History-Willson, Wm McClellan, Williams Bios History Of Delaware County
T. B. Helm

Lora Radiches


On page 237 in this volume will be found a biographical sketch of Volney Willson, the father of the gentleman whose life is outlined in this article. John A., his eldest son, was born at Muncie, Ind., September 8, 1845, and grew to manhood in the community of which he is now a respected member. He acquired a good common-school education at the Delaware County Seminary, under Prof. Clarkson, and afterward attended school at Aurora, Ill, finishing with a commercial course at the Bryant & Strutton Commercial College in that city. After three years spent thus in completing his education and acquiring a knowledge of business, he returned to Muncie and accepted a position as clerk in the store of James McCulloch, and was subsequently associated with John Oakerson, a merchant of this city in the same capacity. He was thus engaged two years, and then entered the service of his father, assisting him in the management of his agricultural and live-stock interests, until the fall of 1868. In October of that year he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Elliott, of Booneville, Mo. In January, 1869, he removed to Cooper County, Mo., where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits until April, 1874. Returning to Muncie at that time, he soon afterward located upon the farm where he now resides in Hamilton Township.

Trained in the habits of industry from his youth, it became almost second nature for him to turn everything to good account in a financial sense, and he became engaged as a dealer in live stock, a field in which he met with flattering success. His annual sales of horses and mules have been quite extensive, and have returned him a handsome compensation. He is energetic in the prosecution of his business, and possesses a knowledge of men that prevents him from ever becoming the victim of of sharp practice on the part of others, while he is guided in his dealings by a sense of honor and justice which prevents him from practicing upon others anything to which he himself would refuse to submit. Among all who know him he is recognized as a man of sterling worth and integrity. Genial and hospitable in his home, and honest and upright in his dealings with the world. He has won the confidence and regard of all with whom he has been associated. His farm is one of the finest in the county, and his beautiful residence and tastefully arranged home proclaim the systematic farmer, and one whose heart is in his work. (See Willson residence below)


Capt. McClellan is of Scotch ancestry. His great-grandfather, Benjamin McClellan, was a native of Scotland, and having emigrated to America, at an early day, became one of the primitive settlers at Georgetown, Ky. William McClellan, son of Benjamin, and a native Kentuckian, was born in 1780. Growing to maturity, he married Miss Katie Criswell, and in 1816, after the birth of three children, they moved to Greene County, Ohio. Here he settled upon land adjacent to the present town of Cedarville, and in a recent history of Greene County, he is mentioned as having been the first school-teacher in the then hamlet of Xenia. He boarded and lodged at home, while his school was eight miles distant, and he walked this distance, twice each day, carrying his rifle with him as a defense against the Indians and wild animals. He died in 1863, at the age of eighty-three years. His son James was the father of our subject. He was born in Greene County, Ohio, December 5, 1817, and enjoyed the advantages of a good primary education at the hands of his father, who was an educated man. In addition, he enjoyed the privileges of the common schools, when not engaged with his father upon the farm. In 1836, he married Miss Harriet Beemer, and within a short time thereafter, engaged with his father-in-law, Frederick Beemer, in a saw-mill at Cedarville, Ohio. He was thus engaged until February, 1849, at which time he came, with his family, to Delaware County, Ind. Following his arrival, he located upon the farm, where he still resides, in the northwest portion of Center Township.

For a period of thirty-two years, he has been a faithful tiller of the soil in Delaware County, and has been highly respected as a citizen of integrity. He has reared a family of nine children, who have honored him by taking their place, severally, among the best citizens of the county. His children were William A., Frederick H., John F., James M., McHenry A., Julia F., George E., Charles A. and Katie B., all of whom now reside in this county excepting Frederick H. and Katie B., who are deceased.

William A., the oldest son, and the subject of this biography, was born June 27, 1837, at Cedarville, Greene Co., Ohio, and accompanied his parents to Delaware County, Ind., in 1849. He enjoyed the advantages of a good English education, and continued to assist his father about the farm until the spring of 1859. He then engaged as a clerk in the grocery store of his uncle, G. Beemer, at Muncie,and remained in his employ until August, 1862. The exigencies of the times demanding patriotic services, he abandoned his position and assisted in recruiting Company D, of the Eighty-fourth Regiment Indiana Volunteers. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant of this company August 14, 1862, and promoted to the position of First Lieutenant on the 6th of January, 1868. On the 28th day of February, 1865, he was again promoted to the rank of Captain, and was finally mustered out with his regiment on the 14th of June, 1865. He was with his regiment, principally, during its eventful and gallant career, and acted a soldierly part throughout the war.

