Meet U.S. Treasurer Thomas Lee McClung

United States Treasurer from Tennessee

Treasurer Thomas Lee McClung

Thomas Lee McClung

22nd Treasurer of the United States; Years Served: November 1909 - November 1912

Tennessee County of Residence: Knox County

Place of Birth: Knoxville, Tennessee

Date of Birth: March 26, 1870

Date of Death: December 19, 1914

Political Affiliation: Republican


Thomas Lee "Bum" McClung (March 26, 1870 – December 19, 1914) was an American college football player and coach who later served as the 22nd Treasurer of the United States.

McClung was born in Knoxville. His father was Frank H. McClung, a merchant, and he was related to Albert Sidney Johnston and John Marshall. McClung graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.

On September 23, 1909, President William Howard Taft appointed McClung, a Southern Republican, as Treasurer of the United States. He took office on November 1 of that year. On January 8, 1910, he handed his predecessor a check for $1,260,134,946.88 ⅔, an acknowledgment of the money and securities in the department as of the day McClung took office; it took a little over two months to count all the assets, as is customary when a Treasurer departs. This was said to have been the largest financial transaction from man to man in world history at the time. During his time in office, he urged that worn, dirty banknotes be withdrawn at a higher rate in order to establish a sanitary currency. McClung served until his resignation of November 14, 1912 became effective a week later.

McClung was a director of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut; a director of the Marion Institute of Alabama; a national councilman of the Boy Scouts of America; and treasurer of the American Association for Highway Improvement. He was a member of the Metropolitan, Riding, and Chevy Chase Clubs of Washington, the University Club of New York City, and the Graduates and Lawn Clubs of New Haven. He was also elected president of the Yale Alumni Association of Washington on December 22, 1910. McClung never married. He had two brothers who attended Yale.

McClung died in a private hospital in London after a three-months' illness of typhoid fever contracted at Frankfurt. His body was returned to the U.S. onboard the steamer St. Paul, which left Liverpool on December 26, 1914. His funeral service took place at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, New York, on January 4, 1915. He was buried in Knoxville's Old Gray Cemetery two days later following additional services at his sister's home.

Contact Us

Have questions about the history of the Tennessee Treasury?  We're here to help!

Heather Sczepczenski, Treasurer's History Project

(615) 741-2956

Mailing Address

Tennessee State Treasurer
Tennessee State Capitol, 1st Floor
600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Nashville, TN 37243-0225