William L. McCleary, p. 192

WILLIAM L. McCLEARY. This widely known dentist is descended from rugged Scotch-Irish ancestry, his grandfather, Thomas McCleary, having, at an early day, emigrated to America from the mother country after his marriage in England with Mary Linn, a native of that country.

They settled in Virginia, and had the following family: James, Jane (married John Fowler), John (deceased when young), Eliza (married James Carr), Sarah (married John Fowler), William, Ewing (married Mary A. McGee), Thomas (twice married, first time to Kate Pryor, and after her death to Mary McGrew; he was a Methodist minister for over forty years, and a recognized leader in the community), Martha (Mrs. Lewis Carter) and Julia (Mrs. James Reed). The father of this family was both an agriculturist and a cooper, and after coming to Virginia he passed his days on a farm in Brooke county. In politics he was a faithful Democrat, and in religion a devout member of the M. E. Church.

William McCleary, father of the subject of this sketch, was born February 18, 1805, near Winchester. His father removed to Brooke county, Va., where he was reared and educated, and learned the trade of cooper. On reaching his majority (the farm being small and the family large), he left the parental roof for the purpose of carving out his own fortune, and being of a delicate constitution, he was obliged to look for such work as he was best able to perform. He taught school, took trading vessels down the Ohio, etc., and after a time he engaged to drive the stage then being run between Washington and Wellsburg. After driving for some months on this route, he secured employment as driver of a mail coach on the Cumberland road. Under this engagement he first drove from Hillsboro to Claysville, afterward from Washington to Wheeling, and during a portion of the time into Ohio. He drove in all about eighteen years, sometimes two, sometimes four, and on special occasions even six horses. During his career he was associated with men, most of whom are now forgotten, and many a tale would he tell, in after-years, of the excitement when the opposition lines were competing for public patronage, and when the orders to the drivers were "to make the time or kill the horses" (ten miles an hour); also of the not infrequent runaways, one of which well deserves to be perpetuated in history. "Mr. McCleary was driving a large black team from Triadelphia to Wheeling. On coming to Wheeling hill he threw the rubber bar down, but the blocks jumping out, the bar struck the off wheelhorse, which sprang forward, and in an instant the team became unmanageable and in full flight. Reaching the culvert at the foot of the hill, the coach turned over, hind end foremost, threw the driver in a hog wallow, and tumbled the passengers and mail around generally. Finding no one hurt, and the horses all gone, he ran for the postoffice to have them bring their wagon and get the mail in on time; for if he failed to get the mail to the office at the right time, he was liable to lose his position. Only one horse of that team was ever fit to be hitched again, and two of them were killed outright in the disaster." Mr. McCleary lived in Claysville six years; then, when Col. William Hopkins was commissioner of the road, he took charge of the tollgate near West Alexander (at which time the tolls often amounted to as much as $400 per month), and lived there nine years. It was not uncommon in those days for twenty or more stagecoaches to be in full view at one time, so great was the traffic. After leaving the toll gate, Mr. McCleary moved to East Finley township, and settled on a farm purchased of George Enlow. Later he bought three other tracts of land, two in this county, and one in west Virginia, all valuable. William McCleary was married January 17, 1836, to Susan G., a daughter of Thomas Wilkinson, of Hillsboro, Penn. Their children were Thomas J., James C., John E., Mary J. (Mrs. Robert Bell), Sarah E. (Mrs. Porter McCarrell), William L., Martha L. (Mrs. John Donely), Francis M., Lewis C., Martin L. (deceased) and Caroline A. (Mrs. William Wachter). The father died April 3, 1882, all his family being with him in his last moments, except one daughter who had died in her thirtieth year. He was essentially a self-made man, having started in life with naught save his industrious hands and a willing heart, and when he was called from earth his estate was valued at $50,000. He was an exemplary man in all respects, of unquestioned integrity and truth, a lover of home with its quiet cares and enjoyments. For many years he was a consistent member of the Baptist Church at Pleasant Grove, East Finley township, in which he held the office of deacon; in politics he was a pronounced Democrat, holding at different times various township offices.

William L. McCleary, the subject proper of this memoir, was born May 23, 1848, in Donegal township, his education being received at the public schools of the district. At the age of nineteen he came to Washington borough, and entered the dental office of Dr. Samuel Fulton, where he remained in the study of dentistry two years, and then opened an office for the practice of that profession, in Uniontown, Fayette county, whence, after a residence of four years, he returned to Washington. On November 3, 1875, he was married to Mary E., daughter of S. M. Brinton, of Allegheny county, and to this union seven children were born. viz.: Mariana L., William J., Sarah E. (deceased), Ruth G., Elizabeth B., Homer B., and Esther B. The ancestors of the Brinton family of Allegheny county came from England at an early day, settling in West Chester, Penn., and the grandfather of Mrs. McCleary moved thence to Allegheny county, making his home on a farm in the Turtle Creek valley, where he died. He was a member of the Society of Friends. S. M. Brinton, father of Mrs. McCleary, was born in eastern Pennsylvania. he came with his parents to Allegheny county, where he followed agricultural pursuits all his days. He was twice married, first to Elizabeth Donley, who bore him one child Robert. His second wife was Mary McGrew, a native of Westmoreland county, and by this union were born: S. M., Jr., William M., Mary E., M. H. and Sarah J. (Mrs. J. Howard Clark). Mr. Brinton died on January 16, 1890. In religion he was a member of the Society of Friends, and in politics was first a Republican, later a Democrat. Dr. McCleary is a member of the Baptist Church, and is at present serving as trustee. In politics he is purely independent; voting according to his judgment for "the right man in the right place." Aside from his profession he has diverse interests, such as oil and gas speculations, as well as various farming interests. He is a member of the People's Light & Heat Company and of the Tyler Tube works.

Text taken from page 192 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).

Transcribed January 1997 by Karen Souhrada of Pittsford, NY as part of the Beers Project.
Published January 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.

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