Convention Member William Clark

Convention Member
Born October 1, 1817, in Baltimore, Md., and died in Washington, D. C, February 7, 1903. When about ten years of age he went to Gettysburg to learn the printing business with Robert G. Harper, who published The Adams Sentinel. After serving an apprenticeship of three years he went to Washington where he worked at his trade until the spring of 1838, when he started for the west. He crossed the Alleghenies on foot, reaching Pittsburg, where he worked a short time, when he passed on to Wheeling, Va. From that point he descended the Ohio River in a skiff, reaching Cincinnati on his 21st birthday. Here he entered into a partnership and started a small two-cent daily paper. Later on he joined an expedition to go to Galveston for the purpose of establishing a paper, but his party got stranded at New Orleans, whence he worked his way back to-Cincinnati, resuming his old position on The Daily News. Like many other printers of those days he was connected with various papers, but in 1844 he came to Iowa, settling at Iowa City. He was admitted to the bar the following year, and opened a law office. He was an active politician from that time until he left the State. He was so pronounced an abolitionist that “he ran the Underground Railroad and aided John Brown.” He served as reporter of the supreme court of this State for five years, and his reports are probably his best and most permanent work. Mr. Clark was a delegate in the 1857 Iowa Constitutional Convention in Iowa City. He was appointed paymaster in the army in 1863, serving until 1866. Removing to Washington soon afterwards he was appointed chief clerk of the Interior Department, serving until he was removed by President Andrew Johnson. He afterwards, had considerable practice in the Supreme Court and court of claims. He was a resident of Iowa he was frequently mentioned in connection with the positions of governor and United States senator, and was an influential factor in State politics. He collected a large library and many fine paintings, which he intended to donate to this State.