Joseph McClain
Born: about 1801 in Northern Ireland                Died: 1867 Tyrone County, Ireland
Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland
Joseph McClain was born in Ireland about 1801.

Family legend (gleaned from the Ohio McClains) is that the County Tyrone McClains probably
originated from the Lochbuie McClains of Mull, Scotland. It is likely the went to northern Ireland
as part of the Ulster Plantation settlement.  The family was Presbyterian.

Joseph married Jane Ellison about 1835. They lived in Beragh, County Tyrone, Ireland.
Joseph & Jane's Children:
Arthur                   b. abt. 1841  Tyrone County, Ireland                             d. 1889  Bellaire, Ohio
Mary                      b. Jan. 1842  Tyrone County, Ireland                            d. 1923 Bellaire, Ohio
Male Unknown     b. abt. 1843 - may have died young in Ireland            d. unknown
Rose                     b. abt. 1844   Tyrone County, Ireland                            d. unknown
Kathleen              b. abt. 1846    Tyrone County, Ireland                           d. unknown
Joseph Edward   b. 1848  Tyrone County, Ireland                                    d. 1925 Bellaire, Ohio
William John        b. July 12, 1849  Tyrone County, Ireland                      d. 1921 Bellaire, Ohio           
George                 b. Sept. 1854    Tyrone County, Ireland                        d. 1908 Bellaire, Ohio
Charles                 b. Sept. 15, 1855 Beragh, Tyrone County, Ireland      d. 1918 San Francisco, CA
Historic print of an Irish Common Man
about 1815
Three McClain sons were experienced in the stonemason trade like their father. Eldest son Arthur spoke for them when solicited about a stone railway bridge over the
Ohio River.  The story of how they saved the bridge was chronicled in the book
"Eliza And The House That Jack Built" by Albert Wass. According to this account Jacob
Heatherington was tasked with contracting the stone railway bridge. When an old stonemason that Jacob respected, Zeb McMahon, told Jacob that the early stone
supports would crumble, Zeb recommended  the McClain brothers:

"...three young Scotsmen came down from the hill to the abandoned site, looked it over, discussed it among themselves... the oldest asked...'Mr. Heatherington? My name
is Arthur McClain, stonemason I am... and willing to contract that railroad bridge if we can come to an understanding. Before we start talking there's one thing I have to
say... all that's standing must be taken down'. Jacob stared at him, shocked. 'Taken down? Just like that? Three months' work?' 'Sorry Mr. Heatherington. We know your
company is losing money but we can't help that. We looked it over and Mr. McMahon's right. Those columns won't stand up to the weight and vibration. My brothers and I
can't take the responsibility for what's there. It has to come down before we touch one single stone.' In June the three McClain brothers Arthur, William and George went
to work. The McClain brothers were kept on the job ...for three years. Slowly and steadily the bridge was put together, numbered stone by numbered stone. By the time it
was finished the stone quary on Moss Run had been bought by the McClains and it was called the McClain Quarry. They settled down and built their homes below the
quarry naming the place McClainville....[When the bridge was finished] Arthur McClain insisted the entire Board of the railroad company be with him under the bridge on
the Ohio side when the first train came across.  There were the gentlemen, all dressed for celebration, under the third column, looking up uneasily when the heavy
locomotive came huffing and puffing and rattled across overhead, pulling a  long chain of passenger and freight cars. Even the ground seemed to be trembling and
shaking around them when Arthur McClain calmly laid his big hand on the side of the support column he and his brothers had built.  'Gentlemen' he told them, 'lay your
hands against the stone as I do!' Guardedly they followed his suggestion. 'Do you feel anything?' McClain asked them. The good gentlemen in their black suits looked at
each other. In spite of the heavy rattle above, the shaking of the beams, the pounding of the wheels on the connecting rails, there was not even a slight vibration in the
stone structure. 'This bridge will stand for a hundred years' Arthur McClain said proudly. 'You have my word gentlemen'."
Joseph was a skilled stonemason and taught his sons the trade.

Many fine stone buildings can be found in nearby Omagh, the capital of County Tyrone.
Joseph died in Ireland in 1867. With few prospect at home, the older sons had begun  emigrating to America beginning
about 1860 where they settled on the Ohio River near the busy transport hub of the Wheeling/Bellaire area.
Joseph's widow Jane came to live with her sons about 1871 and died in Bellaire in 1882.
Joseph and Jane had 9 children. Though Joseph was a skilled stonemason,
things were very bad in Ireland in the mid to late 1800s.

The Great Hunger - An Gorta Mo'r - devasted Ireland from 1845 through 1852.
Over 1.5 million Irish died and another 2 million fled Ireland, decimating the population
by about one quarter.

It was during this period that most of Joseph and Jane's children were born.
It is a testament to Joseph's abilities that most of his children
survived the Famine years. There are three children who may have perished during that
time -  a boy and two girls, Rose and Kathleen.
The Great Hunger - An Gorta Mo'r - The Irish Potato Famine
Countryside around Beragh
"The Stone Cutter" by Jean-François Millet
If you are a related to this family tree by blood, you may keep a copy of any of the photos and information on this webpage for your genealogy research.
HOWEVER, you may NOT share with others nor post copies of the photos or information to other repositories
(such as  Ancestry.com or similar) or post them on other webpages without my express written permission.
Arthur's quarry also provided raw material to the Bellaire Nail Works.  Per the Bellaire Public Library's History page : "This plant consumed from 14 to 15 thousand tons of
limestone per year and this limestone was supplied by the A. McLain's limestone quarry which was located on Indian Run, Bellaire, about a mile west of the city. This
quarry worked on the same plan as a coal bank, with a tunnel into the hill. There was about 6 feet of first quality stone underlying the hill."

William J. McClain became a leading contractor/builder around Bellaire. He owned a stone quarry and built some of the finest buildings in Bellaire and the surrounding
towns, including the Belmont County Courthouse and Jail, the Orphan’s Home, Jail and Sherriff’s Residence for Monroe County, and the Broad Street Methodist
Episcopal Church of Columbus. These are wonderful gothic structures and fine examples of the art of stonemasonry.
A view of the 43 sandstone arches of the Great Stone Viaduct, and the
original iron bridge spanning the Ohio River in 1872, just one year after
the completion of the construction of the Bridge. This photograph
appeared in a book entitled “Photographic Images of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad: From the Lakes to the Sea”.
Construction of the foundations began on May 2, 1868 and the 3,916 feet bridge was opened to traffic on June 21, 1871. Jointly constructed by the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad and the Central Ohio Railroad, the new Ohio River bridge consisted of 1,490 feet of approaches. These appr
oaches now called the"viaduct"
portion w
ere fashioned to resemble a Roman aqueduct. The Bellaire approach included 43 arched spans, measuring 33 feet, four inches wide, each varying in
height from 10 to 20 feet. Each span c
onstructed of sandstone rises in varying heights 10 to 20 feet above the streets, from which are placed 43 stone arches
supported by 37 ring stones (18 on each side of a keystone) intended to symbolize a united Union consisting of 37 states.