Joseph W. McClurg

Joseph Washington McClurg (February 22, 1818 – December 2, 1900) was the 19th Governor of Missouri in the decade following the American Civil War. His stepfather was William Murphy.

Joseph W. McClurg
Joseph W. McClurg - Brady-Handy.jpg
19th Governor of Missouri
In office
January 12, 1869 – January 4, 1871
LieutenantEdwin O. Stanard
Preceded byThomas Clement Fletcher
Succeeded byB. Gratz Brown
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1863 – July 1868[1][2][3]
Preceded byThomas L. Price
Succeeded byJohn H. Stover
Personal details
Born(1818-02-22)February 22, 1818
St. Louis County, Missouri[4]
DiedDecember 2, 1900(1900-12-02) (aged 82)
Lebanon, Missouri
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceSt. Joseph, Missouri
Alma materXenia Academy, Oxford College


Born near St. Louis, Missouri, McClurg was orphaned at seven and raised by grandparents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his grandfather owned the city's first iron foundry. Educated at Xenia Academy and Oxford College in Ohio, he taught school briefly in Louisiana and Mississippi in the 1830s before returning to St. Louis to serve as deputy for his uncle, Sheriff Marshall Brotherton. At 19, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in Texas, although he never practiced. In 1841, he returned to Missouri to marry Mary Catherine Johnson. He was involved in lead mining and merchandising and created McClurg's Old Salt Road through rural Missouri to assure a supply of salt for his customers. In 1844, he would operate a store in Hazelwood (the first county seat of Webster County), Missouri with his stepfather.

In 1850, McClurg left Missouri for the gold rush in California, where he opened a miner's store in Georgetown (12 miles from Sutter's Mill). After two years, he returned to Missouri, this time to Linn Creek (now under the Lake of the Ozarks), where he established a thriving business supplying settlers and merchants in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and the Indian Territory.

An avid unionist, he was a delegate to the historic Gamble Convention in March 1861, in which Missouri agreed to stay in the Union. Although he was later to sign the 13th Amendment as a Missouri Representative, Joseph McClurg was a slaveowner until shortly before the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.[5] During the Civil War, McClurg was a colonel of the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, until elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1862, 1864 and 1866.

He resigned his last term to run for Missouri governor as a Radical Republican, a party against the re-enfranchisement of ex-Confederates. He served a two-year term and with Radical Republicanism falling from favor, lost his bid for re-election. In 1886, he accompanied his son, Joseph, and his daughter, Fannie along with her six children, to homestead in the Dakota Territory. It was an entrepreneurial venture made promising on the basis of several years of mild weather; however, the winter of 1886-87 was a famously cruel one that convinced the family to return to Missouri. He was appointed Registrar of Lands at Springfield before returning to Lebanon, Missouri, where he died in 1900.


  1. ^ Macon Argus, July 29, 1868
  2. ^ New-York Tribune, August 04, 1868
  3. ^ The New York Herald, July 31, 1868
  4. ^ Missouri Historical Review. State Historical Society of Missouri. 1910. p. 189.
  5. ^ "JOSEPH WASHINGTON MCCLURG, 1869-1871" (PDF). Missouri State Archives. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2018.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Republican nominee for Governor of Missouri
1868, 1870
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Governor of Missouri
Succeeded by