Colonel Charles McLain, one of the honored veterans of the Civil War, and a prominent citizen of Jefferson County, was born in Indiana County, Penn. in 1831, a son of Joseph and Emily (Alford) McLain. In the district schools he acquired his education, afterward learning the trade of harness making and saddlery, which business he prosperously followed for some years. He established a harness shop in Brookville, and had secured a liberal patronage, when the Civil War broke out, but he laid aside all business cares to respond to the call of his country for aid.
In 1861 our subject enlisted for the nine months' service in Company B, 135th P. V. I., of which he was made first lieutenant. On the expiration of the term he enlisted for six months and on July 23, 1863, he became captain of Company B, Independent Battalion. At the end of the half-year the war was still raging, and he once more went to the front, this time as captain, Company B, 211th P. V. I. He served throughout the campaign of that year, and won the praise of his superior officers, and the love and respect of those he commanded. He was a brave and valiant soldier, leading his men to victory, and at the siege of Petersburg, April 2, 1865; he gave his life in defense of the Union. Only the day before he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. When the news of his death reached Brookville, a meeting of the citizens was held, in which resolutions were passed, expressing deep-felt sorrow over the melancholy event, as well as condolence and sympathy for the family. A committee of soldiers was also appointed to take charge of the remains, also to make arrangements for the funeral, and on April 30, he was laid to rest in Brookville cemetery, with all the honors of a soldier's burial.
On September 7, 1853, Col. Charles McLain was married to Miss Mary Harris, daughter of Thomas and Ellen (Whittaker) Harris. Her father was born in Lancashire, England, and coming to America, he, in 1842, located in Philadelphia, where for seven years he resided. He then came to Brookville, and there spent his declining years on a farm. He was a plasterer by trade, an occupation he followed in both England and Philadelphia, but later on account of failing health, he took up agricultural pursuits. He died in 1888, respected by all who knew him; his wife passed away January 17, 1878. In religious belief they were Episcopalians. The marriage of Col. and Mrs. McLain was blessed with three children, the eldest of whom, Ellen H. is now deceased. Anna is engaged in the dressmaking and millinery business in Brookville, and Charles G. is a civil and mining engineer, but failing health has lately caused him to retire to farm life. Mrs. Col. McLain is one of the leading ladies of Brookville, being a valued addition to all society functions.
Source: Commemorative Biographic Record of Central Pennsylvania, Including Counties of Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson, and Clarion. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Company, 1898.
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