Clark, William

Submitted by David B. Taylor on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:21

William Clark appeared in Pennsylvania in the 1770s and his early

A William Clark took the oath of allegiance in 1777-78, which if this was our William, would place his birth prior to 1755 which is consistent with the census.

The will of William Clark is presented below in this essay. John Clark is the oldest son and executor of the estate in William Clark's will of 1811. Persons mentioned in William's will include:

David Clark (born in 1788 in Washington County, per family history and 1850 census); John Clark (born about 1786); Nancy Clark who married a Phillips is "one of the three oldest". Census records indicate her birth to be about 1790. Other children are referred to as the youngest.

There is a separation of children in the life of William, which occurs 1790-1793. Washington County tax records for Cross Creek Township show William Clark on 50 acres in 1791, 90 acres in 1792 and 1793.

A move to Robinson Township occurs in 1793, where William Clark is now on 60 acres and remains there until 1803. The 1790 Census for William Clark in Cross Creek Township shows William Clark, male over 16, female, and 2 males under 16. Either the first wife has died, and Nancy is the female, or Nancy has not yet been born.

In 1800, the census for William Clark in Robinson Township shows male 26-45, female 26-45, 2 males 10-16 (John and David), male 0-10 (James born 1799), female 10-16 (Nancy born about 1790), female 0-10 (Rebecca from will), and female 0-10 (referred to in will as five of the youngest). William started a new family of children, with the birth of Rebecca (ABT 1795) and it is thought that William remarried after the death of his first (unknown) wife and moved to Robinson Township in 1793.

On 31 December 1803, William Clark paid $550 and bought 250 acres in Mercer County by deed from John McElhenry who had purchased by deed from Archibald Murphy on 18 February 1803, who had been granted the tract by patent on September 10 1787. Sgt. Murphy was granted lot 58, in Donation Land District 3 for service in the Revolutionary War.

This land played an important role in the early settlement of Mercer County, and part of it was held in the Clark family until the death of William Clark in 1893. The 1810 census in Mercer County is as follows: Male over 45 (William), female 26-45 (Second wife Mary), male 16-26 (David born in 1788), male 10-16 (James born 1799), male 0-10 William born about 1801), female 16-26 (Nancy, born about 1790 and married to Phillips by 1811), female 10-16 (Rebecca born about 1794), and two females 10-16 (part of group five of the youngest in will of 1811). Note that oldest son John is under his own head of household, John Clark, male 26-45 (John born about 1784), male 16-26, female 16-26.

The Clark family were members of the Neshannock Presbyterian Church located just over the county line in Lawrence County. The Bell family were also members of the same church. Early records of the church are very scarce. William Clark is noted as a member in 1813, later "Widow" Clark, John Clark and Mrs. John Clark, James Clark and his wife Fanny Clark, David Clark and Mrs. David Clark. Other members of the church associated with the Clarks include several members of the Bell and Bentley families. The Neshannock cemetery is located near a river, and apparently suffered some early damage. Later the church itself burned to the ground, and all the church and cemetery records were destroyed. A "History of the Neshannock Presbyterian Church" by Johnson was published in 1925. This book contains some of the early Records.

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