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 Murray County Museum  

Isaac McLain Family

Isaac McLain was born July 22, 1811 in Knox County, Tennessee. Elizabeth Holloway was born November 14, 1813, in Virginia. They were married in Knox County, Tennessee, September 13, 1832.

The family was living in Murray County, Georgia, when the 1850 Census was taken. The family at that time included the father, Isaac, mother, Elizabeth, and these children:

+ Margaret Jane McLain (1833-1911), born in Tennessee. Married Nathan P. Yates, in 1852, in Murray County, Georgia.

+ David Crockett McLain (1834-1908), born in Tennessee. He married four times: Nannie E. Jones in 1854; Rebecca A. Smith, November 27, 1861; Sarah Hembree, Jan 1, 1880; and Rebecca C. Leamon, April 21, 1887.

+Susan J. McLain (1836-?), born in Tennessee. Married Isom G. Smith, in Murray County, Georgia, January 19, 1866.

+Jonas A. McLain (1837-1890), born in Tennessee. Married Sarah Jane Floyd, March 16, 1862.

+Eliza McLain (1838-?), born in Tennessee. Married John Humphrey.

+Mary E. McLain (1840-1864), born in Tennessee.

+Isaac McLain (1844-1845), born in Tennessee.

+George W. McLain (1845-1922), born in Tennessee. Married Lucinda J. Keith.

+Joseph McLain (1848-1927), born in Tennessee. Married Elizabeth Ann Capers Adair.

Isaac McLain died August 12, 1882,in Murray County, Georgia. His wife, Elizabeth died September 14, 1872. Both, along with several relatives, are buried in Center Valley Methodist Church Cemetery, Highway 225 North, Murray County, Georgia.

Three of their sons fought in the Civil War: David, Jonas, and George.

Note: The museum thanks David Smith, who lives in Oklahoma, for permission to use the following material about the wartime service of the three brothers. It has been lightly edited for use here.

Beneath a tall, robust, black marker a few dozen yard northwest of the south entrance of Hope Cemetery, buried in the red dirt of Stephens County, Oklahoma, lies the body of a man named George McLain. Nothing on his marker gives any indication that there was anything particularly special about this man or that he was a Civil War veteran. However, if you were to draw conclusion from the absence of outward signs, you would be mistaken.

It might interest you to know that George was the eighth of ten children, the fourth son, born December 9, 1845 to Isaac and Elizabeth (Holloway) McLain. Perhaps you'd find it interesting to know that he was born in a place that would be heavily contested during the Civil War: Chattanooga, Tennessee (Hamilton County). While he was very young the family moved to Murray County, Georgia, just a few miles away.

George married Lucinda Jane Keith shortly after the war ended in 1865. They had eleven children. Five were born in Murray County, Georgia, then the family relocated to McLennan, Texas. There the remaining six were born.

In the 1880s the family moved to Indian Territory (the Chickasaw Nation). George was a widower for twelve years just prior to his death in Stephens County, Oklahoma, in May 1922.

But you wouldn't know from all of this that George was a man who surely knew better than most just how bitter and divisive was the Civil War. George's family experienced divided allegiance over that war.

While his two older brothers, David and Jonas, served in the Confederate Army, Company E, Georgia's 60th Infantry Regiment, George enlisted in the Union Army, Company F, USA Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment. The McLain family was indeed a house divided.

Briefly, the Confederate Army's 60th Georgia Infantry was organized in 1862 , at Savannah, Georgia. Men were recruited mainly from counties of Walker, Fannin, Whitfield, Barrow, Gilmer and Dooley. The unit was ordered to Virginia where it served under the commands of Generals Lawton, John B. Gordon, and C. A. Evans. The unit suffered huge casualties at Second Winchester, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

George's Union Army unit, the USA 5th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, was organized in Tennessee, at Cleveland, Nashville, Calhoun, and Chattanooga, in the fall of 1864. The men saw garrison duty in the Etowah District and at Dalton and Marietta, Georgia. The unit participated in an expedition from Dalton to Spring Place, Georgia, April 1-4, 1865.

(Museum Note: The just mentioned expedition to Spring Place, April 1-4, 1865, was the fighting in the southern part of Murray County in which Major Tom Polk Edmondson and Private Presley Seay, both from Spring Place, were killed. Thought to be the only incident in which a Union Army soldier from Murray County, fought against fellow Murray Countians in Murray County.)

David Smith's material continues:

None of the three brothers escaped from the war physically unscathed. David was wounded on the first day of Gettysburg, the bullet entering his right wrist and traveling by an arm bone, leaving him unable to have any grip in his right hand for the remainder of his life. The muster roll of Company E, 60th Georgia Infantry, indicates that he spent a year and a half (Oct., 1863-Feb., 1865) as a POW in a Union prison camp.

Jonas was also wounded in fighting on March 26, 1865, at Petersburg, Virginia, just a few weeks before the war ended.

George was mustered out of service in May 1865 on account of some unnamed disability.

We can only imagine what sort of tension filled the air when George announced to his father, mother, brothers, and sisters that he would join the Union Army, an army that had been responsible for the grievous wounding of David, the family's oldest son, who even then remained a POW. Try to imagine what it must have been like to serve on garrison duty for an occupying army just a few miles southeast of your home and all of your family, while your brother is suffering all kinds of deprivation in your own army prison camp and while another brother is fighting siege warfare in the trenches with your army.

Submitted by Bessie Mayers


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