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McClain/McLean History

HISTORY:  Before the McClain/McLean family migrated to Tennessee they had owned land in North Carolina and in Christian and McClain Counties, Kentucky.   Matthew McClain our great grandfather, was the second son of Martin and Nancy Jane Beckum.  He married Amelia Velina "Bettie" Kilpatrick.  Matthew and his brothers owned and operated a saw mill.  He was constable and magistrate and once said had seen more weddings and heard more trials than he could count.  In 1910 the County Court of Lewis County appointed him Sheriff to fill a vacancy of the Sheriff who had died.  Matthew was later elected Sheriff and served until 1916.  During that time Matthew and his family made their home in the living quarters of the jail at Hohenwald, in Lewis Co., Tennessee.  Later, Matthew served as a guard at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville of Davidson County, Tennessee and at the Criminal Insane Asylum in that city.  In 1942 his son, Felix Martin was fatally injured in an accident on the job as brakeman for the L & N Railroad, in Alabama, this is when Matthew and his family moved back to Hohenwald in Lewis County.
Betty Kilpatrick McClain, our great grandmother, was the daughter of ***William A. Kilpatrick (b: 8 Oct 1843 d: 2 Nov 1874) and Mary Melvina Cooper Kilpatrick Whitwell (b: 13 Jan 1846  Newberg, Lewis Co., Tennessee  d:  8 Dec 1938 Maury Co., Tennessee; the daughter of Lt. William McAdams Cooper CSA and Louisa Elizabeth (Eliza Toombs).  William A. and Mary Melvina Kilpatrick were our great great grandparents.  Bettie "Grandmama Clain", never knew her father.  He died in November before she was born in February.  Her great grandfather, Col. Robert Melville Cooper became very attracted to Bettie and gave her a silver spoon which he had brought with him from South Carolina over the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Her mother, Mary Melvina had visited the Cooper family in Laurel, Mississippi going by boat.  She had a family chest which the Coopers' had brought back from Mississippi and was later given to her sister, Thelma.  Mary Melvina also had the family Bible, marriage certificate of William McAdams Cooper and Elizabeth Toombs, but the latter was destroyed.  Bettie kept her mother's Bible and the records in it have been used for compiling some of this family data.  Mary Melvina's father William McAdams Cooper was the first Major of Lewis County and her grandfather Col. Robert Melville Cooper was the county Clerk.
My Aunt Helen Jane Pinkley told me that Grandmama Clain ran a pretty tight household, and was a very good cook.

Census: 1880, Lewis Co, TN census: age 6, fam #339; Fact 1: Info per Mt. Joy Church book; Fact 2: Info from Lewis Co, Tn WPA records; Fact 3: was Constable, Magistrate & Sheriff of Lewis Co, TN
*Lewis Co. census  Ref #2131
**Marriage record from Whitwell Bible records in Lewis Co., Tn  WPA book, p.26
***Hugh Cooper Fishing Creek and His Decendants by Lillian L. Word Roberts

Children of Matthew and Elizabeth Kilpatrick McClain are: William Thomas McClain  b:  18 Jan 1895  d:  20 Apr 1968
Janie Melvina McClain  b:  14 Sep 1896  d:  19 Jun 1932; John Turley McClain  b:  16 Mar 1898  d:  24 Jun 1979
Felix Martin McClain  b:  6 Mar 1900  d:  12 Nov 1942; Capitola Black McClain  b:  18 Jan 1902  d:  5 May 1924
Gladys Catherine McClain  b:  29 Apr  1904  d:  16 Aug 1977; Alice Kennedy McClain  b:  4 Mar 1906
Birdie Madolia McClain  b:  10 Oct 1907; Lavonia McClain  b:  31 Jul 1909  d:  14 Aug 1987
Matthew "Mathie" Elizabeth McClain  b:  15 Aug 1911  d:  8 Mar 1913; Martha May McClain  b:  1 Jul 1915
Jessie Reba McClain  b:  7 Sep 1917  d:  17 Oct 1978

Copywrite:  Information above as presented 2004
Mary Robert McClain Richardson

Presented to this site for publication January 5, 2005 [some editing and arrangement by C. Wayne Austin]