A Guide to the James Clark Family Papers, 1825-1852
Born in Sumner County, Tennessee, James Clark (1799-1838) was one of ten children to Revolutionary War quartermaster and private Benjamin Clark (1758-1838) and his wife Mary McLendon (b. 1763). Clark graduated from the University of Virginia at the age of 16 and moved with his father to Arkansas around 1814. He worked as a salt manufacturer at the Salt Licks on the Little River until 1824, after which he moved to Jonesborough, Texas, which was under the jurisdiction of Miller County, Arkansas. In 1829, Clark married Isabella Hadden Hopkins Hanks (1805-1895) and a year later was appointed postmaster of Miller County. In December 1830, he swore an oath to Mexico. Although he registered a Mexican land grant under Arthur Wavell’s colonization contract, his request was never fulfilled. Clark served as justice of the peace (1831) and deputy clerk before moving his family to Sulpher Fork Prairie in 1833, where he established the town of Clarksville two years later.
During the Texas Revolution, Clark raised a company of mounted riflemen called the Red River Blues, and was present at San Jacinto in the aftermath of the battle. After his discharge from the army, he supported the establishment of Red River County in the Republic of Texas. For Clark’s services, the Red River County Board of Land Commissioners awarded him 4,605 acres of land in February 1838, and the Texas Secretary of War later granted him 320 acres of land for his military service. Clark fell ill, however, while surveying his land and died on May 2, 1838, leaving behind four children and his wife Isabella. Isabella married a Clarksville physician named George Gordon in 1839 and was an ardent supporter of the Confederate cause in northeast Texas during the Civil War.
Clark, Pat B. The History of Clarksville and old Red River County. Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort and Co., 1937.
Dunn, Jeffrey D. "Clark, James. "Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 12, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcl07.
Dunn, Jeffrey D. "Gordon, Isabella Hadden Hopkins. "Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 12, 2010. http://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgo43.
The James Clark Family Papers, 1825-1852, contain photostats and transcripts of correspondence, certificates, military orders, and genealogical notes documenting Clark’s career as a soldier, justice of the peace, and founder of Clarksville, as well as concerning correspondence between members of his family, including his wife Isabella. The papers relate to Native American depredations in the Arkansas Territory (1840), life in Austin (1840), and a trip to Washington, D.C. (1845), among other subjects. Also, included is a copy of a poem by Mirabeau B. Lamar, Republic of Texas President. Billie Louise Crook, a great granddaughter of Clark, has added biographical and genealogical notes to some of the material.
This collection is open for research use.
James Clark Family Papers, 1825-1852, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Sara Clark, February 1985.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers