JOSEPH W. McCLURG was born in St. Louis County, Missouri Territory on February 22, 1818. His education was attained in Ohio, at the Xenia Academy and later at Oxford College. While teaching school in Mississippi and Louisiana, McClurg studied law. He moved to Columbus, Texas, where he was admitted to the bar and established his legal career. McClurg first entered public service in 1840, serving as the clerk of the Circuit Court in Columbus, Texas. He served as the St. Louis County deputy sheriff in 1837 and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1863 to 1868. He also served during the Civil War, as a colonel in the Union Army. He also raised a Missouri volunteer regiment, as well as the “Hickory County battalion.” McClurg next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 3, 1868. He was inaugurated on January 12, 1869. During his tenure, the state board of immigration was created; construction on the Hannibal bridge was finished; two new normal schools were founded; and a new state constitution was approved that changed the governor’s term from a four-year term into a two-year term. Also, a school of mines was established, as well as a state school of agriculture. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, McClurg left office on January 4, 1871. From 1890 to 1894 he served as the register of deeds of the U.S. land office in Springfield, Missouri. Governor Joseph W. McClurg passed away on December 2, 1900, and was buried in the Lebanon Cemetery in Lebanon, Missouri.
Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.