Returning from the army, he resumed his position as clerk in his uncle's store, remaining thus engaged up to December, 1868. He then withdrew to occupy his present farm of 168 acres, in Hamilton Township. This land he had purchased in the spring of 1865, prior to the close of his military life, but did not build his residence until the fall of 1868, just previous to his occupying the same.

He was married on the 1st day of July, 1868, to Miss Lydia A. Blackford, of Delaware County. Five children have come to bless this union--Harry J., born January 31, 1862; Ney, born February 17, 1866; Wilbert E., born August 24, 1873; Bessie Katie, born October 8, 1875, and Robert H., born September 16, 1879.

Capt. McClellan is a man of sterling qualities; one who, by his upright life, genial, and hospitable nature, and a force of character, has won may warm personal friends and admirers. In politics, he acts with the Democratic party. In the progress of public improvements, and in the interests of public schools, he bestows an approving influence. Aside from the management of his farm, he is extensively employed by the county in the locating and construction of ditches and gravel roads. He is, indeed, an honored and respected citizen.


was born November 9, 1882, in Adams County, Ohio. This locality was likewise the birthplace of his father, Josiah D. Williams, who was horn October 21, 1800. John Williams, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, had emigrated hither from the eastern shore of Maryland at an earlier date, accompanied by his wife and a family of small children. He was a farmer, and remained in Adams County, devoting his time to agricultural pursuits, until his death, which occurred about the year 1858. Josiah D., his son, remained at home, assisting his father about the farm, until he was married, having, in the meantime, acquired a common-school education. On the 27th of December, 1821, he wedded Miss Emily, daughter of Solomon McCall, a native Scotchman, who had emigrated to the Ohio Valley among the early settlers. The McCall family have since become numerous, and still reside, in large part, in the valley of the Ohio, being identified with various trades and professions. Emily, the mother of our subject, was born April 6, 1800. Seven children followed her marriage with Mr. Williams, viz.: Maria, William McCall, John W., Mary, Duncan, Martha and Sarah J., all of whom were born in Adams County, Ohio, and the four youngest of whom are now living.

Hearing favorable reports as to the quality and price of lands in the wilds of Indiana, Mr. Williams came to Delaware County in the fall of 1835, and entered a tract of 160 acres in Hamilton Township, this being the farm upon which his son Duncan now resides. Returning to his family in Ohio, he brought them, one year later, to this tract, arriving on the 30th of September, 1836. Once settled at their new home, the father went to work diligently to clear and improve the land, while his devoted wife did well her part in the economy of the pioneer household, making the forest home comfortable, cheerful and happy. The family were devout Christian people, and active workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the father was prominent in helping to establish the first class of that denomination in their neighborhood. In politics, he adhered to the principles of the Democratic party; and while not a politician, yet, at the time of his death, he was serving his tenth year as Justice of the Peace for Hamilton Township. He always bestowed his influence and support in behalf of public enterprises, and toward the maintenance of common schools. He died December 11, 1855, his life, perhaps, having been shortened by the severe hardships and exposures of pioneer life. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and his word was regarded as being as good as his bond. His fair dealing, and his honesty of word and purpose won for him universal confidence and esteem in his community.

His son Duncan grew up on the farm of his father, assisting him in the summer and attending the common schools of his neighborhood during the winter, until the fall of 1850, when he entered the Seminary at Muncie, where, during two years, he pursued his studies with commendable results. Following this, he taught two terms of school in Delaware County, and, on the 23d of September, 1858, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah J., daughter of Robert Clark, of this county. Five children have blessed their home, namely Lucy, William K., Emma F., Z. Gertrude and Robert J., of whom all now survive save William K.

After his father's death, Duncan purchased the interest of the other heirs of the estate, thus retaining the old homestead, upon which he still resides. His mother was a member of his home circle until her decease, January 20, 1873. Like his father, Mr. Williams is a zealous adherent to the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is joined by his famiIy. He has clung to the political cause which his father espoused, and acts with the Democratic party. The confidence reposed in him by the community in which he resides is attested by his being called to serve them in the important office of Township Trustee. He is a successful farmer, a good business man, and honorable and upright in all his dealings.

Harrison Township
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