By: : Jonesborough Genealogical Society
The 1830’s and 1840’s were turbulent times in Texas, as that part of Mexico freed itself, became independent, then became a part of the United States. Starting in 1822, Texas had been settled almost entirely by migrants from the United States, predominantly Southerners, who differed in language, religion and culture from the Mexicans. After an initial welcome of new settlers, the two groups engaged in constantly escalating conflicts. Although the War with Mexico officially ended in 1848, there were continuing hostilities from them on the south and Indians from the north, so that many Ranger Companies, the state law enforcement group, were mobilized into federal service. In spit of all the problems, there was land available, which served as a continuous draw of new people.
One from Washington County who heeded this call to the West and became a Texas Ranger was Edward West Clark, the son of Henderson Conway Clark and wife Ann West. He was born March 5, 1824, in Washington County, went to Texas in October 1846, and returned to Tennessee in April 1849. His pension application has been found and the sworn statement of his doctor shows that Clark “late of Capt. Fitzhugh’s Company of Texas Mounted Volunteers in the Regiment commanded by Lt. Col. P.H. Bell is rendered incapable of performing duties of a soldier by reason of wounds and other injuries inflicted whilst he was engaged in line of duty, to wit-by satisfactory evidence and accurate examination it appears that on or about 20 July 1848 . . . (he was) engaged in the military service of the United States at our near Hickory Station, Denton County, Texas. . . “ He was awarded a pension of $8 per month which was later reduced to $4 per month. Fitzhugh’s company was recruited primarily in Grayson County, Texas. It was mustered into federal service on February 2, 1848 and mustered out of federal service on February 1, 1849.
On February 6, 1850, Clark married Susan Penelope Crouch, daughter of George and Susannah Gresham Crouch, in Washington County. They had four children: Ann Roena, who died young; Mary Alice Clark (Oct. 12, 1853-July 30, 1911), who married David Shields (Sept. 28, 1843-March 28, 1900) on Jan. 9, 1875; Susan Florence Clark (Aug. 4, 1855-Jan. 14, 1910), who married Abraham Mauk (Nov. 17, 1873; and George Edward Clark (Nov. 12, 1858-Jan. 13, 1919), who married Mollie J. Bailey (March 14, 1863-April 10, 1945) on April 24, 1884.
Edward died Jan. 30, 1860 and is buried in an unmarked grave at New Salem Baptist Church. As his pension ended at that time, Mrs. Clark filed for a widow’s pension. On March 28, 1860, she was awarded $3.50 per month. The pension stopped in 1861 – probably because of the Civil War. An 1865 application seems to have been lost, but in 1867 she reapplied and the pension was restored. She was required to sign an Oath of Allegiance. Susan and her children had a hard time during the period without a pension, as she wrote, “My sole means of subsistence has been procured by my own labor on a small farm.” The pension continued until her death March 29, 1900.