Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clark Heritage


The English name "Clark" is technically how they pronounce "Clerke".  It was a name given to those who were gifted in scholarly pursuits...a lawyer, a religious figure, or a secretary.

I've been able to trace the Clark line from my grandfather, Herbert F. Clarke, to the birth in 1500 of Thomas Clarke, in England. However, other separate Clark lines also connect to my mother’s tree:

o Around 1530, Anna Clark married William Wyllys. They are ancestors of Lizzie Tooker.

o In 1584, Amy Brewster Clark married Thomas Weld, an ancestor of Lizzie Tooker. Amy Brewster Clark’s father was purportedly William Brewster, father to the Pilgrim William Brewster. So Amy was the Pilgrim’s half-brother, according to current research.

o In 1665, Elizabeth Clark married Thomas Read, an ancestor of Lizzie Tooker. Elizabeth Clark’s line I was able to trace back to 1291, with the birth of Peter Clarke in Kent, England. His father’s first name was Clark, and he was born in Woodchurch England, so his name was Clark Woodchurch (as that’s how last names originated in the 13th Century and earlier)

o In the late 1660’s, Sarah Clark married Reinold Marvin, an ancestor of Niles Clark. Sarah Clark’s ancestry I was able to trace back to Thomas DeClarke, born 1350 in Kent, England.

The first Clarkes to arrive in the U.S., who were direct ancestors of Grampy:

o John Clarke, a tradesman from Cambridge, England, moved to the USA four years after his wife died in England, and landed at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia in September 1608, in the third and last voyage of the ship the “Mary Margaret”. The voyage was called “the Second Supply”. His name can be read on the passenger list for that ship. He did not bring his 9 year old son Thomas on the long journey, but young Thomas would later migrate to Plymouth, MA. John lived in the Jamestown Settlement until his death in 1623. Since slavery had begun in 1619, it’s quite possible that John owned a slave, as slaves were used to harvest the tobacco crops they found in Virginia.

o John’s son, Thomas Clarke, from Stepney, England, arrived at Plymouth Rock on the “Anne” in 1623, although it is believed he was first mate on the Mayflower, but returned with Capt. Jones. His name can be read on the passenger list for the ship named "Anne". He met his future wife Susannah at some point prior to 1631. The family moved from Plymouth to Boston by 1660 and then back to Plymouth by 1673. Some of their time was also spent in Barnstable. He died 24th March, 1697 and is buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth. During his time in America, he held the following offices:

 Deputy for Plymouth, 8 June 1655;
 Coroner's Jury, 1635- 1652;
 Petit jury, 7 December 1641, 1 November 1642, 9 June 1653, 4 October 1653;
 Plymouth constable for Eel River, 1 March 1641/2;
 Surveyor, 7 June 1642, 7 March 1642/3 (Eel River), 7 June 1648;
 Surveyor of highways (Eel River), 5 June 1644;
 Supervisor of highways (Eel River), 1 June 1647;
 Committee for Plymouth, 5 June 1651;
 Committee to treat with the commissioners regarding the trade at Kennebecke, 2 July 1655;
 Committee serving at court, 3 June 1656;
 Committee to supply and accommodate the Governor and Magistrates, 3 June 1657.
 Thomas Clarke volunteered for duty durinig the Pequot War, 7 June 1637. He also served in Capt. Miles Standish's third company.

Thomas' son John moved to Lyme, CT in the late 1600's. The Clarks have maintained an existence in Lyme and East Haddam since then.

As mentioned in other posts, the original English spelling of "Clarke" dropped the "e" upon arrival in the New World, but occasionally the original spelling has still popped up in some family groups.


  1. Im a Direct Descendant. This is well written site.

    Mark Clark

  2. Im a Direct Descendant. This is well written site.

    Mark Clark

  3. I have been researching my family line and have came across most of this, but you are way more informed than I could hope to be. I would love to hear more information.

  4. do you have anything on Clarke de Woodchurch? He picked up the last name of Clarke following his mother's death [Susan] c.1260. Prior to that the family name was de Woodchurch for the small parish in Kent County that traces back to Sir Anchitel Woodchurch 1141-1168 during the time of the Norman Conquest.
    Dennis L Clark

    1. Hi Dennis, I'm afraid I don't. I've only traced back to the 1500s at this time. Good luck on your search!

    2. thanks for the response.... will keep looking for ties

    3. Any updates, Dennis? I've hit the same wall!

    4. Any updates, Dennis? I've hit the same wall!

    5. no, I am at a dead end... no pun intended

      Dennis Clark, Charleston, SC