Clay County

Biography - Thomas J. Clark

The subject of this biographical review is eminently deserving of mention in a compilation as is the nature of this one, owing to the fact that his has been an active life, fruitful of good results and among his friends and acquaintances he has ever held an honorable position.

Thomas J. Clark, publisher of The Clay County Democrat and one of the men of influence in this part of the great Prairie state, was born in Hancock county, Indiana, August 4, 1853, the son of Aruna Clark, who was a native of Sevier county, Tennessee, and who came to Indiana when twenty years old, settling in Rush county. He was a carpenter and a minister, thus emulating the life of the lowly Nazarene. He removed to Shelby county, Illinois, in 1860, and in 1865 moved to Effingham county, this state, where he resided until his death in March, 1884. The Clark family originated in Tennessee. The subject's mother, who died in 1882, was Charlotte Furman. Her mother was a native of Scotland and her father of Pennsylvania, of German descent. Mr. and Mrs. Aruna Clark were the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy. They are, Jonathan E., of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Sarah Arnold, of Tucumcari, New Mexico; Mrs. Jennie Wood, of Beecher City, Illinois; Thomas J., the subject.

Thomas J. Clark spent his early life in Effingham county, this state, receiving a limited education in the country schools there, and later attended the city schools of Effingham. After his school days he learned the blacksmith trade at which he worked for eight years. He then clerked in a general store for two or three years, after which he went to railroading, which he followed up to February 1908, having given his employers entire satisfaction in that line of work. In July, 1908, Mr. Clark bought the Clay County Democrat, which he now conducts in a manner that shows him to be a moulder of public opinion, his paper being a power for good in Clay county. He has a good plant, well equipped and his paper is well edited and the mechanical appearance of each issue shows that this part of the work is well looked after. Since assuming charge of the plant the circulation of The Democrat has increased as well as has the advertising.

Mr. Clark was united in marriage to Mary Lilley, December 20, 1876. She was born and reared in Fayette county, Illinois, and to this union four children have been born; William Edwin, who is married and is living at Clarkson, Washington; Mrs. Gertrude Roseberry, of Pana, Illinois; Mrs. Caroline Myers, of East St. Louis; Don, a linotype operator, living in East St. Louis.

Our subject served one term as school director at Beecher City, Illinois, and was City Clerk of Flora, for a part of one term, having been appointed to fill a vacancy.

In his fraternal relations Mr. Clark belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen. In politics he is a loyal Democrat. He is thoroughly interested in the affairs of his party and does what he can in furthering the policies of the same.

Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 117-118.

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