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James Clark

Gov. James Clark

  • August 30, 1836 - August 27, 1839
  • Whig
  • January 16, 1779
  • August 27, 1839
  • Virginia
  • Married twice--Susan Forsythe, Margaret Buckner Thornton; three children
  • Died in Office
  • Representative


JAMES CLARK was born in Bedford County, Virginia on January 16, 1779. His early education was attained through private tutors and at the Pisgah Academy in Woodford County, Kentucky. He studied law in Virginia, was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1797, and established a successful legal career in Winchester, Kentucky. Clark entered politics in 1807, serving as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1808. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1813 to 1816, 1825 to 1831, and was a member of the Kentucky State Senate from 1831 to 1835. Clark also served on the bench of the Court of Appeals in 1810, and was judge of the Circuit Court from 1817 to 1824. He won the Whig gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1836. During his tenure, a public school system was organized in every county, legislation was sanctioned that deterred the escape of slaves, and the state board of education was formed, as well as the office of superintendent of public education. Also, the economic problems from the Panic of 1837 were dealt with. Before he finished his term, Governor James Clark passed away on August 27, 1839. He was buried in a family graveyard in Winchester, Kentucky.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Governors' Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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