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Descendants of Wheeling Settlers to Return for Family Reunion

WHEELING — About 50 members of the McCluskey family — which settled in Wheeling in 1840 and has members who trace their lineage to the Zane family, the founders of Wheeling – will be visiting the Friendly City this month for a family reunion.

The McCluskey Family Reunion is scheduled for July 23-25, with family members traveling here from nine states. The gathering will include a get-together on Saturday, July 24, at Oglebay Park’s Driehorse Shelter, along with other activities Friday, July 23, and Sunday, July 25.

Wheeling native Mark McCluskey, now a resident of St. Louis, has been planning and coordinating the event for the past few years.

But the reunion is not just about the McCluskey family and its line to the Zanes (family matriarch Ella Bell Phillips McCluskey married William O. McCluskey Sr. Ella Bell was the daughter of Hans Phillips and Anne Elizabeth Zane Phillips, and their union merged the Zane family and the McCluskey family), as several other prominent Wheeling families are intertwined into the larger group.

Anne Elizabeth Zane Phillips was the daughter of Daniel Francis Zane II and Cynthia Zane, and Daniel Francis Zane was the son of Ebenezer Zane and Elizabeth McCullough Zane, which takes the family lineage back to the city’s founders.

The Brandfass family also has ties to the McCluskeys, as Mark McCluskey’s grandfather, William O. McCluskey Jr., the former owner and president of the Consolidated Engineering Co. of Wheeling for many years, married Marie Brandfass McCluskey. Her family owned Brandfass Tobacco Co. of Wheeling, which in the early 20th century was located at 1316 Water St.

The Leibold family is tied in as well, as Dr. Robert Leibold, a prominent Wheeling physician in the early- and mid-20th century, married the former Mary Louise McCluskey; the Nelson family also is part of the extended group, with Ella Jane McCluskey marrying James W. Nelson Sr.

In all, the reunion will feature family members representing the McCluskeys, Liebolds and Nelsons.

On Friday, July 23, attendees will gather at Oglebay for a meet and greet with a light meal, Mark McCluskey said. Then on Saturday, all attendees will be able to take part in two trolley tours of Wheeling to trace their combined family history. Those tours will be led by Jeanne Finstein of the Friends of Wheeling.

The original McCluskey who emigrated to the United States was James McCluskey, a Scots-Irish man who entered New York and came to Wheeling in 1840 to find work as a drayman on the Ohio River. He married Latisha Reid, and one of their two sons, William O. McCluskey Sr., gained notoriety among Wheeling merchants, as the McCluskey Oyster and Fruit Co. at 1221 Main St. opened in 1870 before moving into the McLure Hotel, which was one of its biggest customers.

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