William McClelland was born in Mount Jackson, Pennsylvania. He attended Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. He served in the American Civil War for four years, mustering out as captain in Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery. He attended Allegheny College, studied law, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice at Mount Jackson in 1870.
McClelland was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-second Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1872. He resumed the practice of his profession, and died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1892. Interment in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- United States Congress. "William McClelland (id: M000335)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- The Political Graveyard
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