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Biography of Rufus McLelland

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Rufus McLelland

Rufus McLelland

This worthy citizen has made his home in south Missouri and this county since 1851, and by his upright, honorable career has won the respect and confidence of all. He was born May 17, 1822, in North Carolina, of which State his parents, William R. and Clarissa (Crawford) McLelland, were also natives.

The father was a prominent business man and a large slave owner although he prayed for the day to come that would set the slaves free. That day he was not destined to see, for he died before the war. He passed away in North Carolina, as did also his wife. Our subject was one of a large family and he grew to manhood on the old plantation of his father, four miles northwest of Statesville, N. C. His education was received in the common schools of his day, and he was married in his native State to Miss Mira Piercey, daughter of Squire W. W. Piercey, who was a surveyor and prominent man in the Old North State.

Mr. and Mrs. McLelland came to this county in 1851, and were forty-seven days on the road. Mr. McLelland stopped at Thomasville, then the county seat of this county, and made the acquaintance of Judge Couch, by whom he was persuaded to stop in this section of the country. He located in what is now Oregon County, became a very successful stockman and made money. At the time of the breaking out of the Civil War he was obliged to sell his farm, and he then moved to Greene County, Missouri, where he bought a small farm. During the war he held the office of county clerk in Oregon County. He bought another farm near Ash Grove, and about two years later he returned and located in Oregon County. In 1855 he came to this county and located in West Plains, where he built a home. Two years later he moved to his farm in this county and there resided until 1893, when he again returned to the town. He is now retired from active business. Mr. McLelland has a farm of 333 acres seven miles east of West Plains.

He is a Democrat in politics and his first presidential vote was cast for Polk and Taylor. He enlisted in the army during the Mexican War, but it ended before he reached the scene of battle. By his union with Miss Piercey he became the father of eight children: William W., James R., Wellington, John E., George W., Alfred B., Elizabeth and Eliza. Mr. McLelland’s second union was with the Widow Crawley, who died soon after marriage. He then married the Widow Campbell. Mr. McLelland is a Mason.

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