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James R. Clark


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 20:12:54

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
James R. Clark owns two hundred acres of the rich farming land of Van Buren County, embracing a portion of Section 7, Des Moines Township. Since the autumn of 1841 he has made his home in the community—a period in which many changes have occurred, bringing prosperity to him and to the county. He emigrated from Ohio, the state of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Green County in 1834. The family is of Irish origin. The paternal grandfather, William Clark, was a native of Ireland, and immigrated to this country about the time of the Revolutionary War, settling in Virginia, whence he removed with his family about the year 1830 to Indiana, where he and his wife spent their last days. Their son, Samuel, was born in Virginia, but in his youth went to Maryland, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Elizabeth Reynolds, their union being celebrated in 1824. The lady was a native of Washington County Maryland, and a daughter of Maj. Reynolds, who procured his title during the War of 1812. He was taken captive by the Indians, while on his way down the Ohio River, together with his parents, who were kept prisoners for some six years. He, however, succeeded in making his escape and returned to Maryland, where he spent the remainder of his life.
Eight years after their marriage in 1832, Mr. and Mrs. Clark emigrated to Ohio, making a location in Green County, where they continued to reside until following the course of emigration, which was steadily drifting westward, they located in Van Buren County Iowa in 1841. Mr. Clark was a preacher of the Methodist faith and traveled as an itinerant minister throughout Jefferson, Lee, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and other counties. He thus formed an extensive acquaintance and made many warm friends who admired and respected him for his sterling worth and upright Christian character. At one time, in May of 1842, he engaged in a debate with Abner Kneeland, a renowned infidel of Van Buren County. He spoke for three hours, and in that time completely dethroned infidelity in this community. His death occurred on January 9, 1857, at the age of fifty-seven years, and his wife a most estimable lady, died in Mahaska County some years later. This worthy couple was the parents of nine children, and eight of the number became residents of Iowa, namely—John, who was a physician and surgeon of Mt Sterling, and died in Van Buren County in 1884, George H., a resident of Mahaska County; Allen T., who married and makes his home in Oregon; Mrs. Mary Pettit, of Chequest Township, Van Buren County; J.R., of this sketch, who is fifth in order of birth; Mrs. Elizabeth Manville of Colorado; Samuel M., who is married and resides in Keokuk, where he published a paper, and Mrs. Acha Hitchcock, now of Crawford County Kansas.
Reared to farm life, James R. Clark has followed that occupation throughout the years of his manhood. He was a lad of seven summers when he came to Van Buren County, and in the schools of this community, and at New London and West Point Iowa, he acquired a good English education. He assisted in the labors of the home farm until twenty-five years of age, when he began life for himself. He was married near Milton Iowa, in 1869, to Miss Eudora Wright, a native of Van Buren County, and a daughter of John R. and Susan Lowman Wright, who were natives of Pennsylvania and Maryland respectively. In March of 1839, her father reached Iowa, and shortly afterwards came to Van Buren County, where in Harrisburg township in 1840, he was married. He was a brick mason and contractor, and for some years did a flourishing business in Keosauqua. His death occurred in Jackson Township, Van Buren County April 30, 1874, in the sixty-first year of his age, and his wife survived him just one year, dying on April 30,1875. He took quite an active part in politics during the early history of the county, and was honored with an election to the General Assembly in 1872, being the candidate of the Republican Party, the measures and principles of which he strongly advocated.
Soon after his marriage, Mr. Clark settled upon a farm in Des Moines Township, which he still owns. This he inherited from his father, and with that as a beginning, he has become through industry, perseverance and good management, one of the well-to-do citizens of the community. He also takes an active interest in politics and votes with the Republican Party. He has been sent as a delegate to the county, State and Congressional conventions, and his opinions carry weight with them in these assemblies. He is a man of prominence and influence in the county, and one who is never backward in supporting any worthy enterprise by voice, money or vote. He has lived in the county for many years, and is acquainted with all of its needs. With pride he has watched its growth and aided in its progress. His memory goes back to the days when Alexandria Missouri was the nearest market; later they went to Keokuk for their supplies, until the railroad facilities brought all needed articles, comforts and luxuries to Keosauqua and other near points.
Mr. and Mrs. Clark are the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters Samuel M., the eldest is at home; Sophia is attending school at Keokuk, and John R. and Elizabeth the younger members of the family are still under the parental roof.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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