Great-Great Grandparents    (Mother's Mother's Mother's Parents)

William McClane w/daughters Sarah & Mary & granddaughter Josephine Great-Great Grandfather
William McClane
with daughters
Sarah and Mary
and granddaughter

William McClane

Born: June 12, 1828, in Uniontown, Fayette County,

Died: August 9, 1887, in Benkelman, Nebraska
   at age 59

Sarah Pratt Hubbard McClane

Born: November 1, 1829, in East Hadden,
   Connecticut, the daughter of Mathew and Wentley
   (Smith) Hubbard
Died: September 17, 1866, in Granville, Ohio
   at age 37

Married: December 28, 1852, in Gallatin, Tennessee

Occupation: Merchant and tailor - he also manufactured the McClane's Erasive Compound

1876 ad -- Keokuk, Iowa, City Directory

The names of William McClane's parents and the location in Pennsylvania where he was born are not known at this time except for the fact that his father was born in County Cork, Ireland, and died in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

At the time of William's marriage, he was 24 years old. Why and when he went to Gallatin is not known. He was not listed in the 1850 census for the area. Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, is in the central part of the state about 25 miles northeast of Nashville, Tennessee, on the Cumberland River.

Sarah Pratt (Hubbard) McClane was 23 years old when they were married. Her mother had died slightly over a year after her birth. It is unknown why and when she left Connecticut, her birthplace. In 1850, when she was about 20 years old, she was listed in the Federal census as living with the Ezra Clark family in Gallatin, Tennessee. Since she was single at the time this normally meant one of three things:

  1. She was a house maid or helper for the Clark family.
  2. She had left home and gone west and was boarding at the Clark residence while she was employed elsewhere such as a teacher, etc.
  3. Her father was still living in New York or Connecticut and she was living with the Clark family as a relative.
Sometime between 1856 and 1857, after the birth of their first three children, the William McClane family traveled the Natchez Trail to Pontotoc, Mississippi, where their fourth child was born. Pontotoc, Mississippi, is in the northeast part of the state, about 20 miles west of Tupelo, Mississippi.

William and Sarah (Hubbard) McClane were the parents of probably eight children. The date and location of births found in a deteriorated old bible, census records and other family records differed on a number of occasions, making it difficult to determine their travels. Census records could not be found for the McClane family for either 1860 or 1870.

Case in point is the birth of their fifth child, Joseph D. McClane. One record indicated he was born in Pontiac, Michigan, but I believe they were still living in Pontotoc, Mississippi, at the time and as recorded in the 1880 census.

It appears that the William McClanes never stayed long in any one location. After their short stay in Mississippi (1857 to about 1860 or before), they moved to Michigan or more likely Clinton County, Iowa, living in DeWitt and Lyons, Iowa. (Lyons is now incorporated into the town of Clinton, Iowa). This is where three of their children, Susan, Frank and Mary McClane were born. I personally don't believe Susan is their child as the dates are too close together.

They probably moved north due to the start of the Civil War as some of the major battles of the war took place just north of Pontotoc, Mississippi, around Corinth, Mississippi, and Shiloh, Tennessee, which is within 70 miles of Pontotoc, Mississippi.

Sometime between 1864 and 1866 they moved again, this time to Granville, Ohio, where Sarah (Hubbard) McClane passed away on September 17, 1866, at the age of 37. When she died their children ranged in age between 2- and 14-years-old. Granville is located in Licking County about 25 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. There were other McClanes and Hubbards living in the area.

A search of the Licking county records did not indicate the death or burial of Sarah (Hubbard) McClane. The only record of a McClane was a John McClane who had shot an Indian squaw and had broken her leg. The squaw had later died. John McClane was sent to the penitentiary for twenty years for the crime. He died in prison after ten years. No relationship could be found between this McClane and our William McClane.

Sometime before 1873 the McClane clan moved back to Iowa to live in Keokuk, Iowa. In Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, William McClane was listed as being a merchant tailor with his business on Main Street between 2nd and 3rd street. He also manufactured and sold McClane's Erasive Compound for removing grease, tar, pitch, or paint from clothes or carpets.

Another reason they might have moved to Keokuk was that one of their sons (Joseph D. McClane) was later to become a surgeon and he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons located in Keokuk. They might have moved to Keokuk so that he could attend college there or, because they were in Keokuk, he attended college to become a doctor.

The McClane family was not listed in the 1879 city directory for Keokuk but showed up in the 1880 Federal census as living in Centerville, Iowa. Centerville is located in the south center part of the state in Appanoose County. This was the only census in which William McClane appeared.

The 1880 census indicated that William had married as his second wife, Sarah (?). She was born March 13, 1837, in Ohio. William must have married Sarah between the death of his first wife in 1866 and 1880 -- probably in either Licking County, Ohio or Lee County, Iowa.

In the early part of the 1880's they relocated again to Benkelman, Nebraska, which is in the extreme southwest part of the state in Dundy County. Benkelman was a small cattle town where most of the land was owned by large cattle companies. It was only a few miles from the Kansas border and 30 miles from the Colorado border.

In Benkelman, the family owned over a total of 640 areas of land.

A special census was taken in 1885 in Benkelman, Dundy County, Nebraska, providing the following information on their children. Although William was living there at the time, his census record could not be found.

  • James McClane - living with his wife, Mary, and their 4-year-old daughter, Sarah - James was a carpenter owning 160 acres of land.
  • John McClane - living with his wife, Clara, and their 4-month-old son, Eddie - John was a tailor.
  • Joseph McClane - living with his wife, Helen, and their two daughters, 3-year-old Loretta and 4-month-old Frances - Joseph was a doctor owning 160 acres of land.
  • Frank McClane - living alone at a rooming house - Note: Frank married later that year - Frank was a music teacher owning 320 acres of land.
The city directory for Benkelman, Nebraska, for 1891-01 listed a store, McClane & Sons. It was a general merchandise store. Since this was after his death, his sons were probably operating it.

William McClane died in Benkelman, Nebraska, on August 9, 1887, at the age of 59. His obituary can be found in the Keokuk newspaper of August 1887. He was buried in the Benkelman Cemetery, north of town.

Around 1890 most of the McClane family started to leave the area. It is known that some returned to Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa; others to Illinois. A number of pictures came from the Centerville, Iowa, area but also a number of old but unidentified pictures came from the Oklahoma Territory; therefore, some of the McClanes may have gone there before going to Iowa and Illinois.

William's second wife, Sarah (?) McClane, stayed in the area as recorded by the 1910 census. Although 73 years old at the time she was recorded as still working as a tailor.

Sarah died in Benkelman, Nebraska, January 31, 1917, almost 80 years old. She was buried next to her husband, William McClane, in the Benkelman Cemetery.