Clark ancestors came from England to America by way of Barbados

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 15, 2014

Earlier in this column a Clark family was featured as residents of Covington County. Today, another Clark line, which settled primarily in Coffee County, will be presented. One of the descendants, Martha (Clark) Brightwell, who moved into Covington County, has shared her records for this writing.

Some of the genealogy for this Clark family is by oral tradition, but most of it has been documented and even published. It is held that Michael Clark and his wife, Margaret, were both born in England, he circa 1629. They sailed aboard the Glasgow from Southampton to Barbados in 1669 and settled in Christ Church Parish. Michael planned to engage in sugar production, so upon arrival, he secured property and developed one of the largest sugar plantations on the island. He appeared to have extreme losses from the two severe hurricanes during the late 1670s. He died there in 1678 and was buried in a church cemetery. This may explain why, Micajah, one of his older sons migrated on to America circa 1680 and settled in New Kent County, Va. Some of the younger sons followed him a few years later.

John Clark, one of the younger sons, was born in 1660 in England. He made the voyage from England to Barbados and later to Virginia. It appears that he was married to Mary Palin, daughter of Henry Palin. He was living in Pasquotank or Bertie Precinct, N.C., when he died in 1689 at the young age of 29 years. The following two children have been identified for John and Mary: Mary, b. ca 1685, m. 1700 John Alston; and John (Jr.), b. ca 1689, d. 1761, m. (1) ca 1726 Ann Alston (2) m. Aft. 1731 Mary Gibson (3) bef. 1758 Martha (Nesbit) Picken(s).

John and his first wife, Ann Alston, daughter of John and Mary (Clark) Alston, had four children: Mary, b. bef. 1728; Alston, b. ca 1729, d. bef. 1790, m. bef. 1760 Rachel Owen; Ann, b. ca 1731; and John Jr., b. c 1732, d. aft. 1804, m. Sarah Freeman. The descendants of the oldest son, Alston Clark, are the ones being followed in this writing.

John and his second wife, Mary Gibson, daughter of John and Mary (Browne) Gibson, had the following five children: Elijah, b. 1733, d. 1799, m. ca 1762 Hannah Arrington; Lewis, b. ca 1735, d. 1822, m. Jean “Jane” Edwards; Nancy, b. ca 1738; William, b. ca 1739, d. 1796, m. Mary Willis; and Jemima, b. ca 1740.

John and his third wife, Martha Nesbit, widow of Israel Pickens, reared one child, Gibson Clarke, b. 1760, d. 1822 or 1849, m. 1784 Susannah Phillips.

John ‘s oldest son by his first wife, Alston Clark, is believed to have been a Quaker and therefore, a pacifist or objector to serving in the Revolutionary War. Records show he paid taxes during the period and that he was most likely regarded as a patriot. He was born in Bertie Parish, N.C., and died in Lancaster County, S.C. He was married to Rachael Owen(s), and they reared eight children: Absolom, b. ca 1765, d. ca 1820, m. 1783 Mary “Molly” Bailey; Patience, d. 1817, m. Joseph Coile; Margaret “Mattie,” m. Joseph Hood; Mourning, m. James Hood; Ely, b. ca 1770, d. bef. 1842, m. Susannah H. ?; John; Alston Jr., b. ca 1776, d. 1848, m. Margaret ?; and Richard, b. 1778, d. bef. 1840, m. Nancy ?.

The oldest son, Ely (Elijah ?), and his wife, Susannah H., reared the following children: Alston, b. 1798, d. aft. 1870, m. 1821 Frances Ann Sims; Elijah, b. ca 1806, m. Ann Curry Sadler; Jesse, b. ca 1812, m. 1833 Elizabeth ?; Greenberry, b. ca 1814, m. 1836 Jennatt ?; Mary Elizabeth, b. bef. 1820; and Nancy, b. bef. 1815, m. ? Carlisle.

Ely’s oldest son, Alston Clark, was born in Lancaster County, S.C., and later migrated to Georgia where he lived for several years. In 1848, he moved on to Dale County, Ala., where he settled his family for a time. He was later residing in the Haw Ridge community of adjoining Coffee County where he died circa 1870. His property there became a part of that used for the current Fort Rucker military base.

Alston Clark and his wife, Frances Ann Sims, daughter of George and Eleanor Sims, had the following 16 children: Eleanor Sims, b. 1822, d. 1904, m. John C. Hudson; Lucinda, b. 1824, d.1905, m. John Alexander Davison; George W., b. 1824, d. 1827; Elijah Jackson “Ely,” b. 1825, d. 1864, m. Matilda Edgar; Martha Ann, b. 1827, m. 1848 Thomas Jefferson Waters; Tabitha, b. 1829, d. 1830; January Jane “Jincy,” b. 1831, d. aft. 1880, m. Hiram King; Henry T., b. 1833, d. 1865 in war; Margaret “Nancy” Elizabeth, b. 1833, d. 1889, m. William Ellis Heath; Furney, b. 1834, d. 1916, m. Catherine Frances Snellgrove; James Alston, b. 1838, d. 1915, m. Mary A. Owens; Jefferson Albert, b. 1839, d. 1910, m. 1860 Samantha Amanda Hornsby; Matilda, b. ca 1840, d. 1853; Lenora, b. 1842, d. 1945; Frances, b. 1844, d. 1918; and Julia Ann, b. 1847, d. 1918.

John Clark’s son, Elijah Clark, by his second wife, Mary Gibson, became prominent as a general during the Revolutionary War and later as a political leader in the State of Georgia. There are some records suggesting he may have been a Quaker as well. He ended up settling in Georgia where he and his wife, Hannah Arrington, reared a large family. He and his family will be featured in next week’s column.

Resources for this writing include the genealogical records of Martha (Clark) Brightwell, a descendant of the above Alston and Frances Ann (Sims) Clark and a resident of Andalusia, Ala. She has in her possession a family history, Michael Clark, b. abt. 1629 in England, compiled by Jesse W. White in 2003, which was the primary source. Her family story in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama was also helpful. Appreciation is expressed to Martha for her assistance and sharing her Clark family history.

Anyone who finds any error in the above data is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: