|William John McClain
|Excerpt from BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, BELMONT COUNTY, OHIO
Presented by Linda Fluharty from hard copies provided
by Mary Staley & Phyllis Slater.
"History of the Upper Ohio Valley" Vol. II, 1890. Pages 595-596.
"WILLIAM J. McCLAIN, the leading contractor and builder, and a representative citizen of Bellaire, was born July 12, 1849, in
county Tyrone, Ireland. Joseph and Jane (Ellison) McClain were his parents, they were natives of the same county, the father
having been born in the year 1801. After obtaining as much of an education as was possible he went to work as a stone-mason,
afterward becoming a contractor, being engaged in this work until his demise in 1867. Joseph was the father of nine children, six
sons and three daughters. Six of these children survive their parents, the mother having followed her husband to the grave in the
year 1882, dying in her son's home at Bellaire. When fifteen years of age, up to which time he had been engaged in acquiring an
education, William McClain began work with his father as a stone-mason, and was engaged in this pursuit in Ireland until 1866,
when he came to the United States, and located in Belmont county, first working for John Duboise. After remaining with Mr.
Duboise for some time, Mr. McClain began contracting, his first contracts being in Bellaire. His success was not very flattering at
the outset, as he was unable to collect the money for several different contracts which he had completed in a satisfactory manner.
Through the kindness of Messrs Houge & Cowan, then engaged in banking in the city, Mr. McClain was enabled to continue in his
business, they having loaned him the the sum of $300 without security. From this time he had a very prosperous season until
1873, when he invested all of his capital in the Pittsburgh, Wheeling & Kentucky railroad, and the property that had been
accumulated during his residence in this country was all lost in this railroad. Continuing in his business, he in time regained his
losses and in 1886 purchased a large tract or land near Bellaire, where he opened a stone quarry. Mr. McClain soon after
founded a town known as McClainsville.This quarry has proved a very wise investment, he having built some of the finest buildings
in Bellaire and surrounding towns, and is also the builder of the Belmont County Court House and Jail, and the Orphans' Home, jail
and sheriff's residence of Monroe county. Mr. McClain's reputation as a builder gained for him the building of the Broad Street
Methodist Episcopal church of Columbus.
In 1870 he took Sarah J. Braiden to wife, and by her has had eight children: James, William J., Samuel, Bessie, Lillie B., Sadie,
Richard and Ora M., all living but James and Lillie. Mr. and Mrs. McClain are members of the First Presbyterian church, and the
former is also a Mason, and a member of the I. O. O. F. His political faith is founded upon the principles of the Republican party.
|Belmont County Courthouse
|Broad Street Church, Columbus, Ohio
|Belmont County Jail
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