Capt. Smith Hart Clark

Christie Landis
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Smith Hart Clark, son of William Clark & Elizabeth Beck, was born Dec. 11, 1817, Mason Co., West Va. He was one of the pioneers of Mercer Co. and also one of it's most prominent and highly esteemed citizens. Educated in Virginia and Ohio, receiving in all 15 months schooling, 3 of which were received after he was 21 years of age. Having to walk, in some instances from 3 to 4 miles to school. However, realizing the importance of an education, he applied himself to study at home, sitting beside his mother and pursuing his studies far into the night. He stated that it was his rule for a long time to continue his studies long after his mother had retired to rest, no matter what the character of the branch of knowledge he was pursuing. By purchasing what books he could afford and by borrowing such as he could not buy, he acquired a thorough knowledge, not only of the rudimentary sciences, but also of civil engineering and the higher mathematics in general, this being his favorite study.
In 1837, he moved with his parents to Mercer Co. In 1838 he began teaching school. In 1839 he taught in Deep Cut, now Kossuth, Auglaize Co., where there had never before been a school. He thought, at the close of his term of school there, that he would never teach again and began teaming for a steam saw-mill where Celina now stands, but late in the fall of 1839, he began teaching once more in Mercer County. In the spring of 1840, he went to Pickaway Co., where he attended school for 3 months. The next fall he taught again in Mercer Co. In the spring of 1841 he went to Kosciusko Co. Indiana and taught a summer school in Leesburg, as well as the winter following. In the winter of 1843-44, he taught a term of school at Warsaw, where the boys had tried to break up the school by drowning the teacher. Returning to Mercer Co., January 1844 and in the same month and year, he was married to Nancy Archer Greer, the daughter of Judge Joseph Greer and Catherine (Bird)Greer. Judge Greer and his wife emigrated from Clarke Co. in 1821 and settled in Mercer Co. on the farm now occupied by Smith H. Clark. On this farm their daughter Nancy was born, January 2, 1824 and on this farm she lived until her death Nov. 1, 1895, after a 3 year illness of paralysis and was buried in full communion with the Methodist Episcopal Church of which she had led a consistent membership for nearly 50 years. She was a good woman, beloved and respected by all who knew her, and exercised a wholesome influence not only in her home but also in the neighborhood.

Smith Hart Clark served as Justice of the Peace one term. He practiced Civil Engineering in connection with farming for many years and in 1852/53 was Deputy Surveyor of Mercer Co. Was also Postmaster from 1850 to 1860, the post office being in his own house. He and his son William were one of the early settlers of the township of Dublinthe Enumerator for Dublin Twsp. in 1880.

In October 1861, he enlisted in the cause of his country, and recruited Company D. 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of which he was elected Captain. This Regiment at once took the field and participated in the Battle at Shiloh. At Clarksville, Tenn. Capt. Clark was captured and owing to some difficulty in his Regt. over the question of his Colonel, Rodney Mason's bravery, he taking sides with his Colonel, he was dismissed. Afterward, when the charge against the Colonel was more fully investigated, Capt. Clark was re-instated in his rank, but refused again to take the field. Returning to his home after thus serving his country and again engaged in farming and in surveying.
He was a stanch Republican in Politics and a prominent and active Mason. In 1852 he joined the Masonic Lodge at St. Mary's, Ohio and assisted in establishing a lodge in Celina, Ohio in 1855. Of this lodge he was the first Master, and remained a member until 1868. He organized a lodge in Rockford and was the first Master there and served in that capacity as long as he would. He had his membership in Rockford and was a regular attendant of the Grand Lodge for nearly 30 sessions, missing only 2 or 3 from 1856 to 1884. Was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1842, and had always taken an active part in the Sunday School. Everything designed to benefit the community at large has always found in him a ready and willing support. To him is due the credit for securing graded schools in Rockford and also in Mercer Co., and these are today among the best schools in the county. For 40 years he served as member of the Board of Education, thus evincing in a striking manner his interest in the cause.
Capt. Smith H. Clark and wife Nancy Archer Greer had 10 children: Phronie Belle, b.? d.1854; Infant son Clark; Francis M. b. ? d.1846, Lemen Taylor b. 1846, d. 1878; Judson F. b.Oct. 5, 1848, d. Apr. 18, 1849; Rosalus Guynn b. 1850, d. 1932; Barton S. b.June 3, 1852, d. Aug.16, 1866 Plot: Row 7; William O. b. Oct. 2, 1856, d. Jan 25 1857 buried Plot: Row 7; Florence b. Aug. 24 1859, d. Jan 30,1860 Plot: Row 7; and Bertha Edna b. 1871 d. ? married John Ketcham; All of his family buried at the Mercer Cemetery, Mercer Co., Ohio.

Sources: Mercer Co., State of Ohio, Biographical History, pages 227-230
Find a Grave Web Site.
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Cindy Jensen Want to know who is Louis Clark who showed up in 1850 US census, living with Captain Smith H and Nancy, obviously he is not Nancy's son, so is he Captain Smith H's son or brother? Louis was at age of 13, living with this family.
Apr 24, 2011 · Reply

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