Tracking our Ancestor
The first time I find John Alexander he shows up on line 16 of the 1850 Union County Georgia census.  He is 3 years old
and living at home with his family.  John Alexander is on line 8, his father, John, is on line 16 and his grandfather, Thomas,
is on line 33 of the same page.
Click on picture for a larger view.
John Alexander McClure was born July 17, 1848, in Georgia (per 1880 Census Repository Book and death certificate) and
died January 18, 1929, in Towns County, Georgia
(per death certificate). He was the son of John and Sarah McClure. He
married Martha Ann Townsend ca. 1866.  She was born May 31,1849 (per headstone in
Old Union Cemetery) in Union
County, Georgia and died April 11, 1927 (per
death certificate) in Towns County, Georgia.  
Cutout of 1850 Union County Census.
Click on the thumbnail to view larger image.

*Thumbnails of cut-outs are used to facilitate page loading.
John Alexander does not show up with his family on the 1860 Towns County Census, it is believed to be a clerical error
and the children are out of order.  (See the
Heritage of Union County article.) Martha appears on the Union County
Census for this year with her parents and she is 11 years old. She appears on line 17.
    John A. and Martha lived in Young Harris, Georgia (north GA).  The 1870 Towns County, GA Census (Line 9) lists
    John A (age 22) Martha (age 20) and oldest son Henry (age 3).

    He had a little land, worth $100 and $120 in his personal estate.  His occupation is listed as a Farmer and hers as
    House keeping.  Marks also show up in the Column for “Cannot Read” and “Cannot Write”.  Click HERE for the
    column headings.
Cutout of 1870 Towns County Census.
    The growing family appears again in the 1880 Towns County, GA, Brasstown District Census. There is no doubt
    it is the right family even tho the ages are a bit off.  John Alexander and Martha (31) appear along with children  
    Henry now has an occupation listed as “Working on Farm”.  Henry and Sarah have started school as indicated
    by a mark in the column, but it still says “Cannot Read” and “Cannot Write”.

    Although he was not in Union County in 1880 this may be an Ag report for his holdings in Towns County.
    The following is a good example of why not to use just one census for ages/dates.  Ages are not even close for
    John and the children, John E. and Margaret.

    In the 1900, 1910 and 1920 Census lists for Towns County, GA, John’s middle name has been changed to an
    “E” but the family is still correct.  Its clerical errors like this that makes hunting information difficult. I also think the
    ages vary according to who they speak with and not according to anything definite.

    Case in point –

    John is found on line 21 on the 1900 Towns County Census, taken in June.
Cutout of 1880 Towns County Census.
Click on the thumbnail to view larger image.
Cutout of 1900 Towns County Census.
Click on the thumbnail to view larger image.
    According to other sources, John should be around 52 and Martha around 51.  Despite the cross-outs this does
    not match up.  Henry is still 22 until the fall, when he turns 23. Margaret should be 24.  George is 18 until fall. (I
    don’t worry too much if it’s only off by a year.)  Mary is indeed 16. Amanda is still 12 until the fall, but is shown as
    already 13. Thomas and Alice (spelled Allsis) are the correct ages. James is now 4 having had his birthday in

    This census also says they have been married 31 years. This is a new piece of information. It also says she had
    12 births and 10 were living. However, when we get to 1910, it says she had 10 children and 9 were still living.
    Because they have all moved out, I don’t know who died between 1900-1910.
    The 1910 census (line 71) says the family lives on Stephens Mill Road – same road as daughter-in-law, America’s,
    parents. It is now Townsend Mill Road. Martha is said to be able to read but not write and John cannot read or
    write yet.  Margaret and Henry T. are still at home.                                                                    
Keep in mind that census ages can be off by a year depending on the birth month.
Cutout of 1910 Towns County Census.
Click on the thumbnail to view larger image.
    On the 1920 census for Towns County (line 85) John is 73 and Martha as 70 years old, the ages vary so much,
    but I am fairly certain this is the correct pair.  A grandson, Ira, who is 7 years old, is living with them.
Cutout of 1920 Towns County Census.
Click on the thumbnail to view larger image.
    John Alexander McClure and Martha are pictured in the article written about them in the Hearthstones of
    Home Foundations of Towns County Georgia book on page 165.

    The couple are also written about in the book Heritage of Union County Georgia and found on Page 230--
    231.  No doubt their inclusion is because of the changes in county names and borders that went on early in
    the history of the state.

