Biography of William L. Clark

Among the successful business men of Harney county is to be mentioned the gentleman named above, whose well known establishment of general merchandise at Lawen, where he has done business for some time, is one of the prosperous business houses of the county; and in addition to handling this, Mr. Clark has a hay farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he attends to and also raises cattle, and also he has been a mail contractor of the interior of Oregon.

William L. was born in Carroll county, Indiana, on April 3, 1845, being the son of Thomas and Ann (Davidson) Clark. In the spring of 1853, the father started across the plains with his family in an ox train from Carroll county, Indiana. They made the trip successfully, but the last six weeks they had to live on the flesh of the oxen they killed, without even the luxury of salt. Fresh meat with water for six weeks is not so pleasant as might be imagined. They came through the Harney valley and settled in Lane county, near Eugene. The remaining oxen ate poison weeds in the valley and all died. The father took a donation claim, and, being a miller, wrought at his trade in Eugene as well as handled his farm. He died in Eugene in December, 1896, and the mother died in 1899. On April 6, 1865, William L. enlisted in Company K, First Oregon Volunteers, under Captain A. B. Ingraham, to fight the Piutes and the Snake Indians. He was in one battle on the middle fork of the Malheur and one on the south fork of the John Day. He was in the service for one year and did scout duty most of the time. He covered the entire portion of eastern Oregon and did valuable work. Being honorably discharged at the close of the conflict, he went home, and there on February 12, 1867, he married Nancy E., daughter of William and Irene Ogle. The father was a soldier in the Union army and is living in Missouri. Mrs. Clark came across the plains with an uncle in 1864. Mr. Clark learned the wagonmaker’s trade at Springfield and wrought at that after his marriage. In1880 he went to Eagle Point in the Rogue river valley and worked at his trade and then returned to Lane county, where he did the same labor. It was in 1885 that he came to Harney valley and entered a homestead near Lawen. He has it well improved and handles stock and raises hay. In 1898 he took the contract of carrying the mail from Burns to Crane, which ended on July 1, 1902. In 1900 he engaged in the general merchandise business in Lawen, and owns a block of lots with his store buildings and also a residence there. He does a good business and is fast working up a first class patronage.

To Mr. and Mrs. Clark there have been born six children, names as follows: Mrs. Irena A. Way, of Klamath county, Oregon; Mrs. Bertha A. Johnson, near Lawen; Mrs. Viola J. Page, of Coos county, Oregon; George W., Ira B., Thomas R.



Whitman, Marcus. An Illustrated history of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Chicago: Western Historical Publishing Co., 1902, 871 pgs.

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