Biography - Leander Clark

LEANDER J. CLARK was born in Union County, Ill., July 8, 1843, and is a son of Volney W. Clark, who was born in Allen County, Ky., in 1809. The latter was a son of a Virginia farmer, who removed to Kentucky at an early day and died in that State on his farm at an advanced age. He left three sous and two daughters. Volney W. Clark married Julia Brown, a native of Illinois and a daughter of John Brown. This marriage took place in Union County, Ill., about 1840. They settled on a farm of one hundred acres of new land, near Western Saratoga, upon wliich they lived until Mrs. Clark died in the winter of 1851-52, when Leander J. was but eight years of age. She left four children, one son and three daughters. After the death of his wife Mr. Clark sold out and bought one hundred acres of improved land, upon which he resided until his death. After the death of his second wife he married Mrs. Sarah Reed, nee White, widow of William Reed. By his first wife he had one child, Martha W., wife of Hezekiah O'Neal, a farmer of Union County, Ill. By his second wife he had five children, viz: Leander J.; Sarah, who became Mrs. M. Hennesy and died in 1870, leaving two children; Elizabeth, who married John Miles, and died in 1875, leaving two sons and one daughter; and Julia Ann, who married J. Daniels and died about 1873. By the third wife he had one child, Lucy Jane.
Leander J. Clark worked out by the month on the farm at $6 per month in the summer time, and in the winter he split rails at fifty cents per hundred, the rails being ten feet long. He could cut his own timber and split from one hundred and fifty to two hundred rails per day. While a boy in years he was in reality a man in strength. At one time he cut the timber for five hundred rails in one day. When the War of the Rebellion came on he, in February, 1862, enlisted in Company E, Sixtieth Illinois Regiment, his Captain being Evans. He went in as a private and served three and a-half years in the ranks; during that period he was not absent from his regiment more than a month at a time and that only twice, once when suffering from chronic diarrhoea, and once from pneumonia. The rest of the time he was always ready for duty. He was in the battles of Missionary Ridge, Buzzard Roost Mountain, Resaca, Kingston, Dalton, and the other battles in the Atlanta campaign and at Jonesborough, Ga., serving under Gen. W. T. Sherman all the time, including while on the march to sea. He was mustered out at Springfield, Ill., and discharged August 9,1865, when he returned to the old farm in Union County. Here he was married September 24, 1865, to Miss Margaret A. O'Neal, daughter of Patrick and Rhoda (Smith) O'Neal. Both of the latter were from Tennessee, whence they came to Illinois in 1840, settling in Johnson County. They made the journey in their own covered wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen, and were at the time in quite humble circumstances. At first they squatted on Government land, but later bought forty acres from the Government, upon which they lived until the death of Mr. O'Neal in 1851, at the age of forty-two. He left his widow with nine children, seven daughters and two sons. All are now living but one son, Vardeman. The mother of these children died February 8, 1893, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Clark. She was in her eighty-second year, and had been an invalid for five years.
Mr. and Mrs Clark have burled three children, two infant sons and a daughter, Ida, who died at the age of sixteen years, in 1885. She was a very promising young lady, and her death was a sad blow to her parents. The children that are now living are as follows: Dora B., wife of L. Coke, a farmer living near Creal Springs; W. W., a young man of twenty at home on the farm; Thomas O., sixteen years old, at home and attending school; Luella. J., a bright young girl of thirteen, Cora, aged twelve, and Mary ten, all three in school; and V. W., a boy of seven. L. W. Miles, a son of Mr. Clark's sister, a young man of twenty-two, has lived with him since his fifth year, when his father and mother died.
Mr. and Mrs. Clark lived in Union County on rented land two years after their marriage, and then removed to Goreville Township, where our subject first bought forty acres of land on section 8. Five years later he traded this for a farm near Pulley's Mill, and in the fall of 1878 he sold the latter place and moved to his present home, buying an improved farm of eighty acres for $1,000, and going in debt $400. He has since added seventy-five acres to the first eighty, and now has one hundred and fifty-five acres of land, all under cultivation but thirty-two acres of timber, and all arable except twenty acres of broken timber land. Mr. Clark has done a vast amount of hard work in his time, having opened up three farms, cleared off heavy timber, and grubbed the greater part of more than sixty acres. He has run to no specialty or speculation, but has made his present fine property by steady and hard work and economy. He erected his present modern one and a-half story frame cottage in 1885.
Our subject is one of the industrious and thrifty farmers who believe in doing things well, and is bringing up his children with the best school advantages and surrounded by the comforts of life, of which for the most part he was deprived when young. He has always voted the Republican ticket, though he is not rabidly partisan. He and his wife are members of the Christadelphian Society, or Second Adventists. Both are good, useful and highly esteemed members of society.

Extracted 29 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 399-400.

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