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May 30, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: The Death of M. G. McClelland

Elm Cottage.

Author Mary Greenway McClelland (1853–1895) was once one of Buckingham County’s best known citizens. Born in Nelson County, she wrote and published novels from her home at Elm Cottage, overlooking the James River.

In the spring of 1895, Lynchburg’s The News of followed her illness from consumption, printing in March:

Miss McClelland, who has been ill for two months at her home in Buckingham County, is convalescing. Her physician reports the lungs free of inflammation, and the trouble is now confined to the larger bronchial tubes where it is more manageable. He predicts a certain, although perhaps tedious recovery. On account of her illness Miss McClelland was compelled to decline the invitation of the Woman’s Club, in Richmond, to read one of her stories at their March reunion. An appointment had been made for her to read in conjunction with Thomas Nelson Page.

The doctor’s prediction proved inaccurate. In the August 3, 1895 issue of The News, the newspaper reported:


The Novelist Passes Away At Her Home In Buckingham.

Miss M. G. McClelland, the distinguished Virginia novelist, died at 6 o’clock Thursday, at her home, Elm cottage, in Buckingham County. She has been for a long time a sufferer from consumption, and has been lingering at death’s door for many weeks.

Miss McClelland’s life was full of beautiful Christian deeds, and through her individuality and personality, as it lends a tone in her literary works, she will be loved and admired for generations to come.

The titles of some of her works were “Oblivion,” “The Palmtree,” ⸻ “The Old Post Road,” ⸻ “St. John’s Wooing: A Story,” and “Ten Minutes to Twelve.” At the time of her death, she had already completed “Westover,” a novel, it is said which she regarded as her best.

This time, the newspaper’s prediction proved overly optimistic. None of McClelland’s titles are remembered today. Perhaps they are only awaiting rediscovery.

For more about this once well-known Buckingham County authoress, click on the following:

Buckingham Notables: Mary Greenway McClelland (1853–1895)

Buckingham Houses: Elm Cottage


Leave a Comment
  1. Pat Kirtland / May 30 2019 10:57 am

    I googled her name and looks like the writing are published on line…don’t have time to read right not, will check out tonight

    • Joanne Yeck / May 31 2019 8:44 am

      Good to learn that you are interested in pursuing McClelland’s work. Please let us know what you find.


  2. Devon Harvey / May 30 2019 10:35 am

    It would be interesting to research her work. I will do so and see if any can be found. Thank you for the post.

    • Joanne Yeck / May 31 2019 8:42 am

      Some of McClelland’s work is available onlilne in digital form. Please report on your findings!


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