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Biography of William H. Clark of Meeker, Colorado

Born in Blackhawk county, Iowa, and removing from there to Missouri with his parents when he was but one year old, then changing his residence to Kansas at the age of sixteen and to Colorado in 1880, when he was twenty-three, William H. Clark, of Meeker, Rio Blanco county, has had knowledge of peoples and conditions in four states, and from the experience thus gained has had his views broadened and his faculties quickened, so that he is a man of much worldly wisdom and practical common sense. He has also had experience in several occupations in different places, and has profited in the same way through them.

William H. Clark began life’s journey on December 29, 1857, and in the new home to which the family moved a year later received a common-school education. The death of his mother when he was sixteen caused all the children who were old enough to begin earning their own living, and he prepared himself for the profession of school teaching by attending private schools and individual effort. He took up school teaching as a profession, which he followed in Montgomery county, Kansas, five years, in the meantime qualifying himself for a life work of wide usefulness by studying civil engineering, in which he acquired great proficiency and is still engaged. In 1880 he located in Colorado, and in 1883 became one of the early settlers in the vicinity of Meeker. Here he found a wide and profitable field for his new professional knowledge, the country being new and undeveloped, and there being need of many surveys and works of construction throughout this and adjoining counties. He entered into the work with eagerness, and ever since then he has been busily occupied in its various branches with great credit to himself and advantage to the territory he has wrought.

From 1897 to 1900 William was also county superintendent of the public schools, and in this department of public usefulness he was also of great service. During his professional career of more than twenty years in this state he has made many government surveys, and has done a large amount of valuable work in several counties, especially those of Garfield, Rio Blanco and Routt. Giving earnest attention to the proper use of the public domain, he was instrumental in having the department of the interior eliminate from forest reserves vast areas of agricultural land, and had introduced and passed the bill for a resurvey of the northwestern portion of the state embracing about one hundred and fifty-six townships, thereby settling many contests and much litigation.

In 1883 William took up a ranch which he improved and which he sold in 1887. When the hour was ripe for the separate organization of Rio Blanco county he took an active part in the movement and was very helpful in promoting it and hastening its conclusion, saving the new county from getting the worst of it by finally adjusting the boundaries. He then secured the patent for the townsite of Meeker and devoted himself energetically to building up and developing the town. He stands high in the community and is generally cordially esteemed for the work he has done in promoting its best interests.

William served three years as mayor of Meeker, and his administration of the office was marked by wisdom and vigor, enterprise and breadth of view. In political allegiance he is an earnest and zealous working Republican, and in fraternal circles belongs to the Masonic order, the Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.

His parents were George W and Lavina (Myers) Clark, the father a native of New York state and the mother of Indiana. They were farmers and were fairly successful at the business. The father served in the Civil war from its beginning to its close, entering the army as a private ‘and being mustered out as an officer. He was a stanch Republican and took a great interest in public affairs. He died in 1882, having survived his wife nine years. They had a family of nine children, six of whom survive them, James, of Meeker; Mary, wife of John Pettijohn, of Terre Haute, Indiana; William H., the subject of this sketch; Benjamin F., of Meeker; Ida, wife of Andrew Hardy, of St. Joseph, Missouri, and Charles E., of Terre Haute, Indiana.

William was married on April 9, 1885, to Miss Frances Pierce, a daughter of D. W. and Lucretia (Higgins) Pierce, who were born and reared in Ohio and soon after their marriage settled in Michigan, removing later to Kansas, where the father died. The father was a soldier in the Civil war and lost his life in the memorable contest. Of their three children two are living, Mrs. Clark, and Jessie, wife of Thomas Sweet, of Manhattan, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have had five children, of whom Robert E., Douglas E., Hazel and William K. are living and Donald is dead.


Next Surveyor General
Next Surveyor General

Next Surveyor General to be William Clark

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 –
President Harding today sent to the senate the nomination of William H. Clark of Meeker for surveyor general of Colorado.

William H. Clark would take the office on 8 Oct. 1921 and would remain in office until the abolishment of the office by Act of 3 Mar. 1925, 43 stat. 1141. [1]Daily Journal (Telluride), September 28, 1921, page 1.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado, p. 33-34. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.


1Daily Journal (Telluride), September 28, 1921, page 1.

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