James W. Clarke, postmaster at De Soto, was born in Culpeper County, Va., in 1846, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (Murphy) Clarke, of Irish descent. The former a native of Orange County, Va., born in 1803, was a wheelwright by trade, and served in the Mexican War. By his marriage to Miss Murphy three children were born. Mr. Clarke died in Virginia in 1853. Mrs. Clarke (whose birth occurred in Culpeper
County, Va., in 1820) married, after coming to Missouri, Rev. James Keen
(deceased). She had come to this State in 1851. James W. Clarke is one
of the three children by his mother's first marriage. A brother, John T.,
served as chief clerk in the State auditor's office, at Jefferson City
for fourteen years, and his sister, Mary A. became the wife of A. J.
Norwine, of Mineral Point, Mo. Young Clarke accompanied his mother to
Missouri when young and obtained his education in the common schools.
In 1863, during the progress of the war, he enlisted in Company I,
Thirteenth Missouri Regiment, Shelby's brigade, under Capt. Williams,
and served for two years, surrendering at Shreveport, La., in June, 1865
after having participated in numerous engagements, among which was the
battle of Fort Scott. The winter of 1864-65 he passed in Texas. In 1874
he married Miss Jennie Taylor, a native of Franklin County, Mo. In 1875
he established a livery stable at Mineral Point, Mo., of which he was
proprietor two years, and the following five years was engaged in
merchandising. In June, 1886 he received the appointment of postmaster
at De Soto, under Cleveland, and assumed charge of the duties of that
position in November following an office which he still holds. Mr. and
Mrs. Clarke have two children: Latty Howard and Carter. Politically he
is a Democrat. Mrs. Clarke is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and
Mr. Clarke belongs to the A. O. U. W.