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william clark

By clarkda
  • birth

    William Clark was born in Caroline County, Virginia, on August 1, 1770, the ninth of the ten children of John and Ann Rogers Clark. His parents were natives of King and Queen County, and were of English and possibly Scottish ancestry. The Clarks were of the lesser Virginia gentry, owners of modest estates and a few slaves, and members of the Anglican Church.
  • Military career begins

    Although the Revolutionary War was over, Kentuckians continued to fight the Northwest Indian War with American Indians north of the Ohio River. In 1789, nineteen year-old William Clark began his military career by joining a volunteer militia force under Major John Hardin. Clark kept a detailed journal of the expedition, the beginning of a lifelong practice. The targets of Hardin's expedition were Wea Indians on the Wabash River who had been raiding settlements in Kentucky.
  • military career begins.

    In 1791, Clark served as an ensign and acting lieutenant with expeditions under generals Charles Scott and James Wilkinson. Clark enlisted in the Legion of the United States and was commissioned as a Lieutenant on March 6, 1792 under Anthony Wayne. On September 4, 1792 he was assigned to the 4th Sub-Legion. He was involved in several skirmishes with Indians during the continuing Northwest Indian War.
  • military career begins

    At the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Clark commanded a company of riflemen who drove back the enemy on the left flank, killing a number of Indians and Canadians. This decisive US victory brought the Northwest Indian War to an end. In 1795, Clark was dispatched on a mission to New Madrid, Missouri. Clark also served as an adjutant and quartermaster while in the militia.
  • Military career begins

    In 1790, Clark was commissioned by General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, as a captain in the Clarksville, Indiana militia. The nature of his services that year are unclear; one older source says that he was sent on a mission to the Creek and Cherokee Indians. He may have visited New Orleans at that time. His travels prevented him from participating in General Josiah Harmar's disastrous campaign into the Northwest Territory that year.
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition

    William Clark resigned his commission on July 4, 1796 and retired due to poor health, although he was only 26 years old. He returned to Mulberry Hill, his family plantation near Louisville. Prior to his resignation, Meriwether Lewis had been assigned to Clark's unit as an ensign under Clark's command, and they came to respect each other. In 1803, Lewis recruited Clark, then age 33, to share command of the newly formed Corps of Discovery.
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition

    Clark spent three years on the expedition to the Pacific Coast. Although technically subordinate to Lewis in rank, at Lewis' insistence, he exercised equal authority. Clark concentrated chiefly on the drawing of maps, the management of the expedition's supplies, and the leading of men in hunting.
  • Indian affairs and war

    Clark was appointed by President Jefferson as the brigadier general of the militia in the Louisiana Territory in 1807, which made him the agent for Indian affairs. He set up his headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. There Clark was a member of the Freemasons. The records of his initiation do not exist, but on September 18, 1809, Saint Louis Lodge No. 111 issued a traveling certificate for Clark.
  • Indian affairs and war

    During the War of 1812, he led several campaigns, among them in 1814 one along the Mississippi River, up to the Prairie du Chien-area, where he established the short-lived Fort Shelby, the first post in what is now Wisconsin. Soon the post was captured by the British. When the Missouri Territory was formed in 1813, Clark was appointed as the governor by President Madison.
  • 1st wife

    Clark married Julia Hancock on January 5, 1808, at Fincastle, Virginia, and they had five children.
  • Their 1st few kids

    Meriwether Lewis Clark, Sr. (1809–1881) named after his friend and expedition partner; William Preston Clark (1811–1840); Mary Margaret Clark (1814–1821); George Rogers Hancock Clark (1816–1858),
  • more kids

    named after Clark's older brother; and John Julius Clark (1818–1831), named after his oldest brother Jonathan and Clark's wife.
  • 2nd wife

    After Julia's death in 1820, William Clark married her first cousin, Harriet Kennerly Radford.
  • evan more kids

    They had another three children together: Jefferson Kearny Clark (1824–1900), named after the president; Edmund Clark (1826–1827); and Harriet Clark, named after her mother (dates unknown; died as child). His second wife Harriet died in 1831.
  • death

    Clark died in St. Louis on September 1, 1838. He was buried there in the Bellefontaine Cemetery, where a 35-foot (11 m) gray granite obelisk was erected to mark his grave. The cemetery has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
  • Indian affairs and war

    He was re-appointed to the position by Madison in 1816, and in 1820 by President Monroe. When Missouri became a state in 1820, Clark was defeated in the election for governor by Alexander McNair. In 1822, he was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs by President Monroe, a new position created by Congress after the factory system was abolished.
  • Indian affairs and war

    Clark remained in that capacity until his death, his title changed with the creation of the Office of Indian Affairs in 1824 and finally the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1829, both within the War Department. From 1824 to 1825, he was additionally appointed surveyor general of Illinois, Missouri and the Territory of Arkansaw.