John F. McLean, sheriff of Idaho County, is a native of Indiana, born in Lebanon, June 22, 1843. The family is of Scotch lineage and was founded in America by Samuel McLean, the grandfather of our subject, who crossed the Atlantic with his family and took up his residence in Pennsylvania. He was a miller and millwright by trade, and after spending some time in the Keystone state, he went to Indiana, becoming one of the pioneer settlers there. He lived to be eighty-four years of age, and his wife, who was four years his junior, passed away at the same age. Their son, John McLean, the father of our subject, was born in Pennsylvania, September 21, 1809, and during his childhood accompanied his parents to Indiana, where he was reared to manhood and married Miss Alary ^filler, a native of the latter state. They had a family of seven children. The mother died some years ago, but the father is still living, at the age of eighty-nine years, and resides on the ranch belonging to his son John F., at Mount Idaho. He has always been a man of the highest integrity of character and good influence, and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his sterling worth, have frequently called him to positions of public honor and trust. For a number of years he served as justice of the peace. By trade he was a miller, following that occupation throughout his active business career. He has been a lifelong and consistent member of the Christian church, to which his wife also belonged from early girlhood. Of their family of seven children, three sons and two daughters are yet living.
John F. McLean, who is the youngest, was educated in the public schools of Indiana, pursuing his studies in one of the primitive log schoolhouses of the time. He then learned the miller’s trade under the direction of his father, and in 1867 went to Oregon, where he remained for four years. He then returned to Indiana, and in 1880 came to Idaho, locating at Grangeville, where for sixteen years he operated a flouring mill, doing a large and profitable business. His honorable methods and courteous treatment of his patrons secured him a good trade, and he continued in charge of the mill until his public duties demanded his entire attention. He was first called to the office of assessor and collector of taxes in Idaho County and in 18g8 was chosen by popular ballot to the position of county sheriff in which capacity he is now serving, discharging his duties in a most prompt and able manner. In politics he is a Democrat, and at the election he ran far ahead of his ticket, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him. He owns a splendid farm of one hundred and sixty acres, and on it stands one of the most attractive country residences in this part of the state. It commands a splendid view of the surrounding country, the beautiful Camas prairie, the town of Grangeville and the distant mountains in the background, all forming a picture of surpassing loveliness.
In November 1874, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. McLean and Miss Sarah T. Kibby, a native of Kentucky. Their union has been blessed with five sons, as follows: E K., who is now serving as his father’s deputy; C. M., who is married and follows farming; F. J., deputy tax collector; F. H. and A. E., at home. The mother, who was a valued member of the Christian church, departed this life in August 1889. She was a loving and faithful wife and mother, a most amiable woman and a devoted Christian, and her loss has been deeply felt in church and social circles as well as in her home. Mr. McLean also belongs to the same church, and socially he is connected with the Knights of Pythias fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having filled all the offices in both societies. He is widely known as a progressive and valued citizen, a trustworthy official and reliable businessman, and therefore deserves mention among Idaho’s representative residents.