Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 196] editor and proprietor of the New Castle Democrat, was born in New Castle, Jan. 23, 1844, and is a son of Thomas McCleary, and a grandson of Samuel McCleary, who was born in the north of Ireland, and came to this country when a boy. He settled in Lawrence County, and became a large land-owner—his property being located just across the Shenango River from what is now New Castle, and which is now the site of West New Castle. He was one of the first merchants of Lawrence County, and was engaged in mercantile business at the time of his death, which occurred in 1844, when he was aged fifty-eight years. He married Nancy Gordon, whose parents were born in Ireland, but who, herself, was born on board ship in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, when many days from land; she died in 1864, when sixty-five years of age. They reared the following children: William, deceased; Thomas, deceased; Jane (Moorhead), deceased. Eliza (Spiese); Samuel, deceased; James, deceased; John N., deceased,: Joseph W.; Amanda (Paisley), deceased; Eben Scott; and Leander, deceased.

Thomas McCleary was born in New Castle, and there grew up to manhood, obtaining his education in the public schools. When a young man he embarked in the grocery business in his native town, and was thus identified with its commercial life for thirty-five years, and after retiring from the grocery business was engaged in representing insurance companies a number of years. His death took place in 1889, at which time he had attained an age of seventy-five years. He was a Democrat and always interested and active in party matters, and eager to engage in political discussions. Religiously, he favored the Presbyterian Church. He married Rhoda Galbreath, daughter of Judge Ephraim Galbreath of Blair County, Pa.: she died in 1855, leaving five children, as follows: Samuel; Amanda C.; Calvert; Thomas J., our subject; Joseph B.; and Charles G. He married for his second wife Mrs. Mary Frampton, who died in 1887.

Thomas J. McCleary received his education in the schools of New Castle, and at the age of fourteen commenced his apprenticeship as a printer under E. S. Durban, and was afterwards in his employ as a journeyman printer. In 1861, he enlisted in the 88th Reg. Ohio Vol., Inf., Co. D, and after serving the period of his enlistment he returned to New Castle, and went into the grocery business with his father, remaining with him three years. He then went to New York City, where he spent six months, and from there to San Francisco, where he worked for a time at his trade. After returning to New Castle, he went to Texas in 1875, where he remained until 1881, when he again returned to New Castle, and bought William Gordon's interest in the Democrat; in 1883 he secured entire control of the paper and plant by purchasing the interest of his partner, G. W. Penn, and since that time has been sole owner and editor. The New Castle Democrat is a weekly paper devoted to the best interests of Lawrence County. Mr. McCleary also engages in job printing work in connection with his newspaper business.

Mr. McClear married Ella C. Lynn of Altoona, Pa.; she died at the age of thirty-eight and left one son, Paul. His second matrimonial union was with Miss Lillian O'Donnell of Allegheny.

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

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