Submitted by: William R. Gann, 4223 E. 42nd Way, Independence, MO 64055.
John Clark, Jr. died 7 Oct. 1845 in Washington County, Tennessee. In the lawsuits over his estate, many people testified in the form of depositions. Henderson Clark, a life-long resident of Washington County, was a deponent for both the complainant and the defendants.
In his deposition on 30 Aug. 1847, Henderson Clark stated that he was 63 years old and a half-brother to John Clark, Jr., deceased; that John Clark and his wife had 12 children; that John Clark’s wife had died 4 to 8 years previously; and that he, Henderson Clark, had a son named William C. Clark.
From the above data, we can now place the date of birth of this Henderson Clark as about 1784, probably in Washington County, Tennessee.
In his second deposition, Henderson Clark further stated that John Clark’s wife went by the name of Casandra Brachet and that her maiden name was Casandra England; that her husband (Bracket) was still alive when she and John “took-up” together; and that it was rumored that she and John were never actually married. This stated rumor does not agree with the personal statement of John Clark, Jr., who served as a Lt. in the Revolutionary War, when he stated in his application for a pension that the reason he did not fight in the Battle of King’s Mountain was because he “was about to go to get married.”
Henderson further stated that John Clark, Jr. had “one whole sister and other half-brothers and half sisters.”
Earlier, I had thought that the Henderson Clark who married Ann H. West on 14 Oct. 1819 in Washington County, TN was the son of Jesse Clark (d. Oct. 1801). Now, from this new information and from other data from the files of the late Charles M. Bennett, Jonesborough, TN, I conclude that Henderson Clark, half-brother of John Clark, is the one who married Ann West. As proof, the following is offered.
From his deposition in 1847, we know that Henderson Clark (b. 1784) had a son named William C. Clark. This is further confirmed from a court entry on 11 Oct. 1858 in which Henderson Clark made a “deed of gift to the heirs of Wm. C. Clark, my eldest son, who is diseased of body and in debt.” (Book 37, p. 269 Washington County, TN). William C. Clark married Nancy Davis on 26 Jan. 1842, assuming William to be 20-22 at this time, then he could have been born about 1820, one year after the marriage of Ann West to Henderson Clark on 14 Oct. 1819 in Washington County.
The 1840 U.S. Census of Tennessee lists two Henderson Clarks. In Washington County, we find household #248 – Henderson Clark 01020001 – 311001. The last digit in the left column indicates that the male was in the 50-60 age group, which places him as being born between 1780 and 1790, thus fitting with the age of 63.
The other Henderson Clark shown in the 1840 U.S. Census was listed in Dyer County, TN in household #098. The age grouping was: 0002011 – 112011. The oldest male here was in the 40-50 age group, clearly not of the age of the Henderson Clark who gave the deposition in Washington county in 1847. This younger Henderson Clark was the son of Jesse Clark, Sr., of Washington County who died in Oct. 1801. Various records from Dyer County of the younger Henderson Clark and his mother, Nancy, are a part of the estate settlement for Jesse Clark, Sr., in Washington County, TN. Jesse Clark, Sr., is a son of William and Nancy Clark and a brother to Henderson Clark and a half-brother to John Clark, Jr.
The 1850 Federal Census Tennessee lists the Henderson Clark family in Washington County as follows:
Name Age Born Occupation Real estate
Clark, Henderson 65 TN farmer $7500
Clark, Ann H. 45 TN
Clark, Ruth A. 16 TN
Clark, Mary L. 15 TN
Clark, Jarusha 12 TN
Clark, Martha E. 10 TN
Clark, Virginia H. 8 TN
Clark, Catharine E. 5 TN
Clark, Eliza J. 1 TN
The other Henderson Clark family of Dyer County is listed as follows:
Clark, H. 51 KY
Clark, E.M. 44 TN
Clark, M.E. 13
E. Rucker 47
Clark, S.C. 4
Cain, Pate 19
By the age of H. Clark above, he would have been born in 1799 which fits in the 40-50 age range grouping in the above noted 1840 Census.
This brief sketch of the two Henderson Clarks living in Washington County at the same time should clear up any misunderstanding. It clearly establishes, by proving separate identities, that there were, indeed, two Henderson Clarks living in the county around 1800. From the records of the estate settlement of Henderson Clark, deceased, here are the children of Henderson and Anna West Clark.
Name Born Approx. Spouse Marriage date
William C. 1820 Nancy Davis 26 Jan 1842
Elizabeth Jane Jacob Davault 6 May 1844
Edward West Susan P. Crouch 15 Feb. 1850
Henderson Mark Martha E. Hunter 8 Jul 1858
Susan P. Simeon Moore 12 Aug 1827
Ruth A. 1834
Mary Louisa 1835 Robert B. Cowan 31 Dec 1856
Jerusa E. 1838 Henry Donahoo 2 Nov 1864
Martha E. 1840 H.H. Hunter 14 Nov 1861
Virginia M. 1842 James Bayless 21 Feb 1861
Catherine E. 1845
Eliza J. 1849
Where there are two individuals with the same name living in the same location, confusion as to their separate identities and relationships can and often does occur. If the family researcher will take the time to carefully uncover the facts, and even the smallest of details, then the actual identities should emerge. Hopefully the above example of these two men with the same given and surnames will be an example of how one might go about approaching this kind of genealogical problem.
This was a wonderful read. My ancestor is John Clark, Jr. Have you more information? As, my Mother documented a series of court cases, including the murder trial of Joel D by his brother-in-law Bell. Bell was not guilty. Anyway this article is welcomed!