The following is the sketch of a plain, honest man of affairs, who by correct methods and a strict regard for the interests of others has made his influence felt in Nodaway county. His life presents much that is interesting and valuable and may be studied with profit by the young, whose careers are yet to be achieved. He is one of those whose integrity and strength of character must force them into an admirable notoriety, which their modesty never seeks, who command the respect of their contemporaries and their posterity and leave the impress of their individuality deeply stamped upon the community.
Judge Hugh H. McClurg, residing in Union Township, was born in Morgan County, Illinois, March 24, 1859. His father was Thomas L. McClurg, who died in November, 1909, who lived on the old home farm, which he settled in 1868; his widow is still living in Maryville, at No. 204 South Walnut street. Hugh H. McClurg remained at home with his parents until of age. On March 16, 1872, when twenty-three years old, he married Ida E. Rickard, daughter of Ezra and Mary (Colvin) Rickard, who lived just south of Pickering and who came to this county from Indiana. Ida E. was born in Indiana, and had lived near Elmo. Mrs. Rickard came to this county when a girl. Both she and her husband are now deceased and are buried in the same grave. Miss Rickard was eighteen when she married. Mr. McClurg began life for himself by renting land on Honey creek in Jackson Township, renting for three years, then hired out for a year, then rented land again, preferring this line of endeavor to that of school teaching, which he had followed from the age of nineteen to twenty-three in Nodaway county, during which time he took an active part in all teachers’ associations. It fell to his lot to teach some pretty bad schools, but he made warm friends in each neighborhood and was successful. He continued to rent until coming to his present farm in the spring of 1892. He started with ninety acres at twenty dollars per acre, going in debt, but he had teams and proper farming implements and soon made headway. The place had but a hull of a house, no fence or well. He has put at least two thousand dollars worth of improvements on the place, and has since added forty acres at sixty dollars per acre, which he has made from the place by hard work and good management. Besides general crops, he raises large numbers of mules and hogs. Of the ninety acres, about forty-five is bottom land on the One Hundred and Two river, where all of the forty-acre tract lies.
Judge McClurg has long been interested in local affairs, and in 1905 he was made secretary and treasurer of the No. 1 drainage district of One Hundred and Two river; he is also secretary and treasurer of the board of supervisors. This district runs from the Carr bridge, six miles south of Maryville, to the Iowa line, and about thirty thousand dollars has been expended in strengthening and making new channels. In 1906 he was elected judge of the county court, his election being based on the liquor question, and, although a Democrat, he was supported by Republicans. He was elected presiding judge with Judges J. H. Campbell and W. H. Chambers. He has ever stood unswervingly for better conditions, and he has done much to bring about a more desirable state of affairs in every respect. He has been active in the affairs of the Democratic party for years and his influence in the same is generally recognized. He was at one time a delegate to the “Peace Conference,” at Kansas City.
Judge McClurg is a trustee and a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Pickering. He was superintendent of the Sunday school and a worker in the same for many years. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being past noble grand, and he once served as district deputy.
The following children have been born to Judge McClurg and wife: Charles E., who formerly taught school in this county, is now living in the state of Washington; Myrtle E.; Carrie A., a Nodaway County teacher, is now a student in the Normal at Maryville; Elmer L. is in British Columbia; Thomas O., Ethel and Harold, at home.
Source: B. F. Bowen & Company. Past and present of Nodaway County, Missouri, p. 388-90. Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company. 1910.