Pioneers of Golden State- McCLURE FAMILY
contributed by; Carol Lackey
Mr. and Mrs. H. E. McCLURE of LeGrand
who are numbered among the few of
the real pioneers of the state. Mr. McCLURE last Thursday passed his
eightysixth milestone and last July the couple celebrated their
sixtyfourth wedding anniversary.
Pioneer, 86, Crosses Plain
Lived on as Death Hung Near
Special to the Republican- 1923
LeGrand, Sept. 8- On September 6, H.
E. McCLURE, of LeGrand, passed his
eighty sixth milestone, and on July 7, of this year, he and his wife
celebrated their sixty-fourth wedding anniversary.
Born in Sebastian county, Arkansas, of southern Colonial stock which
originally came from Scotland to settle in Georgia. Mr. McCLURE kept
alive the pioneering spirit of his forebears by "crossing the plains"
when but a boy of sixteen. He arrived at Stockton, September 18, 1852,
when it was but a teeming frontier town-- a commercial stop gap between
the mines of Tuolumne, Calaveras, Stanislaus and Mariposa Counties, and
the seaport, San Francisco. He saw Fresno when it was only a handful of
rough dwellings set down in a a barren plain. He farmed in Sonoma county
at the time the bandit Joaquin Murietta was terrorizing the villages of
upper San Joaquin and lower Sacramento valleys. He worked in mines at
Princeton (now Mt. Bullion) when blackberry pies cost a dollar a piece,
and eggs were an almost unobtainable luxury; and his first job in the
state was that of camp boy helper in the eating house kept for miners by
Captain "Bill" HOWARD at Mormon Bar in Mariposa county, when the
hydraulic mines on Mariposa Creek were being worked full blast.
In 1859, at the age of 22, he took for his bride Miss Frances HELM,
daughter of Allen HELM-- another pioneer who had crossed the plains in a
"prairie schooner, and who was himself a grandson of a southern
Revolutionary patriot. The ceremony, which took place on the HELM ranch,
was a social event of that day, being a double wedding at which the late
T. J. E. WILCOX, of White Rock, and Miss Melinda HELM, a sister of
McCLURE's bride, were also married. While the grooms were of mature
age-- according to our present standards-- the brides would today be
considered mere children. Mrs. WILSON being but 15, and Mrs. McCLURE two
years her junior.
With his young bride, McCLURE settled on a ranch near the Mariposa Creek
a few miles from the present site of LeGrand. Here their children,
George W, Louisa E, Mrs. Nancy Jane RANSOM, Emily F, and Mrs. Minnie
COUGHRAN of San Francisco, were born. And, there the family resided
until January 1, 1877, when they joined the migratory movement to White
Rock and became pioneer homesteaders in that portion of Mariposa County.
Here Mrs. Leona E LAIRD of Modesto, their youngest child, was born.
This McCLURE ranch, in the lower Sierra foothills, was for more than a
quarter of a century known the length and breadth of Merced and Mariposa
counties for its unfailing, old fashioned hospitality. And, it was here
that the aging couple raised not only their own children, but also two
grandchildren--Mrs. Viola RANSOM WOOD, of South San Francisco, whose
short story work is becoming well known in the magazine world: and Mrs.
Georgia McCLURE LIGHTY, of Dinuba.
In spite of advancing years. Mr and
Mrs. McCLURE are still surprisingly
active staunch christians affectionately called "Uncle Henry" and "Aunt
Bea" by relatives and friends, they represent the sturdy unassuming type
of Americans that are the very salt of the earth.