Judge William St. Clair McClenahan, Sr

Judge William St. Clair McClenahan, Sr

Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Death 10 Sep 1932 (aged 78)
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Block 17, Lot 24, Center
Memorial ID 73925364 · View Source
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Arrived in Brainerd in 1882.

Father: Hugh Bell McClenahan
Mother: Maria Louise McComas

•See Sarah Louise Kingsley Sleeper Boies.
•See Anna Steege Ferris Young.
•See Nellie O. Chase.
•See Fred S. Parker.
•See Emma E. Forsythe.
•See Lee Chung.
•See Hattie May Emerson Parker.
•See James McCabe.
•See Fred Andrew Farrar.
•See Henry Spalding.
•See William A. Fleming.
•See James Roreson Smith.
•See Henry I. Cohen.
•See Allen F. Ferris.
•See Leon J. Rofidal.
•See Margaret Johnson Hemstead.
•See Beulah Allen Ferris.
•See Newton H. Ingersoll.
•See Adam Brown.
•See Dr. Werner Hemstead.

1850 Federal Census, State of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Ward 3, House Number 1777, Family Number 1965, Line Number 22:
McClenahan, William, b. 1795, age 55, Ireland
McClenahan, Elizabeth, b. 1800, age 50, Ireland
McClenahan, H. Bell, b. 1826, age, 24, Maryland
McClenahan, B. Franklin
McClenahan, E. Adam
McClenahan, Robert
McClenahan, John L

Supplemental United States, Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874 (Excluding New York):
McClenahan, [?William], male, b. 1795, age 30, Immigrated, 1825

International Genealogical Index (IGI):
Hugh B. McClenahan married Maria Louisa McComas on August 2, 1853 in Marlyland.

1860 Federal Census, State of Maryland, Abingdon, Harford County; p. 116:
H. B. Mc Clenaham [sic], b. 1825 [sic], Maryland
Willis [sic] S. C. Mc Clenaham [sic], b. 1854, Maryland
Elizabeth Mc Clenaham [sic], b. 1798, Ireland [mother of H. B.?]
[Abingdon is 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.]

Married Rosalie Agatha Poppenberg on September 4, 1911 in Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota. Marriage license taken out in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota.

15th Judicial District Judge, January 7, 1901-January 6, 1930

Partnered with George W. Holland in a law firm.

      W. S. McClenahan has been elected manager of the Brainerd base ball nine. The organization will be completed at the next meeting of the club. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 April 1886, p. 3, c. 4)

     W. S. McClenahan has the honor of being possessor of "Annual Pass No. 1," over the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota railway. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 December 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

      On 19 September 1871, Thomas H. Canfield, president of the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company, signs a plat that has been staked out and filed for record on 25 September 1871. Near the center of the plat is a square area measuring two blocks on a side, but not subdivided into lots or streets, this area is simply marked GREGORY SQUARE. How did this name come to be selected? The president of the Railroad Company at that time is John Gregory Smith. Thus, the name of the president of the railroad is being carried forward every day. The People begin getting park conscious and in 1885 they appeal to the council and ask them to do something about it. The plat of Brainerd which Lake Superior & Puget Sound Company filed for recording with the Register of Deeds does not show in so many words that GREGORY SQUARE has been dedicated to the use of the public—like for a park. It is simply marked "Reserved," but no reason is given. Not until the city grows in population and houses are built around the SQUARE does the need arise to question this because a dense pine forest of four square blocks, such as this is, needs patrolling, lighting, paths and maintenance. The question of ownership arises in February of 1885 when the residents request the council cut paths through that forest. If the city does not own the SQUARE, it will be the responsibility of the Lake Superior Company to spend money for maintenance. The danger to the local people is that the company might decide to subdivide the SQUARE into city lots, to the detriment of the city. Controversy arises about who controls the SQUARE; therefore, in May the council goes on record to the effect that the city is the owner and can maintain and develop the SQUARE as a Park; and in June it instructs the City Attorney to investigate the title and, if necessary, bring suit to establish the ownership. Then begins a long legal battle. A suit is started in the United States Circuit Court. Things move along favorably for the city; so, on 18 May 1891, the Company proposes a compromise and offers to deed one-half of the SQUARE to the city. Upon advice given to the councilmen by City Attorney McClenahan the offer is refused and on 25 January 1892, the Circuit Court decrees the ownership to rest fully in the name of the City. The SQUARE thereupon becomes Gregory Park. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 5, 51, 52, 97, 112, 140, 162)

                  Returned the Wheel.

