1st Lieutenant MERRITT M. CLARK, Co. A, 77th Illinois
Merritt M. Clark was born on January 10, 1835 at or near Manchester, Bennington County, Vermont, the son of Chester Clark, who was born January 6, 1784, and Saviah (Matteson) Clark, who was born about September 27, 1791. At the time of the 1840 census, a C. R. Clark is found in Readsboro, Bennington County, Vermont.
In the 1840's the Clarks came west to Illinois, where they settled in Knox County. Chester Clark died on July 17, 1846 in Knox County and his mortal remains were laid in the Hope Cemetery near Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois. Saviah (Matteson) Clark died on March 11, 1870 and her mortal remains were laid next to those of her husband.
Now to continue with the biography of Merritt M. Clark;
Illinois State Archives records state that Merritt M. Clark was married to Celia Alice Tinker on August 2, 1857 in Henry County, Illinois. Celia was born on ____________ __, 1833 at ___________, New York, the daughter of Rev. Charles E. Tinker and Mary (Robinson) Tinker.
Seven children are believed to have been born to Merritt and Celia. They are;
1. Mary Ina Clark, born November 16, 1858 probably in or near Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois; died young on June 20, 1864 probably in Knox County, Illinois; Her mortal remains were laid in the Hope Cemetery near Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
2. Luella M. "Ella" Clark, born August 14, 1860 probably in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
3. Chester Mattison Clark, born c. 1864/65 probably in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
4. Charles T. "Charlie" Clark, born c. 1866/67 probably in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
5. Jay C. Clark, born June 11, 1869 probably in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois; Jay was married to Frances J. Vinyard on August 22, 1893 in Greene County, Illinois; Two children, Dana and John, were born to Jay and Frances; At the time of the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census records, the family is found residing in the City of Galesburg, Illinois; Following is the 1920 census record;
Head Jay C Clarke M 49 Illinois
Wife Frances V Clarke F 47 Illinois
Son Dana Clarke M 24 Illinois
Son John C Clarke M 22 Illinois
At the time of the 1940 census, Jay and Frances are found residing in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California; Jay died died on November 12, 1958 in Inyo, California.
6. Willis James Clark, born June 10, 1873 in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois; died on April 23, 1947 in Wichita Falls, Wichita County, Texas and his mortal remains were laid in the Highland Cemetery in Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma.
7. Alice Pauline Clark, born c. 1877/78 probably in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
Merritt volunteered on
ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
Illinois Civil War Detail Report
Name CLARK, MERRITT M Rank 1SGT
Company A Unit 77 IL US INF
Residence GALESBURG, KNOX CO, IL
Age 27 Height 5' 9 Hair LIGHT
Eyes BLUE Complexion LIGHT
Marital Status MARRIED
Nativity MANCHESTER, VT
Joined When JUL 18, 1862
Joined Where GALESBURG, IL
Joined By Whom M V HOTCHKISS
Period 3 YRS Muster In SEP 2, 1862
Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom
Muster Out JULY 10, 1865 AS 1ST LT
Muster Out Where MOBILE, ALABAMA
Muster Out By Whom CPT HOOK
Remarks PROMOTED to 2LT, then 1LT
At the time of the 1880 census, the Clark family is found in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois. Merritt is listed as M. W. Clark in the transcribed copy of this census. He is a Lawyer and his parents are both listed as having been born in Vermont;
Self M. W. Clark M 46 Vermont
Wife Ada C. Clark F 46 New York
Daughter Ella Clark F 19 Illinois
Son Chester Clark M 15 Illinois
Son Charlie Clark M 13 Illinois
Son Jay Clark M 10 Illinois
Son Willis Clark M 6 Illinois
Daughter Alice P. Clark F 2 ---
Merritt M. Clark died on May 23, 1883 at Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois. Celia died on ____________ __, 1910 at ___________, ___________.
From the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois" published in Chicago, Illinois by the Munsell Publishing Company in 1899 comes the following biography;
"MERRITT M. CLARK, a patriot soldier during the Civil War, was born in Manchester, Bennington County VT, January 10, 1835. He was the youngest son of Chester and Saviah (Matteson) Clark, and was left fatherless when only eleven years of age. In 1851, he came to Galesburg with his mother, and lived here the remainder of his life.
Mr. Clark acquired the rudiments of his education in the district schools of his native State. Afterwards, he supplemented this instruction with a more thorough course of study. He matriculated in Knox College, and graduated with high honors in 1857. After graduation, he read law with the firm of Smith and Ford, and was soon admitted to practice in the courts of the State. In the Spring of 1861, a law partnership was formed with Judge A. A. Smith and E. P. Williams, which continued until 1862. Imbued with patriotic fervor, he entered the army as a commissioned officer, and served, though with impaired health, until the close of the war. His patriotism and his love for his companions in arms are shown by the following incident: A member of the law firm, in which he was once a partner, urged him to obtain a discharge from the service on account of his poor health, and with a true Roman spirit offered to take his place. He replied, that he could not ask such a favor, when his companions, suffering as much as he, could not obtain a release. Having been a partaker with them in the triumphs of battle and the shouts of victory, he could not desert them in an hour of darkness, disease, or death. With an heroic spirit and with a manly courage that did not quail in the smoke of battle, he remained at his post until victory was won.
After Mr. Clark's discharge, he returned to his home, where he remained, highly honored, until his death. Immediately, he was elected Police Magistrate, which office he filled until the Spring of 1866. He then formed a law partnership with E. P. Williams, which was dissolved in 1871 on account of Mr. Clark's ill-health. During 1871, he was elected City Attorney, which office he held for one year.
As a lawyer, Mr. Clark possessed certain eminent characteristics. He was fair and honest, and a sense of justice and equity seemed to control his actions. He was accurate and painstaking in cases at court, and his quick perceptions and versatile mind enabled him to discover the weak and strong points in trial or argument. As a soldier, he virtually gave his life to his country. Disease, contacted on the field of battle, did not quench the fire of patriotism that was burning within him, or turn him from the path of duty. His name is worthy to be enrolled on the scroll of fame with the patriots of his time. As man and citizen, he bore an unsullied character. His demeanor was pleasing, but not commanding. He was charitable in his speech and acts, and his kindly nature drew around him many friends. He lived a full life of kindness and love, and is worthy to have inscribed upon his tombstone this epitaph - an honest man.
Mr. Clark was a Congregationalist, a member of the Old First Church. His political faith was republican. He was married September 2, 1857, to Celia A. Tinker, a daughter of Rev. Charles E. and Mary (Robinson) Tinker. Rev. Charles E. Tinker was a Home Missionary about 1840.
To Mr. and Mrs. Clark were born seven children: Mary Ina, died in childhood; Luella M.; Chester M.; Charles T.; Jay C.; Willis J.; and Alice Pauline."