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George Brinton McClellan
New Jersey

Gov. George Brinton McClellan

  • January 15, 1878 - January 18, 1881
  • Democratic
  • December 3, 1826
  • October 29, 1885
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Married Ellen Mary Marcy; two children
  • Army


George B. McClellan was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 3, 1826. His education was attained at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1846. His military career started during the Mexican War. He rose to the rank of captain, and earned distinction for his courageous service in several key battles. He also served in the Civil War, commanding the Ohio militia, and later serving as a general in the Union Army. After leaving the military, McClellan established a career in the railroad industry. He started working as an engineer, and eventually became the chief engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad, as well as serving as division president of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. He first entered politics in 1864, as an unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate, losing to Abraham Lincoln. McClellan next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 9, 1877. During his tenure, the state militia was restructured; schools that focused on industrial training were founded; and a special tax commission was organized. After completing his term, McClellan retired from political life. Governor George McClellan, who wrote about his military life in McClellan’s Own Story, passed away on October 29, 1885. He was buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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