Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


Joseph McCleary[p. 207] a dealer in a fine quality of building sand, which is taken from a bank on his property, and a large real estate owner of New Castle, is the son of one of the town's founders. He was born in New Castle, Oct. 1, 1825, and is a son of Samuel McCleary, and grandson of Thomas McCleary.

Our subject's grandfather was born in County Down, Ireland, and came to this country with his family, living only three months after his arrival. He had settled in Mercer County, near Mercer, and there left two boys and three girls. One boy died in youth. The other, Samuel, who was born in the same place in Ireland as his father, came to New Castle, and about the year 1810 purchased five hundred acres of wilderness, which is to-day West New Castle. He learned the stone-mason's trade, and worked at it a number of years, and being a practical, saving body, and not afraid of work, he soon had enough capital to go into business, and he accordingly built a house, where Allen's Rink is now, and kept a small store for some fourteen years, it being one of the very first stores in the town. He then began to clear his land, and to deal in live stock, buying cattle, and driving to Philadelphia and to towns along the Delaware, where he disposed of them to good advantage. In 1832, he built a home near the Shenango Glass Works, and began to sell off his property in lots for building. His death, which occurred in 1844 at the age of fifty-nine, was from dropsy of the bowels, which was undoubtedly brought on by hard work. His wife was Nancy Agnes Gordon. She died in 1865 at the age of seventy-eight. They had twelve children, three of whom are now living. This is the record: William, deceased; Thomas, deceased; Jane, deceased; Eliza; Samuel, deceased; James, deceased; Newton, deceased; Joseph; Amanda, deceased; Nancy, deceased; Scott; and Leander, deceased.

Our subject assisted his father in clearing the farm, and in attending to its culture, and upon his parent's death he inherited a tract of twenty-six acres, and farmed the homestead for his mother for eight years, when it was divided up. In 1854, Mr. McCleary built a house, which burned down in 1879; this he replaced with a handsome residence, which is a decided ornament to the street on which it is situated. He has sold many building lots, and now owns ten tenements, which are located on a part of the tract that came to him from his father. About the year 1857, he found on his land a fine quality of building sand, and since then has sold yearly about $1,000 worth.

Our subject married, in 1853, Miss Margaret Workman of West Virginia. She has enjoyed with her husband the highest esteem of the citizens of New Castle, and their friends are to be numbered by the score. They have had nine children, as follows: Lawrence, who died at the age of four years; Amanda, who died when aged three years; Wilfred Wallace, a carpenter by trade, who married Caroline E. Sicafew; Laura lives at home; Mary A. married L. L. Schafenocher; Carrie A. married H. P. White; the three younger children, Howard, Albert, and Maggie, are all young and live at home. Mr. McCleary is a Democrat, and has served fifteen years as a school director. His portrait appears on a preceding page.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 10 May 2001