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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James W. Clarke, postmaster at De Soto, was born in Culpeper County, Va., in 1846, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (Murphy) Clarke, of Irish descent. The former a native of Orange County, Va., born in 1803, was a wheelwright by trade, and served in the Mexican War. By his marriage to Miss Murphy three children were born. Mr. Clarke died in Virginia in 1853. Mrs. Clarke (whose birth occurred in Culpeper County, Va., in 1820), married, after coming to Missouri, Rev. James Keen (deceased). She had come to this State in 1851. James W. Clarke is one of the three children by his mother’s first marriage. A brother, John T., served as chief clerk in the State auditor’s office, at Jefferson City, for fourteen years, and his sister, Mary A., became the wife of A. J. Norwine, of Mineral Point, Mo. Young Clarke accompanied his mother to Missouri when young, and obtained his education in the common schools. In 1863, during the progress of the war, he enlisted in Company I, Thirteenth Missouri Regiment, Shelby’s brigade, under Capt. Williams, and served for two years, surrendering at Shreveport, La., in June, 1865, after having participated in numerous engagements, among which was the battle of Fort Scott. The winter of 1864-65 he passed in Texas. In 1874 he married Miss Jennie Taylor, a native of Franklin County, Mo. In 1875 he established a livery stable at Mineral Point, Mo., of which he was proprietor two years, and the following five years was engaged in merchandising. In June, 1886, he received the appointment of postmaster at De Soto, under Cleveland, and assumed charge of the duties of that position in November following, an office which he still holds. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke have two children—Latty Howard and Carter. Politically, he is a Democrat. Mrs. Clarke is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Clarke belongs to the A. O. U. W.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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