William L.ee Clark was born on 18 Nov 1838 in Woodland Township, Fulton Co., Illinois, the son of Michael CLARK (b. Dublin, Ireland) and wife Rachel SMITH (b. Virginia). A 1904 history relates, “His parents died when he was 3 years old and for 10 years he was shifted around from stranger to stranger. His life consisted of just existing. Then William was taken in by the Jones family in Peoria County, ILL. They were kind to him and provided a good home for him, where life really began.”
On 3 Nov 1859 in Peoria Co, IL, he married Sarah FULLER (b. 5 Jul 1840 in Peoria Co, Illinois; d. 12 Oct 1908 in Vesta, Johnson Co., Nebraska). William and Sarah had at least one child, Joseph Allen Clark (b. 18 May 1868 Pawnee Co, NE). From this child descends the line to the member of Laura Belle Stoddard Tent 22, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865.
William died at home in Vesta, NE on 18 Jun 1905, never fully recovered from wounds sustained in the war. He and Sarah are buried in Vesta Cemetery, Johnson Co, Nebraska.
William L Clark was enrolled on Aug 9, 1862 in Lancaster, ILL and honorably discharged at Gallatin, TN on Dec 28, 1862. He had “enlisted in Co. I, ILL 86th Volunteer Infantry under Captain Phelenstock. The regiment marched to Perryville, Kentucky via Louisville. At the Battle of Perryville William was wounded in the right side and then – while scaling a stone wall – was hit in the head. He was unconscious and was removed to the field hospital. After a partial recovery he was ordered to rejoin his unit in Nashville, Tennessee. He was incapable of active duty and was discharged, thinking that he would not live very long. He some how made it home to his wife and children who were living on a farm at Peoria, Illinois. With good care and rest, he regained fairly good health. The farm was on the road where the troops passed and a lot of the livestock and chickens, fences and crops were taken by the troops. One horse was hidden in the cellar to prevent it being taken by the troops.”
In 1867, William, Sarah and the family “joined an emigrant wagon train of relatives and friends and moved to Nebraska, locating in Pawnee County not far from the village of Lewiston. The journey took over a month to complete. They brought with them livestock and farm machinery. They homesteaded on land that was open prairie with few trees and no buildings. They later sold the farm and bought another one with better buildings on it about 1 mile west of Vesta, Nebraska in Johnson County. There they remained for the remainder of his life.”
- Civil War Invalid Pension File – filed 4 Feb 1876: Application #213970 + Certificate #581961 (state filed not given);
- A Biographical and Genealogical History of Southeastern Nebraska, Vol 1; 1904, The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago-New York; Pages 495-497; accessed 28 Aug 2014 via GoogleBooks.
- Find-A-Grave listing for William Lee Clark 1837-1905: <http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Clark&GSiman=1&GScid=101587&GRid=37181550&>