Biography of Joseph A. Clark

The Idaho canal is fed by Snake River, ten miles above Idaho Falls. It has three head gates, is forty feet wide and thirty-five miles long and irrigates one hundred thousand acres of land, the country which it waters being largely settled by prosperous farmers who raise hay and grain in large quantities. The productiveness of this stretch of country and the prosperity which flows from it are made possible by this great inland improvement, and the canal was made possible largely through the personal efforts of Joseph A. Clark, who advocated it, promoted it and was chiefly instrumental in raising the two hundred and fifty thousand dollars required for its construction.

Joseph A. Clark, mayor of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was born in North Carolina, December 26, 1837, and is descended from Irish ancestors who settled early in the south. His great-grandfather, William Clark, fought under General Nathaniel Greene in the Revolutionary war, and died in North Carolina at the age of eighty. His son, Dugan Clark, grandfather of Joseph A. Clark, was born in North Carolina and became a Quaker minister. His son William Clark, second, father of Joseph A. Clark, was born in Greensborough, North Carolina, and there married a North Carolina girl, named Lois Worth, a daughter of David Worth. William Clark, second, was a merchant, and spent most of his days in the south, but late in life he came north to Indiana, where he died at the age of sixty-five. He inherited slaves, but was so thoroughly opposed to slavery that he freed them. When the question of slavery threatened to disrupt the nation he was a Union man. His wife died in 1895, aged eighty. They had twelve children, of whom eleven are living. The one who is deceased died as the result of an injury.

Joseph A. Clark, third child of William and Lois (Worth) Clark, was graduated from Earlham College, Indiana, in 1862, and has passed the busy years of his life as a civil engineer. He came to Idaho Falls in 1885, accompanied by his wife and six children. The town was then insignificant, and its tributary territory was scarcely susceptible to profitable cultivation. He saw the need of irrigation and, as has been stated, was prominent in projecting and pushing the Idaho canal to completion. His trained skill and long experience as an engineer were brought to bear on the problem which confronted the settlers and retarded the development of the country, and his enthusiasm and business ability were potent factors in the success of the enterprise.

In 1866 Mr. Clark married Miss Eunice Hadley, a native of Hadley, Indiana, a town named in honor of her father, Nathan Hadley, who was a pioneer on its site. Their children are Nathan H. (see biographical sketch); William, a farmer; Worth, a lawyer, of the firm of Holden & Clark; Mary, wife of W. H. Holden; and Barzillai and Chase, who are being educated. Mr. Clark is an influential Democrat.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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