WILLIAM L. CLARK – Among the successful business men of Harney county is to be mentioned
the gentleman named above, whose well known establishment of general merchandise
at Lawen, where he has done business for some time, is one of the prosperous business
houses of the county; and in addition to handling this, Mr. Clark has a hay farm
of one hundred and sixty acres, which he attends to and also raises cattle, and
also he has been a mail contractor of the interior of Oregon.
William L. was born in Carroll county, Indiana, on April 3, 1845, being the son
of Thomas and Ann (Davidson) Clark. In the spring of 1853, the father started across
the plains with his family in an ox train from Carroll county, Indiana. They made
the trip successfully, but the last six weeks they had to live on the flesh of the
oxen they killed, without even the luxury of salt. Fresh meat with water for six
weeks is not so pleasant as might be imagined. They came through the Harney valley
and settled in Lane county, near Eugene. The remaining oxen ate poison weeds in
the valley and all died. The father took a donation claim, and, being a miller,
wrought at his trade in Eugene as well as handled his farm. He died in Eugene in
December, 1896, and the mother died in 1899. On April 6, 1865, William L. enlisted
in Company K, First Oregon Volunteers, under Captain A. B. Ingraham, to fight the
Piutes and the Snake Indians. He was in one battle on the middle fork of the Malheur
and one on the south fork of the John Day. He was in the service for one year and
did scout duty most of the time. He covered the entire portion of eastern Oregon
and did valuable work. Being honorably discharged at the close of the conflict,
he went home, and there on February 12, 1867, he married Nancy E., daughter of William
and Irene Ogle. The father was a soldier in the Union army and is living in Missouri.
Mrs. Clark came across the plains with an uncle in 1864. Mr. Clark learned the wagonmaker’s
trade at Springfield and wrought at that after his marriage. In1880 he went to Eagle
Point in the Rogue river valley and worked at his trade and then returned to Lane
county, where he did the same labor. It was in 1885 that he came to Harney valley
and entered a homestead near Lawen. He has it well improved and handles stock and
raises hay. In 1898 he took the contract of carrying the mail from Burns to Crane,
which ended on July 1, 1902. In 1900 he engaged in the general merchandise business
in Lawen, and owns a block of lots with his store buildings and also a residence
there. He does a good business and is fast working up a first class patronage.
To Mr. and Mrs. Clark there have been born six children, names as follows: Mrs.
Irena A. Way, of Klamath county, Oregon; Mrs. Bertha A. Johnson, near Lawen; Mrs.
Viola J. Page, of Coos county, Oregon; George W., Ira B., Thomas R.
Transcribed from Pages 663-664 of Harney County Biographies from “An Illustrated
History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties with a brief outline of the
early history of the State of Oregon”, Published 1902 by Western Historical Publishing