Dr. Edward Heber McCleery


Dr. Edward Heber McCleery founded the lobo wolf park. He was a physician in Kane, PA.

Birth Date

July 23, 1867

Death Date

May 23, 1962


Milton, Pennsylvania



Biographical Text

Dr. Edward Heber McCleery (more commonly known as Dr. E. H. McCleery) was born on July 23rd, 1867 in Milton, PA2 to parents John and Mary.3

At the age of 16, from 1883 - 1884 he attended Lawrenceville School (a preparatory school) in Lawrenceville, NJ, probably for 11th grade (Third Form).2, 12, 14, 18 After his year at Lawrenceville, it appears that McCleery passed the entrance exam for Princeton University; at that time, a high school diploma was not a prerequisite for attending college.18

Between the ages of 18 and 24, McCleery developed a hobby for riding mustangs.15

For three years, from 18849 to 1887 he attended Princeton University in New Jersey2 but did not earn a degree there.7, 8 In his first year, he studied General Science9, switched to the Civil Engineering program in his second year9, and by the end of his time at Princeton he was studying medicine.7 While at Princeton, he served as the Second Vice President of the Princeton College Engineering Society in 1885.5 He was also President of the Princeton Gun Club, to which Theodore Roosevelt spoke during the winter of 1886-1887 about his hunting experiences in Canada and the West, with a particular emphasis on hunting grizzlies. This talk inspired McCleery to travel to Canada to hunt a grizzly, and during that summer in 1887 when McCleery was 19, he and his friend J. P. Morgan13 spent four months in the Yukon (before it was called the Yukon). They did not encounter any grizzlies, but it was here that McCleery encountered his first wolf,4 whom he later described a northern lobo.15(p.34)

When McCleery returned from his trip, he did not return to Princeton, and instead pursued a medical degree at Jefferson Medical College. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College with his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1891.6

He practiced medicine in Cheyenne, Wyoming for two years.14

Dr. McCleery moved to Kane in 1894 when he was 27 years old.14 He soon became a popular doctor in the area.

On February 28, 1914, when Dr. McCleery was 46 years old, he married Mary Nourse Byham, who was 26 years old.16 That summer, Dr. McCleery (along with Mary, I presume - it may have been their honeymoon) spent several months in Colorado and Wyoming, during which time he visited the Denver Zoo.15(p.33)

Together they had three children, only one of whom survived into adulthood. Their first daughter was Mary Jane McCleery, born March 2, 1915. Three years later they had a son, John McCleery, who died 21 days later on September 21, 1918.1

In January 1921, Dr. McCleery obtained his first wolf.15 Over the next ten years, he acquired around 30 wolves, kept them in pens in his expansive backyard, and bred them to perpetuate the Canis lupus nubilus subspecies.
On April 3, 1922 Mary Jane McCleery also died.1

On September 10, 1923, Dr. and Mrs. McCleery had another daughter, Helen Catharine McCleery.8

In 1929, Dr. McCleery moved his wolf park from his home property to a location along Route 6 East of Kane, where he bred and exhibited his wolves for over 30 years. During the course of his this work he met many famous people who came to see the wolves.

Once Dr. McCleery had practiced medicine for 50 years, he received honors from the McKean County, Pennsylvania, and American Medical Societies.14 By 19468 he had retired for health reasons.2

McCleery had a house built for his family at the Route 6 wolf park location between Kane and Mt. Jewett, but he and his family continued to live at the Tionesta Avenue house in 1940, at least during the school year.19 He may have moved to the Route 6 house upon retirement.

Dr. McCleery's work with wolves caused a rift between him and his wife, eventually leading to their divorce.4 They were divorced sometime between 19468 and 1958,4 but probably in the mid-1950s.

Dr. McCleery's most cherished recognition was an invitation by the director of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans to attend the ceremonies for the unveiling of a bust and tablet for Thomas Alva Edison at New York University,17which took place on June 4, 1961. I am unsure if Dr. McCleery actually attended the event, because he was 93 at the time.

Dr. McCleery passed away on May 23, 1962.14


1The Descendants of Joel Jones, a Revolutionary Soldier, Born in Charlton, Mass., in 1764, and Died in Crawford County, PA., in 1845 [Book Excerpt]
2Profile of Dr. McCleery
3Pennsylvania's Who's Who: 1957-1958 Edition [Book]
4He Made Friends With A Wolf Pack [Article in True: The Man's Magazine]
5Bric-a-Brac 1885 [Princeton University Yearbook]
6Sixty-Seventh Annual Announcement of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia: Session of 1891-92 [Academic Catalog]
7Directory of the Living Graduates and Former Students of Princeton College [Academic Catalog]
8Dr. Edward Heber McCleery [Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association Card]
9Catalogue of the College of New Jersey Princeton 1885-86 [Academic Catalog]
12Decennial Catalogue, Lawrenceville School, John C. Green Foundation, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 1883-1893 [Academic Catalog]
13Lobo Wolves Are His Hobby [Article in Man to Man]
14Dr. E. H. McCleery, Aged 94, Dies; Widely Noted For Famed Wolf Pack, Won World Recognition For His Efforts to Save Lobos From Extinction, Resided Here 68 Years; Was Practicing Physician For Over Half-Century [Article in Kane Republican]
15The Lone Killer [Book]
16Application for Marriage License of Edward H. McCleery and Mary N. Byham [Marriage Certificate]
17Famed McCleery Wolves Sold to Milwaukee Couple, Negotiating for Present Park to Keep Wolves a Local Area Attraction [Article in Kane Republican]
18Information courtesy of Jacqueline Haun, Lawrenceville School Archivist.
19McCleery Household in the 1940 United States Census [Census Record]