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|Size||1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 800 items including 5 volumes items)|
|Abstract||William J. Clarke of New Bern and Raleigh, N.C., was a businessman, Confederate officer, and postwar Republican leader. Clarke married poet and novelist Mary Bayard (Devereux) Clarke (1827-1886). The collection consists chiefly of scattered bills, receipts, slave bills of sale, accounts, correspondence (including some with Zebulon Vance), and legal papers, 1850-1880, related to personal expenses and a variety of business interests including lumber, railroads, and an iron works associated with William J. Clarke of Raleigh, N.C. There is also Civil War military and personal correspondence of Clarke while a colonel with the 24th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Political material is slight except for a diary, 1868, describing Clarke's efforts on behalf of the Republican Party at New Bern, N.C. The diary also includes entries relating to Clarke's family, especially his children.|
|Creator||Clarke, William J. (William John), 1819-1886.|
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William J. Clarke was born in Raleigh, N.C., the only child of Ann Maria Robadeau and William F. Clarke. In 1841, Clarke graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina. He went on to be one of the organizing members of the alumni society in 1843, and he received a M.A. degree in 1844. In addition, Clarke also read law. On 9 April 1847, he was commissioned captain of Company I of the 12th United States Infantry, and he served in Mexico during the war with Mexico. Clarke was severely wounded at the Battle of National Bridge and later promoted to major for his gallantry. His unit was disbanded 25 July 1848. After the war on 6 April 1848, Clarke married Mary Bayard Devereux of Raleigh, who was living on a sugar plantation for the benefit of her health. They became the parents of two sons and a daughter.
Clarke practiced law in Raleigh and in 1849 was a candidate for a seat in Congress from the Sixth District, which he lost to John R. J. Daniel. From 1850 to 1855, Clarke was state comptroller. In 1857, Clarke moved his family to San Antonio, Tex., because of his wife's health. There he became president of the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railroad. When the Civil War began, Clarke was made colonel of the 14th North Carolina Regiment (later redesignated the 24th) and served in that rank throughout the war. Clarke was highly acclaimed as an officer, and at one time he was recommended for promotion to brigadier general. A petition submitted by his commanding officer, M. W. Ransom, and signed by many others was placed before Jefferson Davis. Davis never made the appointment, however, and Clarke is said to have been bitterly disappointed. During the battle at Drewry's Bluff in Virginia on 15 May 1864, Clarke's shoulder was shattered by a shell fragment, and he never returned to his regiment. On his way home from Virginia, Clarke was ambushed, captured, and kept prisoner at Fort Delaware from January to July 1865.
After the war, Clarke and his family lived at Boon Hill (now Princeton) in Johnston County, N.C., where he managed his interests in a lumber mill, the Selma Iron Works, and a mine in Greensboro. Clark shortly moved his family to New Bern where he became a trustee and later principal of New Bern Academy, serving there from 1868 to 1870.
Now a Republican, Clarke was elected to the state senate from Craven County, but resigned before taking his seat a few days before Governor William Holden appointed him judge of the superior court. Clarke continued to support the Republican Party, and in Raleigh on 24 December 1879 he began publishing The Signal, a weekly newspaper that supported that Party's candidates. His wife contributed materials of interest to women as well as some of her own poetry. However, he published the newspaper for only a brief time when the Republican State Committee of North Carolina took control of the paper in July 1880. Afterwards, Clark devoted himself to his law practice with his son in New Bern.
William Clarke died in New Bern on the 23 January 1886 and was buried there in Cedar Grove Cemetery.Back to Top
The collection consists chiefly of scattered bills, receipts, accounts, correspondence, and legal papers, 1850-1880, related to personal expenses and a variety of business interests including lumber, railroads, and an iron works associated with William J. Clarke of Raleigh, N.C. There is also Civil War military and personal correspondence of Clarke while a colonel with the 24th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Material on politics is slight except for a diary, 1868, describing Clarke's efforts on behalf of the Republican Party at New Bern, N.C.Back to Top
Correspondence consists chiefly of business papers, including bills, receipts, and reports on Clarke's Neuse River lumber mill business, railroad interests, and iron works interest, 1850-1880. There are also a few legal papers and some correspondence of his children. The Civil War items consist of letters to Clarke when he was a colonel with the 24th North Carolina Regiment in North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. The material includes letters from the front, soldiers' letters from home, letters to officers, orders, muster rolls, and material on Reconstruction politics. Also included is correspondence with Zebulan Vance. Other material includes warrants, deeds, bills of sale of slaves, political party material (1868), and a W. H. Mary Bayard Clarke poem. Among the correspondents are Rufus Barringer, Will H. Battle, Henry T. Clarke, William E. Clark, W. J. Clarke, Graham Daves, J. Devereux, W. B. Green, William H. Harrison, D. H. Hill, Thomas D. Hogg, F. F. Hoke, W. W. Holden, C. E. Johnson, Willie H. Maverick, Charles Phillips, George G. Water, and Jonathan Worth.
Volumes consist of account books and a diary (1868) of Clarke in New Bern, N.C. There are scattered references to his wife and to her poetry.
Volume includes military notes with record of absences and casualties.
Consists of labor records and accounts of supplies and cash furnished to workers.
Another volume documenting labor records and accounts of supplies and cash furnished to workers.
Accounts of F. D. Clarke.
A pocket diary of William J. Clarke, recorded chiefly at New Bern, N.C., where he opened a law office. He wrote of hard times on all sides, politics and campaigning for Grant and Colfax and making speeches for the Republican Party. He mentioned a paper published by his wife, Mary Bayard Clarke, and someone named Crutchfield, in Raleigh, called The Literary Pastime, and his own contributions to it. He also mentioned his desire to edit a Republican paper. Late in the year, Clarke mentioned his wife joining him in New Bern, his taking charge of the Academy at New Bern, his dealings with the scholars, and his being made criminal judge of New Bern. He wrote a great deal in his diary about his children.
Processed by: Library Staff, 1964
Encoded by: Bari Helms, February 2005
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, October 2009Back to Top