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Lewis Co, Tennessee:
Matthew McClain Family



      Before the McClain/McLean family migrated to Tennessee they had owned land in North Carolina and in Christian and McClain Counties, Kentucky.   Matthew McClain our great grandfather, was the second son of Martin and Nancy Jane Beckum.  He married Amelia Velina "Bettie" Kilpatrick.  Matthew and his brothers owned and operated a saw mill.  He was constable and magistrate and once said had seen more weddings and heard more trials than he could count.  In 1910 the County Court of Lewis County appointed him Sheriff to fill a vacancy of the Sheriff who had died.  Matthew was later elected Sheriff and served until 1916.  During that time Matthew and his family made their home in the living quarters of the jail at Hohenwald, in Lewis Co., Tennessee.  Later, Matthew served as a guard at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville of Davidson County, Tennessee and at the Criminally Insane Asylum in that city.  In 1942 his son, Felix Martin was fatally injured in an accident on the job as brakeman for the L & N Railroad, in Alabama, This is when Matthew and his family moved back to Hohenwald in Lewis County.

     Betty Kilpatrick McClain, our great grandmother, was the daughter of William A. Kilpatrick (b: 8 Oct 1843 d: 2 Nov 1874)and Mary Melvina Cooper Kilpatrick Whitwell (b: 13 Jan 1846  Newberg, Lewis Co., Tennessee  d:  8 Dec 1938 Maury Co., Tennessee; the daughter of Lt. William McAdams Cooper CSA and Louisa Elizabeth (Eliza Toombs).  William A. and Mary Melvina Kilpatrick were our great great grandparents.  Bettie "Grandmama Clain", never knew her father.  He died in November before she was born in February.  Her great grandfather, Col. Robert Melville Cooper became very attracted to Bettie and gave her a silver spoon which he had bought with him from South Carolina over the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Her mother, Mary Melvina had visited the Cooper family in Laurel, Mississippi going by boat.  She had a chest which the Cooper family had brought back from Mississippi and was later given to her sister, Thelma.  Mary Melvina also had the family Bible, marriage certificate of William McAdams Cooper and Elizabeth Toombs, but the latter was destroyed.  Bettie kept her mother's Bible and the records in it have been used for compiling some of this family data.  Mary Melvina's father, William McAdams Cooper, was the first Major of Lewis County and her grandfather, Col. Robert Melville Cooper, was the county Clerk.

My Aunt Helen Jane Pinkley told me that Grandmama Clain ran a pretty tight household, and was a very good cook.

Submitted by Mary Bob McClain Richardson, 4 May 2004

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This page was created on 8 July 2004 and last updated on  Thursday, August 13, 2015.