McClure, David

last name (variants): McCluer; MacCluer
honorific(s): Reverend; Doctor; Mr.
Birth: November 18, 1748 in Newport, RI
Death: June 25, 1820 in East Windsor, CT

Moor's Indian Charity School; Yale College


Lovell's Latin School (1759-1761), Moor's Indian Charity School (1764-1765), Yale (1765-1769), Honorary D.D. from Dartmouth (1800)




Scots-Irish American


Minister and teacher

  • Boston, MA ( to 1764-06)
  • Lebanon, CT (from 1764-06 to 1765)
  • New Haven, CT (from 1765 to 1769-09)
  • Lebanon, CT (from 1769-10 to 1770-08)
  • Hanover, NH (from 1770-08 to 1772-06)
  • Portsmouth, NH (from 1773-11 to 1776-07)
  • North Hampton, NH (from 1776-07 to 1784)
  • East Windsor, CT (from 1786 to 1820-06-25)
Marital status

Married Hannah Pomeroy, Eleazar Wheelock's niece, in 1780. They had five daughters, two of whom lived to adulthood. Hannah died in 1814, and in 1816, McClure remarried to Betsy Martin, who survived him.


David McClure was an Anglo-American charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School. He went on to become a minister, and remained exceptionally loyal to Eleazar Wheelock throughout his life. McClure is important as a primary source on Moor’s Indian Charity School: his diary (more accurately, an autobiography that he composed between 1805 and 1816) includes eyewitness accounts of the school, Samson Occom’s home life, and Separatist worship among the Charlestown Narragansett. McClure also became Wheelock’s first biographer (Memoirs of the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, 1811). McClure was a typical charity scholar, in that he attended Moor’s primarily to obtain an education that his family could not have afforded otherwise. After a year at Moor’s, McClure enrolled in Yale, where he attended sporadically between 1765 and September 1769, when he received his degree. After graduating, McClure kept school at Moor’s (then in New Hampshire) for several years, until he undertook his only career mission in 1772. McClure was exceptionally ill-suited to the missionary business. He was a city boy from Boston, and was so unfit for farm labor at Moor’s that Wheelock had him copy out correspondence instead. Aside from a brief 1766 foray into teaching at Kanawalohale under Samuel Kirkland’s tutelage, McClure’s only mission was an aborted sixteen month effort (1772-1773) to proselytize the Delaware of the Muskingum River, during which he spent far more time preaching to Anglo-American congregations. McClure had a long career as a minister, teacher, and writer. He remained close to Wheelock throughout his life: he married into Wheelock’s family in 1780, served as a trustee of Dartmouth from 1778 until 1800, consistently informed Wheelock of Dartmouth’s PR problems, and took Wheelock’s side in his dispute with former charity scholar Samuel Kirkland.


Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. McClure, David. Diary of David McClure, Doctor of Divinity, 1748-1820. Dexter, Franklin B, ed. New York: The Knickerbocker Press 1899. Sprague, William Buell. “David McClure, D.D.” In Annals of the American Pulpit, Volume 2: Trinitarian Congregational. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1857. Pp. 7-9. Accessed via GoogleBooks.

General note

McClure's living situation is complex. He was not at Yale for the entire four year span between 1765 and 1769: Wheelock was in the habit of frequently pulling his charges out of school (perhaps to save money?). McClure was at Yale from Autumn 1765 until July 1766, when he went on a mission with Kirkland. He did not return to Yale (studying at Moor's instead) until July 1767, but he then spent most of 1768 at Lebanon. He graduated from Yale in September 1769 (and then immediately began keeping school at Moor's). It appears that Wheelock enrolled students in Yale, pulled them out periodically and taught them for less, then sent them back to pass their exams.