      Monday afternoon some person stole a Columbian bicycle belonging to W. S. McClenahan from the rear of the Bodega. It was at first thought that some one had played a practical joke on the owner of the wheel but as no trace of it was found for a day or two Mr. McClenahan made up his mind that he had seen the last of it. On Wednesday noon, however, Chief Barron received the bicycle by express from Ft. Ripley with the following note attached in an envelope:
      "Operator Ft. Ripley: Please forward as local freight this wheel to the chief of police in Brainerd. The party that had this wheel did not intend to keep it so long, nor did he, as you may plainly see, intend to steal it. Chief, please give this wheel to the owner, I will pay him for all damages if he will give me time. I, the writer of this note, am not the man that borrowed the wheel but I send it as directed. Yours very truly, "till you hear from me again."
      Mr. McClenahan has concluded not to let the matter drop and is out in a circular offering $50 reward for information that will lead to the conviction of the party who stole the wheel. According to the cyclometer which was attached the wheel had been ridden 67 miles, and it was somewhat the worse for wear. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 June 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

      James B. Platt, of Baltimore, Md., spent several days in the city this week, visiting his cousin, W. S. McClenahan. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 October 1896, p. 4, c. 3)

      It is fortunate for Mr. McClenahan that the Walker Pilot raised the question of ability and competency for judicial honors as between Judge Holland and Mr. McClenahan. Judge Holland's record shows him to be incompetent, if there is a judge in the state who is incompetent, while Mr. McClenahan is considered by the bar as one of the ablest lawyers in the state, not excepting the shining legal lights of the Twin Cities. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 June 1900, p. 4, c. 3)

      Judge-elect W. S. McClenahan, on Christmas, presented Attorney Geo. H. Spear an elegant solid gold watch and chain in appreciation of Mr. Spear's able and remarkably successful management of Mr. McClenahan's campaign at the recent election. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 December 1900, p. 8, c. 1)

                  Judge McClenahan.

      Hon. W. S. McClenahan yesterday took the oath of office of judge of the 15th judicial district, and will commence his duties next Monday at Grand Rapids, Minn., where Judge Holland is now holding court. Judge McClenahan will leave for the latter place on Saturday noon on the B. & N. M., and will stop over Sunday at Bemidji. He also announced yesterday the re-appointment of Geo. Moody as official court stenographer, which will be very gratifying to Mr. Moody's many friends in this city, as he is a very pleasant gentleman as well as a most capable official.
      The DISPATCH desires to extend congratulations to Judge McClenahan on the occasion of his assuming the duties of the important and honorable position of district judge, and ventures to predict that he will make a record of which he and the district can justly be proud. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 January 1901, p. 1, c. 2)

     Judge W. S. McClenahan Begins His
          Official Duties in this District
                    at Grand Rapids.

