Hon. Hugh Wilson McClellan was
born on the 12th of December, 1820, in Schodack, Rensselaer Co., N. Y.
He is the elder of two sons of Dr. Samuel and Laura (Cook) McClellan.
Dr. McClellan was the son of Hugh McClellan, who was
born in Currin, Ireland, in 1845, and who came to what is now Coleraine,
Massachusetts, in 1749, with his father, Michael McClellan. This
Michael purchased a farm there, which was owned by his descendants until
At the commencement of the Revolutionary war, Hugh
McClellan raised a company of minute-men, and was chosen their captain.
This company was attached to the army of General Gates for some time before
the battles which resulted in the capture of Burgoyne, and were employed as
scouts. In this capacity they captured a company of British which was
returning to Burgoyne with news that they had found a practicable route for
retreat, which capture was very important.
After the war Captain McClellan became colonel, which
rank he held at the time of the Shay Rebellion, in which he did man's duty
on the side of the government while it lasted, and in securing pardon for
the misguided men after its suppression. He continued to represent his
town in the general court (Legislature) until he refused to be again
Dr. McClellan was born in Coleraine, Massachusetts, on
the 14th day of June, 1787. He studied medicine with his elder
brother, John McClellan, M.D., in Livingston, Columbia Co., N. Y., and
became an eminent physician, removing to Schodack, Rensselaer county, in
1812, where he practiced till his death, in 1855. Mr. McClellan
survived him about ten years.
The early life of Hugh Wilson McClellan was spent
amidst superior education advantages. After pursuing a thorough
academical course he passed a successful examination, upon which he entered
the junior class of Union College, where he was graduated in 1839, being
less than nineteen years of age. After graduation he immediately
entered upon the study of law in the office of Hon. John Koon, of Troy, N.
Y., at that time, afterwards of Albany, where he continued his studies three
years, and was admitted to the bar as an attorney at law and solicitor in
chancery in October, 1842. He began practice in the village of Bethel,
Ontario Co., N. Y., and continued there two years, connecting farming with
his professional duties. At the expiration of this time he removed to
the town of Chatham and opened a law-office, where he continued in practice
till 1856. He then removed to Albany, in which city he practiced till
1866. On the death of Horatio N. Wright, Esq., to whom he sold his
office on moving to Albany, he returned and resumed his practice in Chatham,
and has continued his successful career as a lawyer there ever since.
He is thoroughly informed on all points of law and practice, and is
remarkably self-reliant in his judgment and in the management of his causes.
He has been characterized throughout his extensive practice by thorough
honesty and integrity, and has sought always to make the cause of his
clients his own. In bringing his causes to trial he has the merit of
having them well prepared, of understanding all the points involved, and
being able to present the facts and argument of the case in a strong and
convincing light; he therefore convinces the judgment of the court, while he
is not ineffective before a jury. Judge McClellan has had an extensive
practice both in Albany and Chatham, and has the reputation of being one of
the most successful lawyers of this county, while his character for
integrity is above reproach.
In politics he is a Democrat, and has been honored by
the people of his county with almost every office of trust in their gift;
has been town clerk, town superintendent of schools, supervisor, etc.,
having declined the office of district attorney on account of his dislike to
engage in criminal prosecutions. In the fall of 1867 he was elected
surrogate of the county, and held the office four years. In 1877 he
was elected county judge, which office he holds at the present time.
January 17, 1846, he was united in married to Miss
Emma F., daughter of George Marvin, of Albany, and has three children, two
sons and one daughter.