MCLEAN, JAMES (1820–1880). James McLean, Confederate officer and farmer, was born in Louisiana on October 7, 1820, to Daniel McLean (1784–1837) and Hannah Sheridan (1798–1849) of North Carolina. Daniel McLean first came to Texas as a member of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition of 1812–13 and was one of the ninety-three survivors of the battle of Medina. After escaping the massacre, he moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana, and later returned to Texas as a regular member of Austin's colony. In 1821 after receiving a grant of a league and labor of land, Daniel built a home about twenty miles northeast of the present site of Crockett on the Old San Antonio Road. Daniel McLean is remembered as one of the first permanent settlers of Houston County, Texas.
In 1837 Daniel and his brother-in-law John Sheridan were killed at Elkhart, Texas, while in pursuit of Indians in possession of stolen horses. Daniel and Hannah McLean were both buried in a family cemetery in Houston County. Daniel's brother, Archibald McLean, came to assist his deceased sibling's family. However, sixteen-year-old James insisted, "he was man enough to take care of the family."
James McLean became a farmer and lived in Houston County, Texas, his entire life. On May 18, 1841, he married Catherine A.C. Payne in Fort Bend, Texas. It is probable that she died before 1850 as from then on the U.S. Census listed James as a widower, and she is not listed as a member of his household. According to the 1860 census James McLean owned thirteen slaves.
At the onset of the Civil War, McLean joined Robert Simonton Gould's Battalion of the Sixth Texas Cavalry as a lieutenant. He enrolled for duty on March 12, 1862, in Crockett, Texas, and was elected captain on May 23, 1862. McLean was captain of Company C in Gould's Battalion of the Sixth Texas Cavalry, which was attached to Randal's Brigade, Walker's Texas Division. They fought in the Trans-Mississippi Department and defended against Union General Nathaniel Banks in the Red River campaign. Gould's Battalion fought in the battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Jenkins's Ferry. The battalion was ordered back to Alexandria, Louisiana, and the soldiers suffered hardships and disease in the swampy region.
Following the war, James McLean returned to Houston County, Texas, where he continued his previous occupation as a farmer. McLean died of unknown causes on May 14, 1880, and is buried in a cemetery in Houston County. The cemetery is located on land donated by Louisa C. Sheridan Murchison, who was the widow of John Sheridan.
Armistead A. Aldrich, The History of Houston County, Texas (San Antonio: The Naylor Company, 1943). Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, David Park, "McLean, James," accessed January 18, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmchb.
Uploaded on April 7, 2011. Modified on May 12, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.