MCCALISTER, JAMES, a veteran of the Civil War, now living retired from active life and residing in Mechanicsburg, Ill., was born in Ross County, Ohio, August 1, 1841, a son of Gordon and Mary (Snodgrass) McCalister, the former a native of Ireland. The father came to Ohio as a young man and located on a farm in Ross County, where he lived until 1844, then went to California on a prospecting tour. He was successful in his quest for gold, but two years later was killed by robbers for his gold and money, and was buried in California. His wife died in Ohio in 1846. They were parents of two sons and two daughters, of whom the only survivor is James.
As a boy James McCalister attended school in Huntington Township, Ross County, then worked on a farm until learning the cooper's trade. In 1861 he enlisted in Company C, Eighty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under command of Capt. R. N. Adams, of Waverly, Ohio, Col. Thomas Morton and Gen. Sherman, being with the latter on the famous March to the Sea. He served four years, taking part in fifteen battles, among which were those of Shiloh, Corinth, Bear Creek, and Atlanta, and being flag-bearer part of the time. He was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., in July, 1865, having performed efficient service and made an excellent record as a soldier. He is affiliated with Stephenson Post No. 30 G.A.R., of Springfield.
At the close of the war Mr. McCalister spent two years at his trade in Ross County and later worked at farming until his removal to Illinois in 1875. He located at Mechanicsburg and carried on farming in that locality until a few years ago, when he retired from active life. He was an industrious farmer and successful in his operations. He now owns a comfortable home at Mechanicsburg and other property in the vicinity. He is a member of the Christian Church, as is his wife, and both are ready to help any worthy object. Mr. McCalister served one year as Road Commissioner while living in Ohio, but has never taken a very active part in public affairs in Sangamon County, although interested in the general welfare and the duties of good citizenship.
Mr. McCalister was married in Ross County, February 21, 1864, to Mary E. Ross, a native of that county, born July 1, 1846, daughter of Duncan Ross, a native of the same State. Mr. Ross carried on farming there until 1875, when he brought his family to Mechanicsburg Township, Sangamon County, and there carried on farming the remainder of his life. He served during the Civil War as private in the Sixty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He and his wife had seven children, of whom the following five now survive: Mrs. McCalister; Isaac, of Chicago; Jasper, of Redbank, Cal.; David and Newton, of Mechanicsburg.
Ten children were born to Mr. McCalister and wife, of whom eight are now living: Lillian, wife of James M. Cook, of Sherman, Ill.; Sherwood, living with his parents; Lydia married Benjamin Crimm and they reside near Roby, Ill.; Major A., of Springfield; Ida M. married Allen Humphrey and they live at Mechanicsburg; George of Missouri; Sophia, wife of Michael Fennells, of Mechanicsburg; Nellie, wife of Edward Akins, of Lanesville, Ill. Mr. and McCalister and wife have twenty-two grandchildren.