Clay County

Biography - Daniel McCawley

DANIEL McCAWLEY, merchant, Clay City, is probably the oldest native born resident in this township. He was born about two miles southeast of Clay City, on January 28, 1826, and is a son of John and Martha (Lacy) McCawley. The parents are noticed in the sketch of J. I. McCawley (a brother of subject), which appears elsewhere in this work. His education was received mostly in the schools of this county, but in 1837 he went to Jefferson County, Ky., and there remained with his uncle until 1841, and while there he attended school some. From Kentucky he came back to this county, and assisted his father on the farm until about twenty-five. Commencing life for himself he first opened a saloon in the old town of Maysville. In 1850, he began selling groceries and dry goods at the same point, and carried on business there until 1857. The town of Clay City having been started the year before he came to that place, and has since been engaged in business there almost ever since. His first venture here was a general store, in which he did business until 1861. He then made a contract with the Commissioners of Wayne County to erect some bridges in that county. After working a few years in that capacity, he began dealing in stock and farming at Clay City. This he has carried on quite extensively ever since, and now owns 1,200 acres is this township, of which there are about 500 acres under cultivation. In 1863, he began running a sawmill at Clay City, and afterward added a grist mill, and has since had an interest in the Clay City Mills. Part of the time the premises have been leased by other parties, Holman & Markle now having it in charge. In 1878, he began merchandising in Clay City, opening a large hardware and implement store. In this business he is still engaged, and now carries a stock of about $3,000. Mr. McCawley was married in this county, February 14, 1856, to Mary F. Slocumb, a daughter of R. B. and Elizabeth (Leech) Slocumb. The father was a native of South Carolina, and settled in Wayne County in an early day. He was one of the foremost men in the early history of that county. Among the offices to which he was elected were those of Circuit Judge, County Clerk, Member of Legislature, and was at one time Lieutenant Governor. His death occurred in 1875, and his loss was severely felt by the people in this section of the State. The mother was a daughter of Mr. Leech, who was one of the early pioneers of Wayne County, and from whom Leech Township in that county received its name. Mrs. McCawley was born in Wayne County, November 15, 1836. To her were born six children, four of whom are now living, viz.: Mary E., born October 13, 1858, and now the wife of J. D. Kadler, of St. Louis; John R., born December 5, 1860; Helen L., May 6, 1865; Daniel L., April 1, 1868. This lady died on December 24, 1879. Mr. McCawley has been a strong Democrat all of his life, and has taken quite an active part in politics. He has served in quite a number of offices. Was Postmaster from 1852 to 1856, and afterward served as Deputy for a number of years. Has also been Justice of the Peace, Township Supervisor and Assessor, member of County Board of Supervisors, and has also been on the State Board of Equalization. He is a member of Olney Lodge, No. 140, A., F. & A. M.

Extracted 28 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from 1884 History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois, Part IV, pages 179-180.

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