McCleary Family Page

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--Kathy Anderson Goins

McCleary Family - A Brief History

Rachel McCleary was my great-great-great grandmother, the wife of John Mooney (Sr.). Rachel was the daughter of William McCleary (1771-1840) and Rachel Johnson (1774-1832). According to West Virginia marriage records, Rachel's parents, William McCleary and wife Rachel Johnson, were married December 2, 1794, in Ohio County, West Virginia. The date of birth I have for their first child, Rachel, is February 5, 1795, which may not be accurate. Or maybe it is. She was evidently named after her mother.

The birthplace of Rachel McCleary is not completely clear to me. She may have been born in Ohio County, West Virginia, where her parents were married, although most census records list Pennsylvania as her birth place. I did notice that Ohio County, West Virginia borders Washington County, Pennsylvania, so perhaps changes to the county borders over the years accounts for this difference.

Children of William McCleary and Rachel Johnson:>

According to Ohio marriage records, Rachel McCleary and John Mooney, (Sr.) were married on February 14, 1815 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, by Justice of the Peace John Butterfield.

John Mooney, (Sr) had been born January 10, 1794, in Virginia to unknown parents.

Children of Rachel McCleary and John Mooney, (Sr)

According to Family Lore (per Lois Neifert Fulton's handwritten history of the Mooney family), "John, born 1794, who disappeared from his home when the baby John, born 1824, was 6 months old. He was never heard from again. It was believed that he was carried away by the Indians."

It is not clear to me which tribe of Indians is being referenced above, but there had been "Indian troubles" in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, for many years. You can read about the "Gnadenhutten Massacre" which took place in 1782. In 1824 (the year John Mooney disappeared), an Act of Congress resulted in the Indians' village lands in that county being surveyed into farm lots and sold. I wonder if that might have prompted the disappearance of John Mooney. Of course that's just speculation on my part; it could just be coincidence that he disappeared in that same year.

After John's disappearance in 1824, Rachel and her children continued living in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, at least through 1850, being found in the U.S. census records for that county in 1830, 1840 and 1850.

In the 1860 census, Rachel McCleary Mooney was found at age 66, living in the home of her youngest son, John Mooney (Jr), in Douglas Township, Page County, Iowa. They had evidently been living there at least since 1855, because in the 1860 census, John and his wife (Sillener)'s son Thomas was listed as 7 years old and born in Ohio, while their daughter Sarah J. was listed as 5 years old and born in Iowa. Of interest, in that 1860 census, the "occupation" of 66-year-old Rachel Mooney was listed as "Fortune Teller."

I don't know where Rachel McCleary Mooney was when the 1870 census was taken. She is not listed in the household of her son John, as she had been in 1860. Perhaps she had gone to stay with one of her other children. Nevertheless, she resurfaced in 1874 at which time, according to the handwritten Mooney history by Lois Neifert Fulton:

Rachel McCleary Mooney died on May 18, 1875 in Rooks County, Kansas. She was buried in Pleasant Plain Cemetery in Osborne County, near Laton, Kansas. Dad, Aunt Elta, and Libby Brann found her grave which is marked with a small square stone, and took pictures of each other beside the stone. Rachel has a memorial on the Find A Grave website which includes a picture of her grave marker.

NOTE: For more information about the Mooney family, please go to the Mooney Family Page on this website.