallant soldier when the life of his country was in danger, a useful and progressive citizen in times of peace and a generous and kind hearted gentleman, John Louis McClellan of Denison can claim many friends in Crawford county. He became a resident of this locality soon after the Civil war, and as a contractor assisted very materially in the erection of the substantial buildings of Denison. He is now living retired.

He was born at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, April 7, 1838, a son of John and Mary McClellan, both of whom were natives of the Keystone state. The father was a hotel keeper and later a banker in Gettysburg. He died at the time of the Johnstown flood in his eighty-first year. He belonged to the state militia, attaining the rank of colonel in that organization. Our subject's grandfather, William McClellan, was a soldier in the war of 1812.

John Louis McClellan was the only child of his parents and was reared at Gettysburg, receiving his education in the public schools and at Pennsylvania College. After leaving college he learned the carpenter's trade, and just as he was ready to begin his business career the Civil war threw its shadow over the land. He responded to the first call of President Lincoln and enlisted in the Second Pennsylvania Volunteers for three months. At the close of this period he reenlisted for nine months in the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and after the term of his enlistment expired he once more offered his services to the government, becoming a member of the Twenty-first Pennsylvania Cavalry, in which he continued until the close of the war. He was a private during the entire period and was discharged at Gettysburg in July, 1865.

In 1866 he came west with his wife to Iowa and spent one year in Mahaska county, being then attracted to Crawford county, which has since been his home. He engaged in carpentering, bridge building and contracting and also in house moving. He built the old courthouse, the west brick school building and many of the most substantial structures of Denison, which stand as monuments to his skill as a builder.

On the 15th of April, 1862, Mr. McClellan was united in marriage to Miss Georgia Wade, a daughter of James and Mary (Filby) Wade. She was born at her grandmother's old home on the 4th of July, 1841, on the present site of the battlefield of Gettysburg and grew to womanhood in Gettysburg. When about fourteen years of age she began learning the millinery business, in which she continued until she was married. Since 1866 she has made her home in Iowa. Her father was a native of Virginia and her mother of Pennsylvania. He died at Gettysburg at the age of sixty-three years, the mother also passing away at the same place, aged seventy-two. There were five children in their family: Georgia Wade, now Mrs. John Louis McClellan; Jennie, who was killed during the battle of Gettysburg; John James, of Mancos, Colorado; Samuel S., of Peoria, Illinois; and Harry M., who died in Seattle, Washington, in 1907.

The father of Mrs. McCellan was by trade a tailor. Her grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution and was killed at the battle of Brandywine. Her grandmother before her marriage was Elizabeth Mills. Samuel Filby, the grandfather on the maternal side, was a native of Pennsylvania and a carpenter by trade. His wife was Elizabeth De Groff. They had four children.

Six children came to bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. McCellan, one of whom died in infancy, the others being: Louis Kenneth, now a farmer living near Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, who married Bessie McMulkin and has two sons, Joseph and John; Jennie Wade, who married Richard Cook, a railroad man in Monmouth, Illinois; Jim Britton, now a house mover of Denison, who married Ala Kinney and had eighteen children, thirteen of whom are now living, Georgia, Gladys, Mary, Martha, Bessie, Fred, Jim, William, Job, Harry, John, Russell and Louis; Nellie G., of Los Angeles, who married Fred S. Heffelfinger and has three children, Annie M., John M. and Kitty; and John H., who married Carrie Kelley and lives in Carroll.

Mrs. McClellan has been for many years one of the prominent workers in lines of philanthropy in Iowa. She was secretary of the National Women's Relief Corps and also state president of the same organization. Moreover, she has been national press correspondent, chairman of the national executive board, department secretary and department treasurer of the Women's Relief Corps. She has served as state president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and as member of the board of trustees of this organization. She was also interested for eleven years in the Benedict Home and at the present time is auditor of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union for the state of Iowa. She is recognized as one of the most active workers in the two great organizations named that can be found in this state.

Mr. McClellan and his wife are both adherents of the Christian Science Church and stanch believers in its teachings. He belongs to the John A. Logan Post, No. 58, G. A. R., and is now past commander. He has served many times as officer of the day and also marshal of the day on Memorial Day. Politically, he gives his support to the republican party and for three terms served as city marshal of Denison, being the first marshal of this city. In the discharge of his duties, both public and private, he has been governed by a high sense of honor and has been fearless in the support of what he believed to be just and true. He has won the confidence of those with whom he has come into contact and is admitted by all to be a worthy representative citizen of Crawford county.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.