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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

William James McClure


William James McClure

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

William James McClure (1906-07), son of John and Fannie (Williams) McClure, was born in Lower Chichester township, Delaware county, June 20, 1854. He was educated in the public schools of Chester, later attended Gilbert's Chester Academy, graduating therefrom, after which he took a full course at Peirce's Business College, Philadelphia. He began his peculiarly successful business career as a clerk in a grocery store, where he remained but a short time, when he accepted a position in the famous Roach shipyard at Chester.

In February, 1874, he established a small cigar store, which in a brief season, under his business thrift and push, secured a large and constantly growing trade; when he established a wholesale tobacco department, which rapidly grew to large proportions, commanding extensive sales in the City of Chester and Delaware county. Later, he embarked in the wholesale liquor business, in which his shrewdness, industry, and ability soon placed him in the foremost rank among men of affairs in the county. He was a leading spirit in the organization of the Consumers' Ice Company, of which he was president. He was secretary and treasurer of the Chester Brewing Company, a director of the Delaware County Trust and Title Insurance Company, and held a like position in the Chester Shipping Company. The McClure Gun Club, an outing association of wide reputation, was named in his honor. A member of the Masonic fraternity, he was also an active member of the Order of Elks and the Fraternal Order of Eagles and was a leading spirit in various Republican clubs of the City of Chester and Delaware county. Mr. McClure in only two instances held public office. In early life he was tax collector of the old South ward, and later was elected controller of the City of Chester; but the Act of May 23, 1887, which created the office, having been declared unconstitutional, he discharged the duties of the office for a period less than one year.

A born leader of men, he soon attained a commanding place in the management of the Republican organization in Delaware county, and his aid and influence was earnestly sought by aspirants for office, and his opinions and suggestions were harkened to by those in direction of the party's management in the State at large. Suave in manner, comprehensive in the grasp of details, never over-bearing in address, William J. McClure was peculiarly fitted as a leader in political affairs. He died May 20, 1907, in his fifty-third year.

 

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