Clyde McClain, 1898

This is the eighth in a series of posts concerning individual portraits taken of the children of Nathan and Mary McClain in 1898. More details about that set is in this previous post. The next child in the line-up is Clyde Oliver McClain.

Clyde turned seven years old in July 1898, so was seven, or at least nearly so, in this portrait.

He was probably ten when the family moved to Oregon and perhaps even eleven by the time they reached the Willamette Valley. At the time of the 1910 census, he was 18 years old and working on the family farm in Tallman.

In June 1914 Clyde married Minnie Estella (“Stella”) Parton whose family were neighbors in Tallman. The Partons had moved to Oregon from Wallace, Nebraska, just 30 miles from Paxton (and less than that from Nathan McClain’s homestead). What’s more, Stella’s mother was Maria Jane Winner, sister to Martha Alice Winner who was married to Nathan McClain’s brother Bill. (What do you call your aunt-in-law’s sister’s daughter? ;–)

Clyde and Stella started out farming in Tallman, but by the 1920 census they were living in Crowfoot (now the south part of Lebanon) and working a rented farm. Between 1915 and 1925 they had three children: LaDonna, James Delmar and Darell.

By the time of the 1930 census they had moved to Albany and Clyde was working as a meter reader for Mountain States Power. They were renting a house just a couple of houses down West Seventh Avenue from Clyde’s brother Ray and wife Grace and family.

At the 1940 census, Clyde and Stella were living in the same house as 1930, which they now owned, and Clyde was still working as a meter reader. Stella’s 75 year old father was living with them.

Sometime between 1940 and 1942, Clyde moved out and was living across town on East Third Avenue. It is possible that he was back with Stella in 1945. Son James’ draft registration in 1945 lists his father as his permanent contact, but at the address on West Seventh that his father had left earlier. I don’t know whether that was an error, a “slip of the pen,” or his father really was back with his mother at that time.

Sometime between 1942 and 1947 Clyde married Martha Aerni Smith. (If the information on James’ draft card is accurate, this actually was between 1945 and 1947.) Sadly for Martha, Clyde passed away in 1947 (age 55) of a pulmonary embolism. Martha lived until 1993. She and Clyde are buried together in RIverside Cemetery in Albany. I guess you have to give her credit for loyalty, that she wanted to be buried beside a man she had been married to for possibly less than two years, 45 years before her death.

Stella passed away in 1979 (age 85). She is buried at Gilliland Cemetery in Sweet Home.

Here is a run-down on Clyde and Stella’s children:

  • LaDonna married Orval Jess in 1939. He was a ranger with the Forest Service, I believe. At the time of the 1940 census they were living in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. But they later lived in Sweet Home for many years. If I’m not mistaken, Orval and LaDonna arranged for reservation of the Longbow campground for the annual McClain Campout many years running. Orval passed away in 1972 and LaDonna in 1989. They had three children, Pamela, James, and Janelle.
  • James Delmar seems to have gone by “Delmar.” He was 19 years old and living with his parents at the time of the 1940 census. Later that year he enlisted in the National Guard. When he was discharged in 1945 he was back with his mother, and possibly his father (see above). He was in Washington County (Oregon) at the time of his death in 1979 (age 58). At that time he had a wife named Vera, but I don’t know when they were married, what her maiden name was. They had no children. Both are buried in Sweet Home.
  • Darell enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserves in 1943. At that time he had completed two years of college, but I don’t know where. He married Patricia King in Kansas in 1948. They seem to have settled in Kansas. They had two children, Ricky and Terry Leigh. An address list for the cousins round-robin letter dated 1990 lists two addresses, one for “Darell & Pat” in Wichita, Kansas and one just “Darell” in Irving, Texas. Evidently this reflects that they had divorced by that point. Darell and Pat both passed away in California in the early 2010s.

3 thoughts on “Clyde McClain, 1898”

  1. I remember LaDonna usually being at the McClain Thanksgiving in Keiser my growing up years.
    This is all such fun, learning about our relatives! Especially an Aunt-in-law’s sister’s daughter!!!

  2. I am Shanin Glenn, only granddaughter to LaDonna McClain Jess. LaDonna and Orval had three children—Pamela, James, and Janelle. I am the daughter of Janelle. I stumbled across this post by accident and am so excited that I did. Orval was a forest ranger and was running for state representative at the time of his death. Due to his service with the Forestry Service, they live in Kansas, Washington (where all 3 children were born), Alaska, and finally back in Oregon, where they both were from. Both LaDonna and Orval are buried in Gilliland Cemetery in Sweet Home along with her mother, Estella, Delmar (this is the correct spelling), and Vera. Delmar died in Portland from cancer. Delmar and Vera had no children together. Clyde left Stella, when LaDonna was just 16 years old and Darell, just 6. Stella died in Sweet Home. LaDonna and Orval did arrange the McClain reunion at Long Bow Group Camp, and more than 50 years later, it is still going on at the same location. It was just held a few weeks ago in fact. If anyone is interested in attending, please reach out! Pam has 4 boys, and 4 grandsons and 2 granddaughters, Jim has 1 boy and 1 grandson, and Jann has 1 son, Cory and me and 1 granddaughter (all living, and most still in Oregon). Darell (this is the correct spelling) Clyde McClain went by “Red”, was married to Pat for many years, but did divorce at one point, but stayed close friends. The both died in California. That is why there were separate addresses. They had two children, Ricky (died in Florida in the 90s) and Terry Leigh, she is still living and is in Oregon. Recently, we have found some neat family photos of Clyde and Stella and their children.

    1. Thank you, Shanin, so much for the updates and corrections, and all the further information about Clyde’s family! I’m glad you found this post, too.

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