Charles Robert McClave, son of Chester and Matilda White McClave, was born June 21st, 1859 at the McClave homestead, New London, Ohio, the third generation of the family at this location. At an early age, around five years, he acquired a great interest in chickens and honey bees. His mother used to state that Charles would spend hours watching bees going to and coming in from the fields. when a swarm came out he was the first to discover them and call his father to help get them into a new hive. He looked after the poultry, feeding and gathering the eggs, until about twelve years of age.
On Feb. 4th, 1874 he secured from W.H. Todd of Vermilion, Ohio and Daniel Hite, New London, two cockerels and three hens, Plymouth Rockes. This was a new variety and the first to come to this locality. Every egg was used for hatching and a fine lot, one young pair, were selected, grown by Charles, and was a part of the exhibit of Mr. Todd at the Worlds Fair Centennial at Philadelphia in 1876. Mr Todd was awarded the $100 sweepstakes prize for the best display.
In December 1877, Charles exhibited two pairs of Plymouth Rocks at the Western Reserve show at Cleveland, winning a first and second prize even though he was the youngest exhibitor at the show. He began to exhibit at the State Fair in Columbus and never missed a State Fair until World War Two when the government took over the fairgrounds for military use. For year he was the Superintendent of poultry at the State Fair.
He was made a life member of the American Poultry Association at Buffalo, N.Y. in 1881 and at one time served as President of the organization. In 1945 he was the oldest member of the association with over 50 years membership. He was in charge of the Poultry Exhibits at the Worlds Columbian Exhibition at Chicago in 1892. This included black swans from Australia, white swans, wideons, scarlet flamingos, pelicans, gulls and many varieties of wild ducks and geese. He spent seven months in Chicago until the fair closed on Oct. 1st, 1883.
Mr McClave kept over 100 varieties of poultry, at his home south of New London and had displays and exhibits at scores of shows and state fairs, five worlds fairs and exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, Boston, Toronto, Canada and Havanna, Cuba. He won many awards and prizes through the years.
When handling his bees it is said that he never wore gloves or face protection and very seldom was he ever stung. As a member of the State Legislature in 1938, Mr McClave introduced a bill appointing a deputy bee inspector for each of the 88 counties of Ohio. Known as the McClave Bee Bill it is still in effect yet today. For 35 years Mr McClave judged poultry shows in all parts of the United States, Canada and Cuba. Mr McClave's poultry farm was south of New London on State Route 60 where Mrs. Orrin Barker now resides. Mr. McClave passed away on April 2nd, 1947 at the age of 87. He was survived by a daughter, Mrs E.B. Brown of Upper Nyack, N.Y. and three sons, Chester H., Eugene and Carey B. all of New London, Ohio and six grandchildren.