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First Name: George

Last Name: McClure

Birthplace: Londonderry, IRL

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 1771

Date of Death: 16 August 1851

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
George McClure

•  War of 1812


George McClure
Brigadier General, U.S. Army

George McClure was born near Londonderry, Ireland, in 1771. He immigrated to Baltimore, MD, in 1791 and subsequently settled in Bath, NY, where he studied law. He was an attorney, served in the New York Assembly and as Sheriff, Surrogate Judge and Judge of Steuben County,

McClure was also involved in several businesses, including a gristmill and a ferry on Cayuga Lake. Experienced in the militia, in the War of 1812 he commanded troops under federal authority as a Brigadier General. In December 1813, while garrisoning Ft. George and Newark (now Niagara), Canada, with fewer than 100 men while American troops in New York moved east and prepared to attack Montreal, McClure responded to a planned British attack by burning Newark and retreating to the U.S. side of the Niagara River. The weather was intensely cold and the inhabitants, who had only been given a few hours' notice, included a large number of women and children They were driven from their homes into the deep snow, with little food and clothing. Only one dwelling out of one hundred and fifty was left standing.

After the British reclaimed Newark and Ft. George, they retaliated by burning Buffalo and five other New York towns and scores of innocent persons lost their lives. McClure claimed he acted under the Secretary of War's orders and cited instances where the British had committed similar acts, but his superiors disavowed his action and he never again held a command. Along with the U.S. military's looting of York (now Toronto), the burning of Newark was one reason cited by the British to justify their 1814 destruction of Washington, DC. In the late 1830s, McClure relocated to Illinois and was one of the founders of the town of Elgin.

Death and Burial

George McClure died on 16 August 1851 in Elgin, IL. Originally buried in the Old Cemetery on Channing Street in Elgin, his remains and most others were moved to Bluff City Cemetery in the early 1900s to make way for a school expansion.

Honoree ID: 2825   Created by: MHOH




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