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Below is a family biography included in The History of Washington 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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Maj. John T. Clarke, well known for the past fourteen years as an efficient, capable and obliging book-keeper in the State Auditor’s office, and for the past six and a half years chief clerk in that office, was born in Culpeper County, Va., at Stevensburg, March 20, 1843. James Clarke, his father, a native of Orange County, Va., was a soldier in the War of 1812, and died in 1854, leaving three children, of whom John T. is the eldest. A brother, James W., is postmaster at De Soto, and a sister, Mary A., is now Mrs. A. J. Norwine. Mrs. Clarke, whose maiden name was Elizabeth T. Murphy, was married a second time to Rev. James Keen (deceased). She is still a resident of Washington County. John T. received his education in the schools of Virginia and Missouri, attending during the sessions of 1858-59 and 1860-61 the State University, at Columbia. In July, 1861, he commenced to teach school, but soon discontinued it on account of the turbulent condition of the country. In August, 1862, convinced that the preservation of the Union was paramount to all other considerations, he enlisted as a private in the Thirty-first Regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry, under command of Thomas C. Fletcher, was attached to Frank P. Blair’s brigade, and later came under command of Maj.-Gen. John A. Logan, being assigned to duty on the adjutant-general’s staff. In September, 1864, he was transferred to Gen. Rosecrans’ headquarters at St. Louis, where he served until honorably discharged July 1, 1865. Upon returning home he was engaged in the drug business at Irondale for a time, and from the fall of 1866 until November, 1870, served faithfully as deputy sheriff and collector of Washington County; was then elected sheriff and collector, and, among other duties performed during his official career was the execution of Jolly and Armstrong, elsewhere mentioned in this work. In 1873, upon the expiration of his term, he entered the office of State auditor, as referred to above, where his subsequent career is too well known to need any additional words of empty comment. In the State campaign of 1884 he warmly supported the candidacy of Gov. John S. Marmaduke, who, after his election, tendered him the office of commissioner of labor statistics. This offer was declined. Maj. Clarke belongs to that class of stalwart Union Democrats, who, passing through the dark days of war and reconstruction never faltered or weakened in the faith. He was married December 10, 1874, to Miss Sadie Bolton, a daughter of Dr. Bolton, of Cole County, Mo. They have two children, Bessie and Fletcher. Stephen Cresswell is a representative of one of the old and prominent families of Washington County, members of which settled in the county nearly if not quite seventy years ago. Stephen’s father, George, and his mother, Hannah (Cliff) Cresswell, were natives of England, and were born, respectively, April 17 1796 and December 26, 1795. They were married in the year 1820, and in 1821 immigrated to the United States, settling first in Pennsylvania, but soon afterward removing to Washington County, Mo., where the father was interested in farming, mining, smelting, milling and selling goods; he it was who built the second blast furnace, or Scotch Heath, for smelting in the county, and he also erected the mill which still bears his name. George Cresswell, who was one of the most prominent business men of his adopted county, died April 4, 1871 and his wife died June 7, 1879. Their seven children were named as follows: Mary Ann, Abigail, George, Stephen, William C., Joseph and Rose N. Stephen Cresswell was born in Washington County November 8, 1827, and was principally reared on a farm; he now owns, beside 685 acres of land in his own right an undivided half interest in the mill property on Mineral Fork, which includes 320 acres. Mr. Cresswell was married March 16, 1848, to Mrs. Catherine Simpson, a native of Washington County, who was born November 30, 1827 and is a daughter of Joseph and Lovey (Coates) Simpson, of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Cresswell have five children, whose names are Hannah L., Jessie C., George S., Emma E. and William G.

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This family biography is one of 138 biographies included in The History of Washington County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Washington County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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