David MCCLAIN settled
in Shelby County in 1791 ( Jefferson County, Kentucky
Minute Book 3, Page 41. Deed from Nicholas & Rachel Ryland
to DAVID MCLEAN acknowledged.) He came with his son,
Alexander, and several orphaned grandchildren. His name
appears on the 1792 Shelby County Tax list. He was a
David was from Peters
Township, Washington County, PA where his named is listed
on the 1790 census. Prior to that his whereabouts remains
elusive, however, it is speculated he was born in Ireland
about 1713 and came to the Middlesex, NJ or Chester, PA
areas as a young man. About 1750 it is believed he moved
to the Frederick County, VA area. In 1774 he received a
land grant in Yohogania County, VA.
Alexander married Mary Gray in Shelby County in 1800.
David is listed in the 1810 Federal Census of Shelby
County in the household of Alexander and Mary. In 1811
David died leaving a will (Written 25 July 1803, Proved
August Court 1811. Shelby County Will Book 2 Page 462.)
naming his surviving children.
Many of his
descendants remained in Shelby and Spencer Counties. His
son, John, came from Bedford County, VA in 1812 and died
Christmas day of the same year. John's son, Thomas, and
his son, Robert were prominent farmers in the Mt. Eden and
Southville areas of Shelby and Spencer Counties.
In 1820 some of
David's descendants moved to Scott County, IN. One of
these wrote the book, Life and Labors of Rev. Matthew
McClain, by W.T. McClain, Published 1876, Indianapolis. As
with many endeavor of the kind many of the statements
about his ancestry are subject to scrutiny.
Around 1830 another
migration from David's descendants and neighbors began,
this time, to Greene Township, Parke County, Indiana. The
leader of this wave appears to have been Jesse, another
son of John. Jesse sold his property on Guist Creek in
Shelby County and homesteaded a tract of land in Parke
He was a founder of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and a
minister there for 40 years. By 1850 some of the Indiana
McClains had migrated to Andrew County, Missouri. Later,
others went to Utah and California.
As an interesting
side note, when John McClain came to Shelby County from
VA, he left a son, James in Bedford County. During the
Civil War James's sons fought for the Confederates while
their cousins in KY and IN fought for the Union.