From the Grand Rapids Herald Review:
      Those present last Monday morning at 9 o'clock when district court convened were very agreeably surprised with what took place before the regular order of business was begun. Judge Holland had said good-bye the Saturday noon previous, but he was on hand Monday morning, and the purpose of his presence is best told by the judge himself in the following. He said:
      "Court come to order:
      "Gentlemen, when I adjourned court Saturday last until nine o'clock this morning I did not expect then to ever open court again in Itasca county or elsewhere, but some of my friends suggested that I had better stay in the Rapids over Sunday, and as I wanted to see Mr. McClenahan after he arrived, and as Grand Rapids is a very pleasant place in which to stay, I concluded to remain here until today.
      "Mr. McClenahan came to Brainerd from Baltimore about nineteen years ago; went into my office and we formed a copartnership under the name of Holland & McClenahan and did a law business until I went on the bench in 1889. He then took an office in the same building on the same floor, across the hall from my office. He had a key to my office and has had access to my library since. I speak of this simply, gentlemen, to show you the regard I had for his integrity and honesty, which still remains the same as at any time in the past. I went to Brainerd and commenced the practice of law in October 1871; I was elected county attorney of Crow Wing county that fall and was re-elected and continued to perform the duties of that office with the exception of two years, until I went on the bench in 1889. I performed the duties of county attorney of Crow Wing county for fifteen years and as judge of the Fifteenth judicial district for twelve years, making 27 years that I have performed the official duties of county attorney of Crow Wing county and judge of the district court of the Fifteenth judicial district; and in a few moments gentlemen, I will retire to private life and do so with pleasure. Not, however, to remain idle, but to give my attention exclusively to my private business.
      And now, Mr. McClenahan, take the chair and commence the performance of the duties of judge of the Fifteenth judicial district. If the people of this county and the attorney's of this village treat Judge McClenahan as nicely as they have treated me, and Judge McClenahan treats you as nicely as I have tried to treat you, you will pass down the pathway of life pleasantly and satisfactorily to you all. And may the people of Itasca county and the attorneys of Grand Rapids and my stenographer, who has been with me so long and whom I respect so highly, be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity, and may God, in his infinite goodness, protect, guide and always be with you, Judge McClenahan, in the performance of your official duties as judge of the Fifteenth judicial district of Minnesota. Good Bye.
      Judge McClenahan responded as follows:
      "Gentlemen: I would be very stolid indeed should I fail to appreciate the generous impulse that has induced Judge Holland to speak as he has, and I consider myself particularly fortunate in being introduced by one so well and favorably known to you for so many years, and who, by long and faithful service, so richly deserves the many warm friends he is leaving behind him. When the time comes for me to lay down the duties of this office I shall feel that I am most fortunate if I am as free to say as is Judge Holland today, that I hold and deserve to hold as high a place in your esteem. It is a part of the duties of a judge to see that the business of the court is conducted with expedition and with diligence, and in obedience to that part of my duty I think it is best that we proceed at once to the business that is now before us without further ceremony. The court, therefore, will now be in order for the transaction of such business as may come before it. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 January 1901, p. 1, c's. 5 & 6)


      Hon. William S. McClenahan (Republican) is the senior judge of the Fifteenth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota. He was born in Baltimore, Md., June 19th, 1854; was graduated (A. B.) from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., 1875, and from the law department of the University of Maryland (LL. B.) in 1880; practiced law in Baltimore until October 1882, when he came to Brainerd, where he has resided and practiced law ever since. He held the office of city attorney of Brainerd from March, 1888, until November, 1900; has held no office prior to his election to the office he now holds; he still resides in Brainerd. He was re-elected in 1906; his term expires in 1912.
      In 1907 the case of the State Board of Law Examiners vs. Hart was heard before a special Supreme Court, appointed by the governor, and Judge McClenahan was one of the five district judges selected. (Special Publication, 1910, p. 21, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

16 August 1913. The other afternoon the weather was so hot that Judge McClenahan adjourned district court. The judge's seat is near the south wall of the court house where the sun beats all day. "I know of no law which compels a man to hold court in such hot weather," he said. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 16 August 2013)

24 January 1915. Judge McClenahan, in district court, has held that Marry Marshall of Aitkin, a 16-year-old colored girl, has no cause of action for discrimination against the Sunday school staff who made her sit separate from white members, or leave the building. He said Civil Rights laws don't apply to Sunday schools. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 24 January 2015)

09 July 1915. Sheriff Claus Theorin received notice from the state board of control that the county jail has been condemned, and that has been assented to by Judge McClenahan of district court. No prisoner can be detained there for more than 24 hours. Action is expected by the county board. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 09 July 2015)

