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McLean was born at Summit Hill, Pennsylvania. He attended the select schools of Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania and Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. He also studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1849 and commenced practice in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.
McLean served as the prosecuting attorney of Carbon County, Pennsylvania 1855-1860. Later, he served as the attorney general of the provisional Territory of Jefferson (afterward Colorado) in 1860 and then moved to Bannock, Montana in 1862.
When the Territory of Montana was formed, McLean was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses and served from January 6, 1865, to March 3, 1867. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1866. After leaving Congress, he was the president of McLean Silver Mining Co. in 1870. He moved to Virginia and settled on a plantation near Burkeville, Virginia in 1870. He died in Burkeville, Virginia in 1877 and was buried in the churchyard of the Presbyterian Church.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
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