Title: Army Colonel, Civil War; U.S. Customs Service inspector
Birthdate: July 13, 1817
Death Date: October 23, 1900
Plot Location: Section 51, Lot 69
Both of George’s parents were from Scotland who married in 1800 in Philadelphia and had 13 children. His early years aren’t documented until sometime just before 1850 when he married Mary Ann Clothier. They welcomed four children in the 1850s but one died at age eight months.
At the start of the Civil War, George was a major with the 22nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry for a three-month term. In August he received authority to organize the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry and was commissioned a colonel. His brother, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph A. McLean, commanded the regiment at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862, but he died while leading the troops at Chinn Ridge. Joseph’s 16-year-old son, Daniel, was a drummer for the 88th.
For health reasons Col. McLean resigned his position in December of 1862, but returned six months later. He served with the 59th Regiment from July 1-September 9, 1863. He returned to Philadelphia to recruit for a new unit, the 183rd Regiment, but the organization wasn’t completed until March of 1864. He was again in command as they joined the Army of the Potomac in Virginia, where he reported to the brigade commander, Colonel Nelson A. Miles.
They were engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse in May. Soon afterward, Col. McLean and three others resigned over differences with Col. Miles, and that was the end of George’s military career.
He came home to resume his business of gilding, applying a layer of gold to various objects. His occupation in the 1860 census was listed as “looking glass picture framer” so he made gold frames for both mirrors and artwork. George lived the rest of his life in an area between North 10th and North 12th Streets in the West Poplar section.
The 1870s was a decade of changes. George began working as a civil servant for the U.S. Customs Service. His titles included “Assistant Storekeeper of the Port,” “Inspector,” and “Customs Clerk.” All three children got married, then Mary Ann died in 1878, followed by the death of his oldest daughter in 1881.
George married again in 1886 and continued working for the Customs Service through at least 1897. The 1888 city directory listed him as a gilder, so he may have kept that as a side business. In the 1900 census he and his wife, Sophie, were living with his widowed daughter and her two teenage boys. He died in October of kidney failure. Both Mary and Sophie are buried with him, along with two of his daughters.
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