Biography of William J. McClure

To the pioneer rightfully belong the honors of the land which he finds out and enriches and beautifies. The sturdy manhood which animates the pioneer is the kind that is required in the administration of the laws which have been made operative over his territory chiefly by his enterprise and devotion to the course of civilization. The makers of the new country should be, and if they want to be usually are, the governors.

William J. McClure was born in Canada, in 1843, a son of Theophilus and Maria (McCracken) McClure. His parents, of Scotch-Irish descent, were natives of Ireland. They came to Canada about sixty years ago and lived out their lives there. Mr. McClure gained a scanty education in the public schools in the vicinity of his boyhood home. As he grew up he began a career as sailor on the great lakes, which occupation he followed for some years. It was an adventurous life, quite to his liking in many ways, and afforded him an experience which has availed him well in more recent years. In 1871 he went to Texas and from there came to Idaho, in 1879, locating within the present limits of Kootenai County, where he has since lived. He helped to organize the county and has been prominent in its affairs from that time down to the present, as a leading citizen and influential Democrat. In 1884 he was elected assessor and tax collector for Kootenai County, and in 1886 was appointed receiver of the United States land office at Coeur d’Alene, serving in that capacity for four years, under the administration of President Cleveland. In 1890 he was elected sheriff of Kootenai County. In 1893 was appointed deputy collector of customs at Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, which office he resigned, December 1, 1898, to enter upon that of treasurer of Kootenai County, of which position he is the present incumbent and the duties of which he performs in a manner that has won the approbation of observant citizens of all shades of political belief. For twenty-three years Mr. McClure has been a Freemason, and he is widely known in the fraternity throughout the west. His position upon all questions of public moment has been such as to give him an enviable reputation for public spirit, and his citizenship is of the highest order. He married Mrs. Mamie Kercheval, of Coeur d’Alene, in 1895.

Mr. McClure was a pioneer in Kootenai County, and in his earlier life in Idaho experienced all the trials and hardships incident to life in a remote and undeveloped country. He had known before that time how to “rough it,” however, first on the great lakes separating his native Canada from “the states,” next in Texas among the cowboys, “greasers” and Indians of a period that has closed, and still later in a long, weary journey by Wagon from Texas to Idaho, a detailed account of which would make a book voluminous, interesting and edifying.


Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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