BY CHANCE by
Archie P. McDonald
Texas has produced two remarkable men named Ed Clark. Today’s subject is Edward
Clark of New Orleans, Alabama—and Marshall,
Edward Clark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1815.
Following the death of Clark’s father, he and his mother moved to Montgomery,
Alabama, where he was educated for a legal career. Clark moved to Marshall,
Texas, in 1841, and opened a legal practice. He married there, established
a home, and began a thriving practice in the Texas Republic.
Clark served as a delegate to the Texas constitutional convention in 1845, then
terms in the House of Representatives and the Senate of the state legislature.
He was on the staff of Governor James Pinckney Henderson during the Mexican-American
War, and received appointment as secretary of state for Texas by Governor Elijah
M. Pease. Clark was elected lieutenant governor in 1859, when Sam
Houston was elected governor.
and Clark assumed office just in time to deal with the secession
issue. Houston’s whole political
career in Texas had worked toward securing statehood
for Texas and keeping it in the Union. Clark’s sympathies
were more "southern," but Houston
decided policy as long as he was governor. That ended in February 1861.
Of all the Deep South governors, only Houston
refused to call a secession convention after South Carolina began the process
on December 20, 1860. When he refused to do so, secessionists went around him
to persuade county judges to call elections for delegates to such a convention.
Houston then called the
legislature into special session but it did no good since most of the legislators
also had been elected as delegates to the convention. They met on January 28,
1861, and quickly passed an ordinance of secession.
remembered that all office holders had taken an oath to support the Texas and
US Constitutions, so they decided they must be sworn in again, this time pledging
allegiance to the new and separate governments of Texas and the Confederacy.
When Houston refused
to do so, the convention declared the office of governor vacated, and that elevated
Clark to the post. He took the required oath of office and went right to work
raising troops and money and generally readying Texas
for war. Clark wanted to make his temporary governorship a permanent one, but
lost the first Confederate election for the office to Francis R. Lubbock. Clark
served in the Confederate army, then practiced law in Marshall
until his death in 1880.
© Archie P. McDonald
5, 2004 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
by the East Texas Historical Association. Dr. Archie McDonald is the Association's
executive director and author of more than 30 books on Texas history.
Topics: Texas People | Columns
| Texas Towns | Texas
|Book Hotel Here