Doctor McClurg received a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh and also studied in London and Paris.
Doctor McClurg was one of the most distinguished physicians in the colonies, educated (and later professor) at the College of William and Mary. Doctor McClurg practiced first in Williamsburg, then in Richmond. His work and writings were well-received and respected by the medical community on both sides of the Atlantic.
His Experiments upon the Human Bile and Reflections on the Biliary Secretions (London: 1772), was translated into several languages.
Doctor McClurg returned to Virginia in 1773, was appointed professor of anatomy and medicine at his alma mater in 1779, and also served as a surgeon in the state navy. However, his contagious disease focus later brought criticism in connection with the botched toxicological work in the celebrated trial concerning the murder of Judge George Wythe, whom he initially thought suffered from cholera, not arsenic poisoning.
Doctor McClurg was also the first honoree of the Philadelphia Journal of Medical and Physical Sciences. In 1820 and 1821 Doctor McClurg was president of Virginia"s state medical society.
When Patrick Henry refused to attend the Philadelphia Convention, Virginia"s legislature selected Doctor McClurg as a delegate along with George Washington, George Mason.
James Madison, Edmund Randolph and George Wythe. Doctor McClurg thus became one of three physicians (with Hugh Williamson and James McHenry) involved in crafting the United States. Constitution. McClurg advocated increased executive powers while at the Convention, but returned to Virginia in early August.
He never returned, worried that his "vote would only operate to produce a division, & so destroy the vote of the state." He never returned, and thus did not sign the final draft when finished in September 1787.
President Washington later considered nominating him as Secretary of State, after resigned. Doctor McClurg served on Virginia"s Executive Council during Washington"s administration.
A Richmond city councilman for more than a dozen years, Doctor McClurg was elected mayor for three terms, first in 1797. Doctor McClurg married Elizabeth Seldon in 1779.
Their daughter, Elizabeth Seldon McClurg, married John Wickham (1763), a celebrated Richmond attorney.
Served as surgeon Virginia Militia. Member Virginia Executive Council, 1790.
Married Elizabeth Selden, May 22, 1779.