JUDGE JOEL G. MCCLAREN, presiding judge of Ripley County, Missouri, is a man of superior mental endowments, whose reputation is not merely local but extends over a wide stretch of country. Like other citizens of the county he came originally from Tennessee, a State that has contributed so much of population and intelligence to his adopted State, and for the most part since about 1869 has been a resident of this county.
His birth occurred in Hickman County May 14, 1847, and there he received his scholastic training. In the month of November, 1863, he enlisted in Company G, Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, under Forrest part of the time, and in November, 1864, participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Following the war he turned his attention to farming and continued that successfully until 1868 or 1869, when he went to northwest Texas and was engaged in various enterprises there. Later he returned to Hickman County, Tennessee, but soon afterward moved to Ripley County, Missouri, and has been a resident of the same since. He first worked on a farm by the month, but in the spring of 1870 he went to Lawrence County, Arkansas, where he was employed on a cotton plantation for some time. For his services he received $20 per month. On the 10th of July, 1870, he married Miss Mary E. McClaren, and by this union became the father of four children, two of whom are deceased: James A., Ollie T., Robert R. (deceased) and Willie A. (deceased.) Returning to Hickman County, Tennessee, Judge McClaren resided there for about five months and then came to Ripley County again, and for some time cultivated the soil. He is the owner of 276 acres of land three miles south of Doniphan, and has 110 acres under cultivation. Most of the improvements on the place he has put there himself, and he is now one of the substantial and wide-awake citizens of the county. In 1876 he was elected sheriff of Ripley County, and served in a very able and satisfactory manner until 1880. In 1888 he was again elected to that position and reelected in 1890, thus showing his popularity in the county. He adheres to the principles of the Democratic party and received the nomination for presiding judge on that ticket. He is a man eminently worthy the confidence reposed in him by all classes, and his upright career as a public servant has won him a place in the annals of the county. He is a member of the Baptist Church. The Judge has shown his appreciation of secret organizations by becoming a member of the A. F. & A. M., the A. O. U. W., the K. of H. and the K. of P. His brother, Robert, was in the Confederate Army, Twenty-fourth Tennessee Regiment Infantry, and died at Bowling Green, Kentucky