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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and the majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a court house and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.View my complete profile

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Joseph Clark

My ancestor this week is my fourth great-grandfather, Joseph Clark, who comes from my Dad’s side of the family through his mother, Jessie Doss.  Joseph Clark was born in 1770, in Bedford County, Virginia and was the son of Bowling Clark and Winifred Buford.  I have yet to find a full birth or death date for Joseph, just the years.  Joseph was the youngest child, of the nine known children, born to Bowling and Winifred.  The children of Bowling and Winifred were born in Hanover, Louisa, Albemarle and Bedford Counties in Virginia.  Why so many different counties I do not know, it could be they were just moving on to different properties.  I know that the Clark family owned a lot of land throughout Virginia.  The following map shows the counties they lived in circled in red.  The first children were born in Hanover then Louisa, Albemarle and the last two in Bedford County.  You can find the following map and other United States county maps at this link: http://www.censusfinder.com/county-maps.htm

Joseph’s siblings were: Christopher Clark born February 28, 1743-????, Elizabeth Clark November 12, 1744-????, Bowling Clark 1747-????, Micajah Clark December 3, 1749-December 22, 1838 married Lurna Johnson, Edward Clark 1751-????, Zachariah Clark 1753-????, David Clark 1755-August 15, 1825 married Charity Boone and Jonathan Clark May 20, 1759-March 19, 1851 married Jane Rogers.  You will probably notice that there was eleven years between Joseph and his brother Jonathan, so there could have been other children born to Bowling and Winifred that I know nothing about.  The majority of my Clark’s were Quakers in Virginia, and that is where some of the birth dates came from is from old Quaker records.  I know they were starting to fall away from the Quaker Church though and so that could be why I haven’t found other birth dates or children and the records may no longer exist either.

The Clark family, as I said previously, owned quite a bit of land in Virginia with large plantations and a number of slaves.  Joseph would have had to learn the day to day dealings of running a plantation, farming, trading, etc.  Sometime around 1790, Joseph met and married a young girl by the name of Mary Ann Golden who was a daughter of Richard Golding/Golden and Sarah Wilmoth.  The Golden family had lived in Orange County, Virginia where Mary Ann was born in about 1774, but sometime before 1784 the Golden family had moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina where Richard Golden had been granted 640 acres of land.  Family stories have always called Richard Golden, Chief Golden, believing he was an Indian, but DNA is not showing any kind of Indian blood in me or others who descend from this man, that I am aware of at this time.  From what I have found so far, I believe the Golding family was from England.  I have yet to find the actual marriage date for Joseph and Mary Ann, but I am assuming they married in South Carolina, since that is where their first six children were born in what was then Pendleton District, but is now part of Anderson and Pickens Counties.

Joseph and Mary Ann had at least eleven known children, six of which were born in South Carolina before they left and moved to Christian County, Kentucky in about 1803, where their other five children were born.  The eleven children were: James Cansler Clark 1791-1875 married Hannah Henderson and then Tyressa Johnson, Lemuel Marion Clark 1793-1847 married Anna Henderson, Rachel Clark 1795-after 1841 married her cousin David Clark, Alfred Clark 1798-1809, Susannah Clark 1800-1809, Eusiba Clark 1802-1822 married Dr. John M. Brown, Jonathan Clark 1804-after 1841 married Miss Journegan, Joab Clark 1807-1882 married Elizabeth Brasher, Mary A. Brasher and Nancy B. Brasher, Lucetta Clark 1809-1883 married Reed Renshaw (My direct line), Samuel Clark 1810-before 1839 married Marcella P. Pennington and Harriet Clark 1811-1869 married Larkin Tarrence Brasher. 

I don’t know a lot about Joseph, but I know he owned a plantation and was Sheriff of Christian County, Kentucky from 1826 to 1827.  Some family stories say that he set his slaves free after coming to Kentucky, but I have yet to find any record of that fact.  I do have a copy of Joseph’s will and he mentions lands and property, but he doesn’t mention any slaves by name, so he may very well have freed any he had after coming to Kentucky.  Joseph’s son, Joab’s three wives and daughter Harriet’s husband, were siblings and children of Thomas Brasher and Catherine Croft.  Also Joab Clark was one of the first Universalist preachers west of the Alleghenies and a Kentucky State Representative in 1846.   The following is a picture of Joab Clark that was in the History of Christian County, Kentucky.  I wish I had a clearer picture, but he was a handsome man.  The next picture is of James Cansler Clark which I found on www.findagrave.com added by David Sterling May.  James Cansler Clark in the year 1833 or 1834 was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature, serving one term and he also served as Justice of the Peace in Kentucky for many years.  The next picture I posted in a previous ancestor story on Reed Renshaw and maybe of Lucetta Clark and her husband Reed Renshaw.  I wish I had pictures of some of the other children of Joseph Clark, but at least I have the following ones.

