CLARK, HENRY R. (deceased). - The pioneers of Illinois laid the people of this mighty Commonwealth under heavy obligation to them, for without their brave efforts present conditions would have never been developed. Sangamon County is proud to honor the names of those who came here at an early day and, enduring the hardships incident to the time and locality, gradually subdued the wilderness and produced well-cultivated farms and flourishing towns. One of the men who was thus representative was Henry R. Clark, for some years before his death a retired farmer of Riverton, born in Rye, England, April 14, 1819, a son of Philip and Mary (RGavitt) Clark. Philip Clark was born in England, March 25, 1789, while his wife was a native of Paris, France.
Philip Clark was a seaman and during one of his voyages landed in Boston, in 1817. So pleased was he that he remained in that city for several weeks, then traveled by land to New Orleans. He returned to England, but with the intention of returning, which he did in 1818, landing in Baltimore. >From there he went to Pittsburg, and thence once more to New Orleans. After a short stay in the Delta City, he went to New harmony, Ind., and from there after a short stay, to Illinois. His next change was made when he moved on to St. Louis, but he remained there only a short time, traveling back across country to Sangamon County, where conditions suiting him, he located near Rochester, in November, 1819, and sent for his family to join him in the new home. This family had been augmented during his absence by the birth of Henry R., one of five children born to his parents, namely: Mary E., Philip, Margaret, Selina and Henry R. The father of this family was one of the very early settlers of this county, and reared his family to work hard and appreciate the advantages offered by their new home.
Henry R. Clark was educated in the primitive log schools of his neighborhood, and became a sturdy son of the soil, gaining his living by tilling the land. His early life was spent in Clear Lake Township, and at one time he was very active in its agricultural life. Up to the time of his death, at the advanced age of ninety-one years, he was still interested in farm matters. He enlisted at Springfield, September 1, 1861, in Company B, Tenth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, serving all through the war as a wagon master, being mustered out at Camp Butler. At one time in his career Mr. Clark was a millwright and he owned the first mill built in Sangamon County.
The present marriage of Mr. Clark occurred September 9, 1868, to Rebecca A. Tucker, born August 19, 1843, in Bedford, Ky. Her parents came to Warren County, Ill., locating near Galesburg, in 1845, remaining there for nine years, but later going to Missouri, which continued their home. In 1862, the disturbances there resulted in their going to Scotland County, Mo., where they remained, the father passing away in that locality when sixty-six years of age, the mother living to be seventy-five years old. Mrs. Clark is a most charming lady, who presides over her home with dignity and true housewifely skill. Mr. Clark was married before, in Sangamon County, in 1842, to Jane Trotter, who bore him two children: Thomas B., a farmer of Clear Lake Township, and Emma J., wife of J. E. butler, a farmer of the same township.
For many years Mr. Clark had been a member of Stephenson Post, No. 30, G.A.R. He was a Methodist in religious faith. The Republican party always held his fealty. He was well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and imbibed his political opinions from that fountainhead, considering him the greatest man of his time. Mr. Clark was one of the most representative men belonging to the pioneer class of Sangamon County, and his recollections of early days were very interesting and valuable. He died February 3, 1911, being nearly ninety-two years of age.