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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JOHN P. McLEAN, junior partner of the firm of Steere & McLean, is assisting to conduct a prosperous boot and shoe trade, and ranks among the enterprising and representative business men of Bloomington. The house is located at No. 117 North Main street, and they enjoy the patronage of the best citizens of Bloomington and vicinity. Mr. McLean is the oldest retail boot and shoe dealer in the city.

He was born in Wellsville, Columbiana Co., Ohio, in 1845, and is the son of John and Rachel (Wiley) McLean, natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The father of our subject removed to the Buckeye State when a young man.

While yet a boy he commenced running on the Mississippi River, engaged in flat-boating and trading in the Southern States, and followed the rivers for fifteen years. At different times he was Captain of five steamboats the Germantown, New Lisbon, North Queen, Hibernian and the Kentucky." He was on the Illinois River for a period of five years, and ran from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, and also from La Salle to St. Louis. He finally abandoned the river in 1855, and coming to Illinois, settled in Normal Township, this county, and engaged in farming and stock-raising.

He is still living, as also are the five children of the parental household; the latter are all residents of Bloomington. Rebecca A., Mrs. Rugg, is the mother of five children Anna, Josephine B., Grace, Orra and John; Cynthia T., Mrs. Temple, has one child, a son Dwight; Josephine, Mrs. Moore, is the mother of two children: Annie and William; the two youngest were John P. and Emma B.

The father of our subject was Supervisor and Road Commissioner of Normal Township, is Republican in politics, and a member of the Masonic fraternity. Both parents are connected with the Presbyterian Church.

The subject of this history remained at home until 1805, and while in Ohio pursued his studies at the Wellsville Union School. After coming to Illinois with his parents he attended the Normal University and the Commercial and Western Colleges.

His first experience in the boot and shoe line commenced as clerk with O. Rugg, with whom he remained for a period of eighteen years, being head man and book-keeper during the last two years.

He then engaged with W. J. Brownell & Co., and remained with that firm over five years. On the 22d of February, 1862, Mr. McLean, in company with Mr. Steere, established the present business, which they have continued to this time (1887) with marked success. They employ from four to six men and carry the heaviest stock of any firm of the kind in the city.

Our subject was married, in 1869, to Miss Clara D., the daughter of E. B. and Frances (Dean) Steere, natives of New York, and of this union there was born one son Arthur D., now a clerk in his father's store. The family residence is located at No. 306 East Locust street, and the home of our subject is in all respects indicative of culture, taste and ample means.

He has become considerably interested in the purchase and sale of city property, and in all respects ranks among the enterprising business men of McLean County. He is Republican in politics, and a member in good standing of the A. F. & A. M. [ed., Ancient Free and Accepted Masons], Blue Lodge Chapter and DeMolay Commandery No. 24, K. T. [ed., Knights Templar].

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 345. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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