29 March 1922. Speaking of the Pioneer Days in Brainerd, an old-timer remarked about the change which was wrought in the district court room when Judge W. S. McClenahan came on the bench. He ordered the sawdust taken from the floor, had cuspidors installed and ordered lawyers and jury and spectators to keep their coats on while in the court room. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Friday, 29 March 2002)

21 August 1922. Judge W. S. McClenahan's pretty cottage on Gull Lake is rapidly nearing completion. It adjoins the R. J. Tinkelpaugh cottage and the A. C. Weber summer home. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Wednesday, 21 August 2002)

25 January 1930. Governor Christianson has received the resignation of W. S. McClenahan of Brainerd, judge of the 15th judicial district, who will retire under the state pension ruling. He immediately appointed M. E. Ryan of Brainerd to fill out the term, which expires January, 1931. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Monday, 25 January 2010)

                  FUNERAL RITES FOR
                   W. S. McCLENAHAN
                  TUESDAY MORNING

      Brainerd and all Minnesota today mourned the death of Judge William St. Clair McClenahan, an outstanding citzen and one of the oldest and most distinguished members of the bar in Central Minnesota.
      Judge McClenahan, whose tenure on the bench extended over a period of more than 30 years as the presiding jurist in the 15th district but whose judicial ability is best recognized through an invitation extended him but declined several years ago to sit on the state supreme court bench, died late Saturday at his home, 423 Bluff street.
      The deceased had been in failing health for the last six years. His condition has been critical for the last several weeks.
      Judge McClenahan retired from the bench about two years ago.
      Funeral services will be held at 9 o'clock Tuesday morning in the St. Francis Catholic church. The Rev. J. J. Hogan, pastor, will officiate. Interment will be in Evergreen cemetery.
      Surviving Mr. McClenahan are his widow, Mrs. Rosalie Agatha Poppenberg McClenahan and one son, William St. Clair, Jr.
      Judge McClenahan began the practice of law in Brainerd 39 [sic] years ago. He had served 30 years as presiding jurist of the 15th judicial district. He had been honored on a number of occasions with positions of responsibility and trust, and in the judicial office had acquired special distinction.
      Born in Baltimore, Maryland, June 19, 1854, Judge McClenahan was 78 years old. Judge McClenahan was liberally educated, attending private schools, and, in 1875, was graduated from Dickinson college in Carlisle, Pa., with an A. B. degree. He later took the course in the law department of the University of Maryland and finished there in 1880. He was awarded the prize offered for the best thesis written by a member of the graduating class, the judges being the Justices of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
      Judge McClenahan practiced law in Baltimore until 1882, when he moved to Brainerd to engage in general practice. For a time he was associated with the late Judge George W. Holland until the latter's elevation to the district bench.
      Henry A. Castle, writing in his History of Minnesota pays the following tribute to Judge McClenahan in this volume: "As a lawyer, Judge McClenahan was noted for his broad learning, his aggressive ability in the prosecution of interests entrusted to his charge, and the clarity of judgment that well fitted him for judicial honors."
      For 12 years, Judge McClenahan was city attorney of Brainerd and in 1900 was elected judge of the 15th judicial district. For three years, Judge McClenahan was the only judge presiding over the different courts of this large district, which comprised one-fourth of the total area of the state, but the cities of this large district have since been divided among several judges.
      Judge McClenahan was a member of the American bar association and the Elks. He was also a member of the St. Francis Catholic church which he joined several years ago. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 September 1932, p. 1, c. 6)

03 July 1933. Presentation of a portrait of the late Judge McClenahan, veteran judge of district court, will be written into court records. The portrait, a gift of the Crow Wing County bar, will hang in a place of honor in the court room. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 03 July 2013)

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  • Created by: A. Nelson
  • Added: 25 Jul 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 73925364
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Judge William St. Clair McClenahan, Sr (19 Jun 1854–10 Sep 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 73925364, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by A. Nelson (contributor 47143984) .