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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Knox County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Judge William Clancy, a resident of Edina for the past twenty years, was born May 31, 1843 at Somerset, Perry Co., Ohio, and is a son of David and Ellen (Hennessey) Clancy, who were natives of Ireland; David from Kilworth, County Cork, and Ellen from the County Kilkenny. The parents of our subject emigrated from Ireland to this country in the year 1824, and were married at Somerset, Ohio, in the spring of 1838. He lived with his parents in his native State until 1857, when he immigrated to Knox County, Mo. The father and family settled on a farm in Knox County, one mile and a half east of Edina, in Section 16, Township 62, Range 11 west, where the father died April 6, 1878. The mother, four sons and one daughter survive him, and the mother yet lives on and controls the homestead, at a very advanced age. Our subject was fairly well educated in Ohio, at private and public schools; but after coming to Missouri, he had to help his two elder brothers open a big farm, and spent four years in making rails, chopping, clearing, fencing, and breaking prairie with a big ox team. The Judge boasts that he became so expert with the whip that he could pick a “green head” fly off an ox with his whip, every time. When the war broke out his career on the farm was ended; under Gov. Gamble’s order he enrolled in the State militia, and served for about nine months, when his command was relieved. He then entered St. Paul’s College, at Palmyra, Mo., and finished his educational career in the classics and higher mathematics, under that eminent Rev. W. B. Corbyn, the High Church Englishman, now of Quincy, Ill. At the age of twenty-three he began the study of law, and entered the law office of the late M. C. Hawkins, of Canton, Mo. He was admitted to the bar at Edina, on the 8th of November, 1866, after a very thorough examination before a board of attorneys composed of ex-Judge James Ellison, Sr., Capt. W. F. Conrad and John Louthan, all of whom were admitted to the bar under the exaction and requirements of the common law; he has ever since been engaged in the active practice of the law in this State, and has been a most successful practitioner in the superior, as well as in the inferior courts of the State. He has made it a cardinal rule of his long career at the bar to never start a suit without it clearly presented merit, and has always been strictly honest and honorable as a lawyer, and has labored always to make that ancient and honorable profession, the better of his being in it, and not merely to make himself the better of being in the profession. He holds that the lawyers make the profession what it is, but that the profession cannot make the man. The Judge is of the true old stripe of Democrat, came of genuine Democratic stock of people, and was the sole and only Democratic lawyer in Edina when he hung out his shingle April 18, 1867. The Drake Constitution had just gone into force and effect in Missouri. Knox was a strong Republican County, and the leaders of that party were strong and determined men, but young Clancy had the courage of his convictions. He was first bold and brunt. In a short time, however, the situation taught him that this would not do, and he put on the ways of a fox. Soon he began to show derelictions of the Republicans, which were many and great. For a short time he edited the Missouri Watchman, until it was moved to St. Louis, Mo., just after the election of 1868; then again he edited the Independent, a paper published in opposition to the Republican party in Knox County, during the campaign of 1870, but as it had no patronage was forced to suspend immediately after the election. He now found that his party was in a most critical condition. So many defeats discouraged and disorganized the party, and Gen. T. T. Taylor, who was editing the Sentinel, a red hot Republican paper, was taking up Democrats on the temperance question, and on religious matters, etc. The situation called for prompt action, but no Democrat of means would invest in such a precarious business as establishing a Democratic newspaper in Edina. After many efforts the subject of this sketch formed a co-partnership with a practical printer by the name of T. A. Cooney, and on the first Saturday in March, 1871, the first issue of the Knox County Democrat, made its appearance. The paper was always aggressive, and arraigned the Republicans for their official extravagance and corruption, and in the month of July, 1872, the county government was revolutionized by the adoption of township organization, and the election of Democrats to every office in the county. With this Judge Clancy felt that he had attained the object he set out for, so sold out his interest in the Knox County Democrat to his partner, and again gave his undivided attention to the practice of law. In the spring of 1873 he was elected probate judge of Knox County, and was elected three times to that office, giving entire satisfaction to the whole people. In 1878 he refused to again be a candidate, assigning as a reason that the office did not pay for the labor necessary to keep the records up in good shape. He again, in 1879, enjoyed a very full share of the law practice of the county, and on the 1st of January, 1881, formed a law partnership with a W. E. McQuoid, and continued that partnership until March 27, 1886, when it was dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. McQuoid going to Kansas City, and Judge Clancy retaining the business of the firm. In1878 the “Greenback” party succeeded in electing several candidates to office in the county. This unexpected result totally disorganized the Republican party, and it has not been thoroughly reorganized to this day; but, instead, a movement was tacitly gotten up by designing men to truck and trade in county warrants, which were selling in the market below par. The combination was organized, and the work went on much the same as a bucket shop. The subject of this sketch commenced to denounce these illegal practices in his own party in the fall of 1882. It brought upon his head a torrent of abuse, but he was not the kind of man to down before opposition, even in his own party. The Knox County Democrat opened up a fusillade against Clancy, but he continued on denouncing the malefactors; but, 1884 being a presidential election year, it was a bad one to get Democrats to scratch at the polls. Clancy took a scissors and clipped off the entire county ticket, and voted the head of the ticket publically. This act caused him to be the object of a strict “boycott” by the Greenbackers, Republicans and Democrats, and matters went on in this way until after the election of 1886. The newly elected county court found county affairs just about as Judge Clancy had been saying, for five years, so the county court appointed an investigating committee to investigate the books, papers and accounts of county officers, and appointed Judge Clancy as one of the committee. He declined to act for a time, but the county court told him that if he would not act the matter would all be dropped, and being so convinced he agreed to go into the investigation. April 11, 1887, the work was commenced, and, after a long and careful examination, June 15, 1887, a written report was filed in the county court, showing all the county officers more or less short in their accounts. The wildest excitement prevailed, and all the officials so charged are now being sued. It will thus be seen that Judge Clancy has gone through two desperate struggles to protect in his judgment the people of Knox County from wrong acts. He is now in the prime of life, is six feet in his stocking vamps, heavily built, and weighs 240 pounds, a gentleman of fine personal appearance, and well skilled in politics as the foregoing sketch will show. Judge Clancy was born of Roman Catholic parents, and is a sincere Catholic. He is a single man, and called the “Samuel J. Tilden of Knox County, Mo.”

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This family biography is one of 204 biographies included in the Knox County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Knox County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Knox County, Missouri family biographies here: Knox County, Missouri Biographies

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