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Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Page 577

RANDAL CLARK. For more than half a century this gentleman has resided upon a farm on section 20, Gillespie Township. Since 1839 he has been the owner of a part of his present farm, and during all the years which have since come and gone, has been not only an eye-witness of the growth and development of the county, but has also taken a prominent part in its upbuilding. As one of the pioneers and most highly esteemed citizens of Macoupin County, we are pleased to present his portrait to our readers. Mr. Clark claims South Carolina as the State of his nativity. The date of his birth is November 30, 1815, and the place Greenville County.

Joseph Clark, father of our subject, was also a native of Greenville County, and is of Scotch-Irish descent. He grew to manhood upon his father's farm, and served as a private during the War of 1812, participating in many important engagements during that struggle. When the country no longer needed his services he returned to his native home, and was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Taylor, who also spent her childhood days in Greenville County. Her father, William Taylor, was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary War, and under fire at many important engagements, including the battle of Cowpens. His fidelity to duty made him a favorite with comrades and officers alike. His last days were spent in Georgia, where after a two years' residence he died at the age of eighty years. His wife survived him four years, and she too was well advanced in years when called to her final rest.

After their marriage Joseph Clark and his wife settled upon a farm in Greenville County, where the husband died at a comparatively early age, Randal being then about eight years old. Mrs. Clark afterward came to Illinois and died in Montgomery County, at the age of eighty-seven years. She was a member of the Methodist Church, and a noble Christian woman, whose many graces of character endeared her to the hearts of all.

Our subject is the eldest of five children, and has two sisters yet living - Elizabeth, who resides in Dorchester; and Eunice, widow of Lawson Boyce, living on a farm which is known as the Clark homestead. At the age of twenty years Randal Clark arrived in this county, and not only was he without capital, but upon him hung an indebted ness of $50 which he had incurred to pay the expenses of the trip. However, it was not long before he found work as a farm hand, and although his wages were very small, he was faithful to his duty, and in course of time became able to purchase a small tract. He entered eighty acres of wild land on section 20, Gillespie Township, which forms a part of his present fine farm, began clearing it and in course of time gathered abundant harvests as the reward of his labors. For some years he also devoted considerable attention to stock-raising, breeding good grades of horses and cattle, and in this line materially increased his income. As his financial resources were increased he made judicious investments of his capital in real estate, adding to his former purchases until his landed possessions now aggregate more than one thousand five hundred acres in Gillespie Township. Much of this has been cleared and developed by Mr. Randal's own efforts. He has divided it into fields of convenient size, all of which he has supplied with good farm buildings and has it well stocked. He also owns considerable property in Kansas, Missouri, and elsewhere.

Not long after his arrival in this county, Mr. Clark was united in marriage with Miss Lucy P. Gray, a Virginia lady, born in the Old Dominion February 25, 1816. She was only a child when her parents, James and Marian (Baber) Gray, following the course of emigration which was steadily flowing Westward, came to Illinois. They traveled overland with teams and spent some years in Sangamon County, whence they came to Macoupin County, making their home in Hilyard Township until they departed this life. They were members of the old school Baptist Church, and are numbered among the pioneer settlers of this community.

After a long and happy wedded life, Mrs. Clark died at her home in Gillespie Township, July 17, 1887. She was the mother of thirteen children, but five are now deceased: Mary, Elizabeth and James, all of whom were married, have now passed away; and William and Edward died in childhood. Those who still survive are: Marian, wife of William Whitfield, a resident farmer of Gillespie Township; Noah, who wedded Rachel Meadows, and lives in Oklahoma; Josephus, who wedded Jane Walker, and carries on farming in St. Clair County, Mo.; Elijah, who was joined in wedlock with Ella Rose, and is engaged in the same pursuit in Gillespie Township; Best P., a farmer of Texas, first married Miss Dorcas Walker, and after her death wedded Matilda A. Rockenbaugh; Ann is the wife of Newton Gwin, who is engaged in farming in St. Clair County, Mo.; Lincoln married Frances Walker, and is a farmer of Gillespie Township; and Isabella completes the family. She is the wife of Orange Walker, and they reside with Mr. Clark on the old homestead.

The name of Randal Clark is inseparably connected with this county's history. For fifty-si years he has here resided, and has done his part toward promoting its best interests and aiding in its progress. He has also served as Supervisor of his township, being elected by the Republican party, of which he and his sons are stanch supporters. The wild and unimproved prairies he has seen transformed into beautiful homes and farms, has seen towns and villages spring up, witnessed the introduction of the railroads, the telegraph and telephone, seen countless manufactories established and the whole county transformed from an almost barren wilderness to a blooming garden. His life has been such as to win the confidence and regard of all with whom he has come in contact. He is now living a retired life, and for some time has been confined to his room by paralysis, but he bears his misfortune uncomplainingly, and takes pleasure in the enjoyments yet left to him.

1891 Index

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