Thomas William McCleery was born in Baylis, Illinois on 2 Dec. 1860. His father, who he was named for, died when he was only 5 months old. His mother remarried Eibe Henry Hillmann, a German Immigrant, in 1865. His mother, nee Margaret Pine, had nine more children. It appears that four of his half siblings died very young, but photos show him with his three half brothers. Thomas married Clara McIntire when he was 22 years old. They had five children together, but one of them also died young.
Tragedy hit the family when on Thanksgiving Day 1901 they all ran from their burning home, and the house burnt to the ground and they lost everything inside. The photo above is the house that burned. Shortly after this their even worse tragedy hit when Clara died of some kind of a flu type illness in 1902. She and Thomas had been married 18 years. Sometime before 1910 Thomas moved with his daughter and two youngest boys to Morris, Oklahoma, as his oldest son had moved to Oregon. A third major tragedy in his life was the death of his son Kyle in WWI during the awful battle of the Argonne Forest in France in 1918.
Thomas always kept a good attitude about life, as he believed that happiness was a choice. He would say: “You can go to a picnic and have the best time there of anyone, or you can have the worst time. It all depends on you.” He spent a great deal of his time in Muskogee, 34 miles from Morris, with his daughter and only grandchild, who was born only one week after Kyle"s death. In 1925, he moved into his daughter's home at 1023 Boston. He died in this house in 1930. This home was bought by his great granddaughter and his great great grandson on 9 Aug 2017, Alexis and Mitchell Nelson; however, it was sold on 3 Jan 2019 to Rick Riggs after the renter caused an electrical fire. The time line on this is interesting in that it was bought by his great grandchildren 100 years after his daughter and her husband bought it, and it was sold fifty years after his daughter sold it.
On 6 Jun 2019 Alexis (Lovelace) Nelson wrote:
On 20 Mar 2017 Alexis (Lovelace) Nelson wrote:
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