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John T. Clark


Posted By: Allamakee co. Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/2/2004 at 10:47:23

John T. Clark was one of the earliest and ablest lawyers of that part of Iowa. His name will be found in connection with reported cases during his period. But as to when he came to Allamakee County, and respecting his nativity and early life, I have but little data. Of him, Judge Granger, in the interview alluded to, said:

John T. Clark was a man of fine natural ability, a successful practitioner, one who stood high in the front ranks of lawyers in northeastern Iowa.

He died quite a good many years ago. That he came early, rose rapidly and had the confidence of the people, is attested by the fact that he was chosen by them as their delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1857, the work of which was to draft a new constitution for the State. He had for his associates some of the most distinguished men of the Commonwealth. It is doubtful whether a more illustrious body ever assembled within our borders.

Mr. Clark was not only chosen to be a fit associate of these men and partake of the important work they had to perform, but in that work he took an active and leading part. Twenty-five years afterwards, on January 19, 1882, an anniversary reunion of the surviving members of that historic convention was held at Des Moines. Judge Francis Springer, who had been the President of that Conventions, was chosen President of the Reunion. The lovable, lamented and illustrious Judge George G. Wright delivered the address of welcome, in the course of which he thus significantly referred to Mr. Clark:

Politically the convention was divided into fifteen Democrats and twenty-one Republicans. On the side of the majority those most prominent in debate were the three Clarks (W.P., John T. and R.L.B.), while James F. Wilson, as also John Edwards and J.A. Parvin, were not by any means silent voters.

At this reunion Mr. Clark, (though not able to be present), and seven other members of the Convention, were still living, and were thus referred to in the address of Judge Springer:*

We observe with feelings of disappointment and regret the places made vacant by the absence of members who are still living. There are eight of them. They are the senior member from Lee, Mr. Patterson; the junior member from Des Moines, Mr. Robinson; the member from Jones, Mr. Parvin; Clark, of Johnson; Clark, of Allamakee; the member from Keokuk, Mr. Hollingsworth; the member from Delaware, Mr. Peters, and the gallant John Edwards, of Lucas. We regret that all but two of them are kept away by ilness and physical infirmity.

When and where Mr. Clarke died, I am unable to say.

* The address of both Judge Springer and Judge Wright will be found in the third Volume of the Third Series of the Annals of Iowa, pages 33 and 36.

- source: Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers and Public Men of Early Iowa; Chapter XXXI - Allamakee county; by Edward H. Stiles; 1916
- transcribed by S. Ferrall


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