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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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 Clark, one of the old and prominent citizens of Polk County, Mo., was born in Benton County, Ohio (then Ross County), December 2, 1824, being the second of eleven children born to William and Rachel (Starkey) Clark, who were born in Ross County, Ohio, and Virginia, in 1804 and 1800, and died in Kansas, and Polk County, Mo., in 1865 and 1856, respectively. They were married, and resided in the “Buckeye State “ for some time; then came to Missouri, and located in Polk County, where they were residing at the time of the mother’s death. The father afterward married Polly Hunter, who also died in Kansas. He was a farmer all his life, and was also deeply interested in church matters, the first Methodist Episcopal Church in the county being organized in his house after his arrival in Polk County, Mo. His children who are living are: George, a resident of Peru, Neb.; James; Enoch, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Miranda, a resident of Iowa; and Zara C, a farmer of Kansas. James Clark was educated in Ohio, and worked on his father’s farm until twenty-five years of age, and then worked as a farm hand for three years. He then engaged in farming and stock raising on his own account, and has continued up to the present time, being counted one of the successful farmers of the county. In 1852 he was married to Miss Martha Jane Ragsdale, a daughter of Joel and Jane (Alread) Clark, who came from their native State of Kentucky to Cole County, Mo., at a very early period. Mrs. Clark was born in Logan County, Ky., May 13, 1834, and she and Mr. Clark became the parents of thirteen children: Rachel Jane, wife of John Vandeford, a farmer of the county; Mary Miranda, wife of Isaiah Rimbey, also a farmer; Thomas J., Sarah Ellen, William Joel, John W.; Hannah R., wife of Daniel Davidson; Susan V., Annie, Martha M., Esther M., Rosa L. and Margaret A. All the sons and sons-in-law are engaged in farming. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years, and have always been deeply interested in church affairs. He is a stanch Republican in politics. Their son, John W. Clark, was born in 1862, and received his education in the common schools, and supplemented this by an attendance in the Marionville Institute and the Southwest Baptist College at Bolivar, Mo., graduating in the course of letters. He has since been engaged in teaching school in Polk County. He is a Republican in politics, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has been class-leader in the Methodist Episcopal Church for about one year.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Polk County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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