In 1809 there must have been some type of epidemic going on because two of Joseph’s children, Alfred and Susannah, died just a couple of weeks apart from each other, Samuel in August and Susannah in September.  I cannot imagine losing a child, but to lose two of them in a matter of weeks must have been heart wrenching, for Joseph and Mary Ann.   Joseph lost another daughter, Eusiba in 1822, and then before 1838 he lost his wife, Mary Ann.  I have yet to find the actual date or year for Mary Ann or Eusiba’s deaths.  Then sometime after February of 1830 and before January 1839, he apparently lost his son, Samuel Clark as well.

Joseph left a will in Christian County, Kentucky and from Will Book L, pages 275-276, we read as follows: I Joseph Clark of the county of Christian and State of Kentucky do hereby make my last will and testament in manner & form following that is to say, 1st - I desire after my decease that my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid.  2nd - having given in my lifetime land and other property to my Sons James C., Lemuel, Johnathan and Joab Clark, it is my will and desire that the Residue of my property both real and personal be sold at the discretion of my executors and that in addition to what I have given my daughters the proceeds thereof be equally divided between my daughters, Rachel Clark, Lucetta Renshaw, Harriet Brasher and my granddaughter, Eusiba Clark Brown making her an equal legatee with my three daughters.  Lastly I do hereby constitute my sons Lemuel Clark & James C. Clark executors of this my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 21st day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred & thirty nine.  Signed Sealed published and declared as and for the Last Will and Testament of the above named Joseph Clark in presence of us.  Jos. Clark (seal), P. H. Clark, Jos. H. Clark & Minerva Clark. 

Codicil: Whereas my son James C. Clark this day, to wit, the 21st  January 1839 Executed to me four notes of hand for the sum of thirty four dollars & fifty cents each the first due 21st January 1840 the 2nd 21st January 1841, the 3rd 21st January 1842 and the 4th note due 21st January 1843 it is further my will and desire that after my decease whatever may remain unpaid of the aforesaid note be forgiven my son James C. Clark and that he shall be entitled to said note without paying anything more than what may have been paid at my decease provided I reside with him when that event takes place, but if I shall reside elsewhere so much of the aforesaid notes is excepted as may be sufficient to remunerate those with whom I may reside at the time of my decease Signed Sealed published & declared as a Codicil to the last will and testament of the above Joseph Clark in presence of us.  Jos. Clark (seal), P. H. Clark, Jos. H. Clark & Minerva Clark

Commonwealth of Kentucky, County of Christian to wit: I Abraham Stiles the Clerk of the County court of Christian County aforesaid do hereby certify that this Last Will of Jos. Clark deceased was on this day produced in Open Court & having been proven by the Oaths of Presley H. Clark and Jos. H. Clark two of the subscribing witnesses and Ordered to be recorded --- Whereupon the said will together with the foregoing certificate hath been duly admitted to record in my Office Given under my hand the 8th day of March 1842.  Abraham Stiles

I don’t have the actual date of Joseph Clark’s death, but I know it had to be after he wrote his will on January 21, 1839 and before it was probated in open court on March 8, 1842.  Family records have always said that he died in 1841, but no month or day was ever recorded, at least not that I have found.

From Virginia to South Carolina to Kentucky, Joseph traveled well-worn trails, following land or family it is not known for sure.  He left a very large posterity, many of whom became, doctors, lawyers, judges and political figures, serving in state legislatures in Kentucky and Illinois that I know of for certain.  I am sure he would be proud of the things most of his descendants have accomplished over the years.


  1. That's really well written and researched, Vickie. I'm glad to read of the Quaker connection for sometime back when I was online tracing some Doss line I came across an article about the Quakers in Kentucky and I came to believe that we may have had some in our family background. I talked with a cousin about that and she remembered a particular turn of phrase that our Grandma Verla's family used with "thee and thou" a part of it. Now you've got me going again on that and I'll try to find the article that caught my eye "way back when."

  2. One of these days, I'm going to follow in your footsteps and write something like these for my ancestors. smile emoticon Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Well, how interesting. He had a lot of children. loved reading about the will he left. Those are most interesting. The 34.50 amount. Wonder what was going on there. Another good lesson in history.