John M. McClure was born about 1826, in Clinton County, Illinois. Census records give his place of birth as Kentucky, but we found his family in Clinton County from 1825 through 1836/37. John was the son of Stephen McClure and Sarah Smith.
John appears on the 1830 Clinton County, Illinois, census as a male under the age of five years. He was about ten when his family moved to Arkansas in 1836/37.
John appears on the 1840 Conway County, Arkansas, census in Hardin Township, living in the Greenbrier area. He is listed as a male between the age of 10 and 15.
In 1847, John paid a poll tax in Conway County, probably when he turned 21 and was old enough to vote.
In 1849, John's father acquired 160 acres of land near Quitman, in Benton Township of Conway County, and moved his family there from the Greenbrier area where they had lived for several years.
The 1850 Conway County census, Benton Township, Quitman Post Office, shows John, age 25, single, living at home with his parents. The census lists his place of birth as Kentucky.
John paid a poll tax again in 1852 in Conway County.
Conway County tax records show that John paid taxes on a horse in 1855. He is also listed as a non-resident land owner paying taxes in Van Buren County, Arkansas in 1855.
John acquired 160 acres of land in Van Buren County in 1857. (That area is now in Cleburne County, which was formed from part of Van Buren County in 1883.) John also paid a poll tax that year in Van Buren County. We found record of John paying taxes on this land in 1857 and 1858.
By 1859, John had returned to Conway County. He paid a poll tax in Conway County in 1859.
John married Larinda Russell on October 13, 1859, in Conway County. The marriage is recorded in Conway County Marriage Book 1, page 201. Larinda Russell was born about 1836, in Tennessee, according to census records. (Note: We believe she had been married prior to her marriage to John, and that Russell was her married name. We also believe she had two children from this marriage.)
In 1859, Conway County deed records show that John purchased 200 acres of land in Section 26, Township 8 N, Range 12 W, of Conway County. Deed Book I, page 124, shows that 80 acres of that land was purchased from William M. Poe on December 29, 1859. Page 131 of the same book shows the sale of 40 acres of that land to James Carroll on April 17, 1860. (The property John bought is located about 4 or 5 miles east-northeast of present day Woolly Hollow State Park in Faulkner County, Arkansas.) John paid taxes on his 200 acres of land in 1960.
John appears on the 1860 Conway County census, in Benton Township. He is listed as 36, a farmer, born in Tennessee. (John was listed as being born in Kentucky on the 1850 census.) Listed with John on the 1860 census is Larinda, age 24; a male whose name we could not read, age 7, born in Tennessee and Salina C., age 3, born in Missouri. The children were listed as McClure, but we believe they were Larinda's children from a prior marriage. The census indicates John's real estate property was valued at $300 and his personal property at $50.
Records show John paid taxes on 160 acres of land in Conway County in 1861.
On March 5, 1862, John enlisted as a Private in the Confederate 31st Arkansas Infantry, Co. G, in Conway County for a period of one year. The enlistment papers show his age at that time to be 43 years (he was actually about 36), born in Kentucky, and a farmer. Military papers show he quickly advanced to the rank of Sgt. At some time during his enlistment, John was moved from Co. G to Co. A of the 31st Arkansas Regiment. John's unit was engaged in heavy fighting in Tennessee. A muster card dated April 4, 1863, Shelbyville, Tennessee, shows John as being sick. (Sources tell us that disease killed at least two soldiers for every one that was killed in combat during the Civil War.) Records show that John died in camp on April 20, 1863, at Shelbyville, Tennessee. We believe he is buried at Shelbyville.
John's military card states that his eyes were blue, his hair dark, his complexion was fair, his height was 5' 10", he was born in Kentucky, and his occupation was a farmer.
We do not know what became of John's family after his death. We did not locate them again after the 1860 census and we found no record indicating that Larinda ever filed for John's pension.
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