Captain Alexander M. Clark is a retired farmer living in Durham and is also an honored veteran of the Civil
war. He has today passed the eighty second milestone on life's journey and receives the veneration and respect
which should ever be accorded one of his years whose life has been well spent.
His birth occurred in Belmont county, Ohio, on the 22d of February, 1832, his parents being Samuel and Mary (Morrison)
Clark, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The father was born in the year 1799 and the mother's birth occurred
in 1801. They went to Ohio in early life and were there married, remaining residents of that state for many years
or until 1851, when they came to Marion county, Iowa. The father entered land from the government, the possibility
of this indicating how sparsely settled was the county at that time. He resided first in a log cabin with a clapboard
roof and mud and stick chimney but later built a hewed log house, and the little home had its comforts and its
advantages, even though it did not compare with the attractive farm residences now to be seen in the county. This
log structure is still standing in Knoxville township. With characteristic energy Mr. Clark began to cultivate
his farm, breaking the sod on many an acre and transforming the land into richly cultivated fields. His remaining
days were devoted to the further development of his place and thereon he passed away in 1882, having for fifteen
years survived his wife, who died in 1867. In their family were nine children, of whom four are still living.
Alexander M. Clark spent the greater part of his boyhood and youth in Ohio and attended its public schools. He
also had college training and taught school before entering the army. He was a young man of nineteen years when
he came to Iowa and upon the home farm he remained until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when he responded
to the country's call for troops, joining Company E of the Eighth Iowa Infantry, August 13, 1861, as a private,
with which he served throughout the period of hostilities until discharged in May, 1866. On one occasion he was
captured and was confined in various prisons for a period of six months and eleven days, a part of which was spent
at Libby, sharing in all the hardships of military prison life. It was at Shiloh that he was captured and this
was but one of the many important engagements in which he took part. He was never wounded, although often in the
thickest of the fight, and on the 20th of April, 1866, in Alabama, he was mustered out, and was discharged at Davenport,
Iowa, in May, 1866. He came out of the army with two commissions as captain, having worked his way upward from
the ranks through valor and loyalty. In command of his company he inspired his men with much of his own bravery
and yet he never needlessly sacrificed those who were under his control.
After receiving an honorable discharge Captain Clark returned to Marion county and embarked in merchandising in
Knoxville in partnership with John Reed. They continued in business together until 1871, when Captain Clark again
turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, purchasing a farm in Clay township, on which he took up his abode.
For about thirty eight years thereafter his time and attention were largely given to the work of the fields, improving
his farm according to modern methods. He lived upon that place until 1909, when he came to Durham, where he and
his wife now reside.
It was while a soldier in the army that Captain Clark was married April 6, 1864, while at home on veteran furlough,
to Miss Sarah T. McMillan, a daughter of Thomas McMillan, and to them have been born six children: Samuel W.; Thomas
M., now living in Texas; Charles M., whose home is in Tacoma, Washington; Mary M., at home; Maria, deceased; and
one who died in infancy.
In his political views Captain Clark has always been a stalwart republican and has filled several of the township
offices, while for three terms he was county auditor, his reelection being proof of his fidelity and capability
in office. He was for many years a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and thus maintained pleasant relations
with the boys in blue with whom he served on the battlefields of the south. Both he and his wife are members of
the Presbyterian church, in the work of which they have long taken an active and helpful part, the Captain serving
as one of the elders of the church. He owns and occupies a pleasant residence in Durham and is also the owner of
two hundred and twenty acres of rich and valuable land on sections 7 and 18, Clay township, together with one hundred
and twenty acres in Union county, Iowa. His property is the visible evidence of a life of well directed energy
and thrift. He has worked hard and his persistency, determination and honorable dealing have been the chief factors
in bringing to him the success that has placed him among the substantial citizens of Marion county and now enables
him to live retired.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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