Biography of W. C. McLain

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W. C. McLain, farmer; P. O. Charleston; one of the very oldest settlers of Coles Co., Ill., being born in Ashmore Tp., Coles Co., Jan. 12, 1829; his father, Matthew McLain, emigrated from Indiana in the year 1828, and located in the above township, at the above date, where he lived until 1846, when he removed to Wisconsin, and the year following both he and his wife died. The subject of this sketch emigrated to Wisconsin with his parents, and after their decease returned to Coles Co. and was employed as farm laborer until 1851, when he rented land and farmed one year, and on March 28, 1852, started with three other ox-teams overland to California, going via St. Joe, Mo., Fort Kearney and Fort Laramie, crossing the Rocky Mountains via the Sweetwater Gap, arriving at Placerville, Cal., Aug. 16, of the same year, being nearly five months upon the road; here be engaged in freighting for several months from Sacramento City to Placerville, a distance of forty-five miles, and late in the fall engaged in mining upon Weber Creek until the spring of 1853, when he went to the North Yuba River, and engaged in mining during the summer of 1853, when he and his company, among which were two of his brothers, opened a mine, sinking a shaft 140 feet, which they named Galena Hill, and which has since proved to be one of the best deep diggings in California; working this mine until the dry season set in, when they worked seven months and flumed the North Yuba River, after taking the water out of the river and working one-half day in the bed of the river, in which they obtained $2,800, the flume burst in, and their seven months’ labor was lost; he then returned to Galena Hill where he engaged in mining until March 15, 1855, when he sailed from San Francisco, via Panama and New York, arriving in Ashmore Tp. April 11 following; he then rented and engaged in farming one year, when he removed to Morgan Tp., where he has since engaged in farming; he located upon his present place in February 1866, where he has since continued to live; he owns sixty acres in his home farm, upon which he has good improvements, mostly made by his own labor. He married Aug. 8, 1850, to Mary A. Galbreath; she was born in Coles Co., Ill., Oct. 18, 1834; she died April 11, 1866, leaving two children – Philena and Mary A. His marriage with Mahala Mitchell, daughter of John Galbreath, was celebrated April 14, 1867; she was born in Coles Co., Ill., Feb. 18, 1840; her parents were among the early pioneers of Coles Co., who located about 1830. Mrs. McLain has two -children by her previous husband, W. R. Mitchell, viz., John F. and P. A. Mitchell, now Mrs. Hugh Daugherty.

MLA Source Citation:

Chapman Brothers Portrait and biographical album of Coles County, Illinois Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887. Web. 1 February 2015. - Last updated on Oct 13th, 2011

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