CHARLES L. MCCLUNG. - The efficient and popular assistant postmaster of Kansas City, has been a resident of the Sunflower state for fully thirty-five years and thus may consistently be designated as a Kansas pioneer. He has been an influential factor in the civic and material development of this favored commonwealth and was the founder of Empire City, Cherokee county, now one of the thriving towns of the state. Prior to establishing his home in Kansas Mr. McClung had rendered distinguished service in the Civil war, in which he was identified first with the army of the Union and later with the navy arm of the service. He has been a resident of Kansas City since 1896 and is one of the well known and highly honored citizens of the fine metropolis of Wyandotte county, where his standing is such as to render it specially consonant to give in this publication a brief review of his career, which has been marked by varied and interesting phases.
Charles Livingston McClung was born at Troy, Miami county, Ohio, on the 1st of August, 1840, and is a scion of one of the honored pioneer families of the old Buckeye state. He is an only son of Benjamin Franklin and Amanda Florence (Taylor) McClung, the former of whom was likewise a native of Troy, Ohio, and the latter of whom was born in Pennsylvania. The father passed the closing years of his long and useful life at Empire City, Kansas, where he died in 1883, at the age of sixty-five years. He was a son of David and Nancy (Smith) McClung, the former of whom was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, and the latter in Lexington, Kentucky. He was a child at the time of his parents' removal from Kentucky to Miami county, Ohio, in 1798, and the family was one of the first to make permanent settlement in that county, with whose history the name has been prominently identified during the long intervening years. The McClung family is of stanch Scotch lineage and the original progenitors in America were numbered among the Scotch Presbyterians, or Covenanters, who settled at historic old Jamestown, Virginia, about 1680, other prominent Scotch families of the new colony having been the Prestons, the Paxtons, the Lyles, the Grigsbys, the Stuarts, the McCampbells, the McCues, the McKees, and the McCowns. Mrs. Amanda Florence (Taylor) McClung, mother of him whose name initiates this review, was a child at the time of her parents' removal to Kentucky, where she was reared and educated and where her marriage was solemnized. The Taylor family likewise traces its ancestry back to sturdy Scotch origin. Mrs. Amanda F. McClung was summoned to the life eternal, at Troy, Ohio, when about fifty-one years of age. The parents were zealous members of the Presbyterian church and exemplified their deep Christian faith in their daily lives. The father devoted the major part of his active career to the vocation of cabinet-maker and his sterling attributes of character gained and retained to him the unqualified esteem of those with whom he came in contact in the various relations of life.
Charles L. McClung gained his early educational training in the common schools of his native town, where he received the advantages of the high school, and about one month prior to attaining to his legal majority he subordinated all other interests to tender his services in defense of the union, by responding to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers. On the 4th of July, 1861, he enlisted in the First Ohio Battery, and after this command had received about three months' tactical training, at Camp Chase, in the capital city of the state, he was assigned to detailed work in the quartermaster's department in that city, besides doing other service. He had been made first lieutenant in his battery, and this office he resigned in December, 1863, in order to enter the navy department of the service. He immediately enlisted in the navy, in which he was made acting master's mate. He took part in all the naval engagements along the course of the Mississippi river until the beginning of the Red river campaign. At the initiation of this expedition Mr. McClung was placed in charge of the steamer "Benefit," at the mouth of the Red river, and this was used as a dispatch boat after Porter had gone up the river from Alexandria. Mr. McClung was an active participant in the siege of Vicksburg up to July 2, 1863, when he was detailed to duty at the navy yard at Mound City, Illinois. In February of the following year he was detached from this service and again assigned to the flag ship "Blackhawk," with the same rank of master's mate. The fleet proceeded to the mouth of the Red river in April, and after the fight at Grapp's Bluffs, on the 10th of that month, one of the most spirited encounters of that expedition, Mr. McClung was promoted to the office of ensign. At this time he was transferred to the fleet on the upper Tennessee river, and by rank of office he had command of the same between Decatur, Alabama, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. In this important service he continued until the close of the war, when he tendered his resignation and received an honorable discharge.
After the termination of his loyal and patriotic service in defense of the nation's integrity Mr. McClung returned to his home in Troy, Ohio, where he was engaged in the grocery business for the ensuing year. He then sold his stock and business and in 1869 he went to California, where he remained nearly two years and where he held an executive position with the Bank of California, in the city of San Francisco. He returned to Arkansas in 1870, and there followed various lines of enterprise until 1875, which witnessed his arrival in Kansas, a state that has ever since represented his home. He first located at Oswego, Labette county, but soon afterward removed to Cherokee county, where in 1877, he platted the city of Empire City, which grew to a town of four thousand five hundred population within one year. Prior to this, in 1872, Mr. McClung had served as United States deputy surveyor in Arkansas, and, as a skilled civil engineer, he continued in the government service for a number of years, having charge of mineral lands in various western states.
In 1883 Mr. McClung removed to Columbus, the judicial center of Cherokee county, Kansas, and there he maintained his home until 1896, when he came to Wyandotte county and located in Kansas City, where he has since resided. In 1879 he was elected mayor of Empire City, and at the expiration of his first term he was re-elected without a dissenting vote. He resigned the office after serving one year of his second term, and thus was chief executive of the thriving little city for three consecutive years. In the same county he was elected county surveyor, but he resigned after serving six months. Later he was again chosen for this position, but he declined to qualify for the same. For several years he was engaged in the work of his profession in connection with railroad operations. In this connection he was chief engineer of the old Missouri & Northwestern Railroad and he also did effective work in connection with other lines. After coming to Kansas City Mr. McClung continued in the work of his profession as a surveyor and civil engineer, and incidentally he received appointment to the position of assistant city engineer, also as city engineer. In July, 1909, he was appointed assistant postmaster of Kansas City, and he has since continued the efficient and valued incumbent of this office. He is a stalwart in the camp of the Republican party and takes a broad and intelligent view of matters of public import. He maintains a lively interest in his old comrades of the Civil war and signified the same by his membership in Burnside Post, No. 28, Grand Army of the Republic, and in the Kansas commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
On the 21st of November, 1866, in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. McClung to Miss Anna H. Mackey, daughter of Dr. James H. Mackey, who was a native of Virginia and who became one of the representative physicians and surgeons of Miami county, Ohio, where Mrs. McClung was born, he was engaged in the active practice of his profession for more than half a century, in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri, in which last mentioned state he passed the closing years of his long and useful life. Mr. and Mrs. McClung have two children, Clarence Erwin, who is now a valued member of the faculty of the University of Kansas, at Lawrence; and Ella Blair, who is the wife of Wesley R. Childs, the present postmaster of Kansas City and a representative citizen of whom specific mention is made on other pages of this publication.
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