By Peg McRoy Glover
The historical information and pictures on the cover and contained within this article are courtesy of research done by the staff at the Avon-Washington Library.
Inside the Prestwick Country Club House guests will find parts of a home that was once owned by the McClain family. These preserved pockets of history remain as a testament to one Hendricks County homestead family story.
Two segments of the house are enfolded by the clubhouse. One is at the back of the clubhouse and the other on the west side. Most of these historical parts of Prestwick require a bit of meandering to locate, but one gem is hidden in plain sight.
Between the white archway and the golf shop’s exit door a white spindle staircase leads up to what used to be the second floor of a home built sometime after 1916. Visitors enter and exit the golf shop through McClain’s original front door.
On the west side and tucked within the structure history seekers can find an outside door of the historical home and more living space.
Michael S. McClain was the first McClain to settle in Hendricks County. Born in Virginia in 1801, he worked as a trader and saddle maker and eventually emigrated to Kentucky.
According to McClain family oral history, in 1830 Michael McClain crossed the Ohio River and came to Hendricks County where he acquired his first 40 acres by trading his horse and saddle. He walked all the way back to Kentucky and moved his wife, Jane, their three kids, multiple horses and a calf to Hendricks County to live on his newly acquired land.
Eventually Michael McClain added another 160 acres to his property and built the first schoolhouse in Hendricks County on his land.
Michael McClain died in 1856 and was buried on his land establishing the McClain Cemetery still located at E. CR 100 S in the Parks at Prestwick.
Gilbert P. McClain was born in 1836 and grew up in Washington Township. He served in the Civil War, joining the Army in 1862. He saw action at Murfreesboro, Perryville, Chickamauga and Chattanooga as well as the sieges of Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville. He was discharged from the Army as a first sergeant in 1865.
Upon his return home he began farming and married Amanda Walker in 1866. They had six children but only two survived, Bascom W. and Adrian R. Walker.
Sometime between 1866 and 1895 Gilbert McClain built the first home on land that would eventually evolve into Prestwick.
Gilbert McClain served as director of schools for six years and superintendent of the township for one year. He died in 1915. Unfortunately, one year after his death that majestic house burned to the ground due to a chimney fire. Insurance on the house for $2,000 and $700 for its contents financed building a second smaller home.
Adrian R. McClain, the younger son of Gilbert, was born in 1873. When he was 21 years old he moved to Deadwood, SD, to work on the railroad. Then in 1903 he married Nellie Towles, and they had two sons, Adrian P. McClain and Alfred T. McClain. Adrian McClain was a lifelong farmer, and they were the next generation to live in the McClain home.
Adrian P. McClain, born in 1919, grew up on the family farm. He enlisted into the Army for WWII in 1944 and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. He received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained from a hand grenade and the Bronze Star for his valor.
He married Mary Louis Dooley, and they had three children Rex, Linda and Nancy. He worked for 43 years as a hog buyer for Hygrade Food Products, worked as the township assessor and trustee, acted as first president of the Avon School Board and was named co-alumnus of the year by the Avon High School Alumni Association. He died in 2001.
Rex D. McClain was born in 1938 and graduated from Avon High School in 1956. He married Kay Wolfe, and they had two daughters, Mitzi and Julie. It seems that by this generation of McClains in Hendricks County, farming was out of their blood. He retired from the Chrysler Foundry and passed away in 2021.
The McClain family is a story of the founding and development of this country and county. In many ways it mirrors many other families with one exception. Some rooms where they walked, talked, and slept are preserved within the walls of the Prestwick Country Club House.
McClain Family Facts
- Michael McClain’s father James immigrated from Scotland and served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
- Gilbert McClain traveled by train to some of the Civil War Encampments in his old age.
- Part of the Prestwick golf course and land west of Abner Creek was farmed by Adrian R. McClain with a team of draft horses until 1956.
- In 1883 when Adrian R. McClain was 10, he wrote a letter to the newspaper just so he could see his name in print.
- Adrian P. McClain was a Hendricks County ping pong champion and first runner up in the county corn-shucking contest.
- Rex McClain played on the basketball team when he attended Avon High School.