Muscatine County Iowa
Here is what the abbreviations in the bios stand for: far: farm; Co.: company or county; dir: dealer; IVA: Iowa Volunteer Artillery; IVC: Iowa Volunteer Cavalry; IVI: Iowa Volunteer Infantry; P.O.: Post Office; S. or Sec.: section; and st.: street.
Source: History of Muscatine County Iowa, Biographical Section, 1879, page 597
ALEXANDER CLARK, retired (more popularly known as the colored orator of the West); is a native of Washington Co, Penn., and was born Feb. 25, 1826; he received but a limited education in the common schools of his native village; but he was a bright, intelligent lad and seemed to learn by intuition. At the age of 13, he removed to Cincinatti, Ohio, where he learned the barbering business with his uncle, who also sent him to school for about a year, where he made considerable proficiency in grammar, arithmetic, geography and natural philosophy. In May, 1842, he came to Iowa, and located in Muscatine, which has since been his home; he conducted a barber shop until about 1868, when his health compelled him to seek a more active business; having by industry and economy accumulated some capital, he invested in real estate; bought some timber land; obtained contracts for the furnishing of wood to steamboats; did some speculating which proved to be successful, and the result is the accumulation of a competence on which he lives in ease and retirement. In 1851, he became a member of the Masonic Order by joining Prince Hall Lodge, No. 1, of St. Louis; in 1868, he was Arched, Knighted and elected Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge; H. McGee Alexander, then Grand Master, died April 20, 1868, and Mr. Clark became Grand Master in his stead, and fulfilled his unexpired term; the jurisdiction then extended over Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi; he organized all the subordinate Lodges in the last three States and assisted in organizing their Grand Lodges; at the next annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, he was elected Grand Treasurer, and appointed a delegate to the Most Worshipful National Grand Compact of Masons (colored) for the United States, held at Wilmington, Del., Oct. 9, 1869; in June, 1869, he was again elected Grand Master, and held that office for three years; in 1872, he was elected Grand Secretary, and in 1873, was appointed Chairman of the Commitee on Foreign Correspondence; in 1874, he was again elected to the position of Grand Master, and annually re-elected to the same position, his jurisdiction extending over the States of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado, embracing 87 Lodges and 2,700 members; he is said to be one of the most accomplished ritualists, and among the most able and successful executive officers that the Order, in any branch of it, has ever possessed. In 1863, he enlisted in the 1st I. (colored) V.I., and was appointed Sergeant-Major, but was refused on account of physical disability. In 1869, he was appointed by the Colored State Convention of Iowa a delegate to the Colored National Convention, which met at Washington, D.C.; he was also a member of the Committee from the same Convention to wait upon President Grant and Vice President Colfax to tender them the congratulations of the colored people of the United States upon their election; in 1869, he was a member and Vice President of the Iowa Republican State Convention; in the following year, he was also a delegate to the State Convention and a member of the Committee on Resolutions; he has stumped the State of Iowa as well as most of the Southern States at every election held since the rebellion, and is recognized as a very eloquent and powerful speaker; in 1872, he was appointed by the Republican State Convention of Iowa a delegate at large to the National Republican Convention at Philadelphia, and, in 1873, was appointed by President Grant Counsel to Aux Cayes, Hayti, but refused the position owing to the meagerness of the salary; in 1876, he was appointed by a colored convention of Iowa delegate to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, for the purpose of preparing useful statistics for the colored race; and later the same year, he was appointed alternate delegate by the Iowa State Republican Convention to the National Republican Convention held in Cincinnati. Mr. Clark became a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1850; continues in fellowship, and is Superintendent of the Sabbath school of that Church in Muscatine; he is also Trustee, Steward ,and the largest contributor to the support of the Church. On the 9th of October, 1848, at Iowa City, he married Miss Catherine Griffin; they have had five children, two of whom, John and Ellen, died in infancy; the survivors, Rebecca J., Susan V., and Alexander G., all inherit their father's intellectual endowments; all graduates of the High School of Muscatine; Alexander is studying law; Rebecca is the wife of G.W. Appleton, of Muscatine; Susan is the wife of Rev. Richard Holley, a minister at the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Back to Biographical Index Page
Back to 1879 Table of Contents Page
Back to the Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb Index Page