    Her father, Elisha Townsend (b: 17 APR 1828; d: 5 AUG 1897) first married Sarah Caroline Anthony (b: 12
    SEP 1829, NC; d: 15 Nov 1886); Both are buried in the Old Brasstown Baptist Church Cemetery, Towns
    County, GA.  They had 10 children. One story said he also married Sarah Lorena Fleming and had 2
    children. Eli Townsend Sr.’s great-grand mother was Susannah Townsend. Martha Townsend shows up on
    both the 1850 and 1860 Union County Census before her marriage to John A

    John Alexander had two nicknames. According to family stories (per Aunt Savannah) he was called “Gobbler
    John” because he liked to hunt turkeys. According to the Hearthstones book he was also called “Fiddler John”
    from his talent as a fiddle player.I was really happy to receive the photo at the top of this page showing him
    and his fiddle!  The other one is within the article mentioned.
Children of John A. and Martha McClure:

  1. Henry Alexander McClureb: 24 NOV 1867, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; d: 23 JUL 1952, Brasstown,
  2. Sarah Caroline McClure – b: 04 SEP 1870, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; d: 05 SEP 1963; m:   William
    Arch Nichols on 29 JUL 1888; (b: 10 APR 1869; d: 4 JUN 1951, Towns County GA); Buried West Union
    Cemetery, Towns County, GA (Photos:  1903,  1913, 1950-60? headstone).
  3. John Elisha McClure - b: 28 June 1877, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; d: 22 MAR 1941; m: Artie Berrong
    on 25 OCT 1896
  4. Margaret Eliza Jane McClure – b: 12 MAY 1876, d: 29 OCT 1917. Buried in Old Union Cemetery. (headstone)
  5. George Washington McClure – b: 26 SEP 1881; d: 07 JUN 1959; Buried in Old Union Cemetery;  m#1:
    Lovenia Chastain; m#2: Minnie May Plott on 13 MAR 1904    
  6. Mary Elizabeth McClure – b: 15 APR 1884, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; m: Wylie Nichols
  7. Amanda Pelina McClure – b: 12 OCT 1888, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; d: 20 AUG 1975; m: William
    David Howell on 18 DEC 1904
  8. Thomas Calvin McClure b: 22 JUN 1889, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; d: 21 FEB 1945; m: Leila
    Justice on 05 JUL 1914 (b: 18 MAR 1894, GA; d: 29 AUG 1983); Buried in Old Union Cemetery.
  9. Alice Etta McClure – b: 28 DEC 1891, Young Harris, Towns County, GA; m: Arthur Stephens
  10. James Taylor McClure – b: 28 MAR 1895; d: 21 OCT 1961, Union County, GA; m: Edna Colwell (b: 20 MAR
    1898; d: 09 APR 1993). Both buried Old Union Cemetery, Towns County, GA
Use the Navigation Bar
near the top of this page to see
More about
John Alexander McClure and his service
in the Civil War
    This photo includes his grandchildren.  These are the daughters of “Tinker Tom” McClure, Henry and
    America McClure’s son. John Alexander McClure, Jennie (age 11) and Chloe age 2 (taken about 1925). I
    believe that is Tinker Tom with the horses in the background
And in Closing
    At some point, probably due to poor penmanship, his middle initial morphed to an “E”.  But looking at his death certificate,
    there is no doubt it is the correct man.  It reflects his correct birth date as being 17 July 1848, and that he was born in
    Georgia. He was married to Martha and his father’s name was John.  Unfortunately, no information is given about his
    mother. It also says he died at home of old age and of Brights Disease, which is an outdated catch-all term for kidney
John Alexander McClure (L) and Martha McClure (R) center of photo.
Application for his Civil War marker. I believe T.C McClure is his son Thomas Calvin.
Note:            Here is a link to a list of all McClure Family Burials in Towns County Georgia. Taken from
Click HERE to see Census Page Column headings.
About this picture - It seems that
the way he is holding the fiddle is
not a pose, but the way held it
when he played it.
Fire on the Mountain
music that GGGrandfather would
have played.
While looking around the Internet the
other day I came across three more
pictures of John Alexander.  Two of
which were posted on by
my cousin K. Gibby.  These are not
included in the original printed (
I do not yet have any information as to when these photos were taken.  I also need to research the
group photo and see if I can identify the others.  That guy on John's left in the last photo is William
Arch Nichols, husband of daughter Sarah Caroline.
Random notes I didn't want to lose:

JA McClure's daughter, Amanda, had a
son named Virgie.  Regarding the first
photo on this page of him sitting in a
chair - Virgie says there was a road
from Young Harris to Jacksonville and
Uncle George and Uncle Tom lived
between the 2 towns and that the
photo was taken at one of their homes.
Not far from Olin Hughes Syrup Mill.
The fiddle was taken from the house
after his death, but no one knows
where it went.