Clark, John C. (ca. 1798–1862)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 6, 2020

John C. Clark, Wharton County planter, member of the Old Three Hundred, and Indian fighter, was born in South Carolina about 1798. He received little education and by 1822 had come to Texas, where he was injured in a fight with Karankawa Indians on the Colorado River in 1823. In June or July 1824 he was with Robert H. Kuykendall and Alexander Jackson, Sr., in an Indian fight near Peach Creek. As one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, Clark received title to a sitio of land now near Egypt in Wharton County in 1824. There he established one of the first plantations in the county, a spread of 4,428 acres. He was subpoenaed as a witness to testify against Aylett C. Buckner in June 1825 and in April 1826 signed an affidavit concerning Tonkawa hostilities. In 1830 Clark sold the west half of his league to William J. E. Heard, who paid fifty cents an acre for his 2,222 acres. In 1833 or 1834 Clark bought a mulatto named Sobrina, whom he may have married in 1837 and with whom he had three children. Sobrina had three other children. In 1850, when his real property was valued at $26,602, Clark had a total of fifty-one slaves; by 1860 he had real property valued at $132,145, personal property of $104,715, and forty-six slaves. He died in 1862, leaving a large estate of lands, slaves, and personal assets. His children, however, evidently did not learn of his death until after his property was sold in 1866 for $477,846.28 and the proceeds were turned over to the state. From 1863 to 1867 four sets of heirs claimed the estate, which by October 1867 was valued at about $380,000. On the basis of the Constitution of 1869, which legitimized the children of couples who had lived together until the death of one party, the jury decided for the plaintiffs.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Dallas Herald, October 12, 1867. J. H. Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6–7 (January, April, July 1903). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964). Alice Mitchell Wright, An Abstract of Biographical Data in the Texas Supreme Court Reports, 1857–1874 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1937).

  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Clark, John C.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 6, 2020

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