Is your surname Clark?

Research the Clark family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

William Clark

Also Known As: "Corps of Discovery Co Leader"
Birthplace: Caroline County, Virginia, Colonial America
Death: September 01, 1838 (68)
St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, United States
Place of Burial: St. Louis, St. Louis , Missouri, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Clark, of ‘Mulberry Hill’ and Ann Paulette Clark
Husband of Julia Clark and Harriet Clark
Ex-partner of Unknown slave
Father of Michael Clark; Meriwether Lewis Clark Sr. (Brig. Gen.--CSA; William Preston Clark; Mary Margaret Clark; George Rogers Hancock Clark and 4 others
Brother of Ann Rogers Gwathmey; Brig. General George Rogers Clark; Lt. Richard Henry Clark; Capt. Edmund Clark; Elizabeth Anderson and 9 others

Occupation: Explorer, Leader of Lewis & Clark Expedition
Managed by: Scott Jacobs
Last Updated:

About William Clark

William Clark (1770-1838), of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, was the son of Jonathan Clark & Ann Paulette Rogers. He married 1) Julia Hancock 2) Harriet Kennerly.

At this camp [Baker's Bay on the north shore, just inside Cape Disappointment, Washington] Lewis and Clark and several of the men carved their names on a tree. Clark wrote: "William Clark December 3rd, 1805. By land from U. States in 1804 & 1805."

William Clark (August 1, 1770 – September 1, 1838) was an American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor.[1] A native of Virginia, he would also grow up in pre-statehood Kentucky before later settling in what later became the state of Missouri. Clark was also a slave owner.[2] Along with Meriwether Lewis, Clark led the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803 to 1806 across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, and claim the Pacific Northwest for the United States.[3] Before the expedition, he served in a militia and the United States Army. Afterward he served in a militia and as governor of the Missouri Territory. From 1822 until his death in 1838, he served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

Clark was a Freemason and a member of the Saint Louis Lodge No. 111. He was buried with Masonic honors and over his grave stands a Masonic monument.

about York, b. (c) 1772- the Slave and Body Servant to William Clark []

1/17/2001-William Clark-Posthumously promoted to Captain Regular Army-effective date: 3/26/1804 by President William (Bill) Clinton []



Who doesn’t enjoy a “how we met” story? There is a charming story about how William Clark met his future bride, a year or so before the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Hancock family legend has it that young Julia “Judy” Hancock, who was about 11 or 12, and her cousin Harriet Kennerly, age 14, were out riding near their handsome family estate, Santillane, in western Virginia. One of their horses became balky, and the girls were having trouble getting home.

Along came a handsome red-headed gentleman — none other than William Clark — who helped the girls get the horse going and escorted them home. Little did the pretty young girls dream that they had both met their future husband.


  • FamilySearch image 1808 - assent to marriage of William Clarke and Judith Hancock by her father, George Hancock.


Explorer. Born in Caroline County Virginia, Clark moved with his family to Louisville, Kentucky in 1785. In 1789, he joined the militia. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the regular army in 1792, and was assigned to Anthony Wayne's regiment, participating in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. One of the men briefly under his command was Meriwether Lewis. Clark left the army in 1796. In 1803, Captain Meriwether Lewis invited Clark to share the leadership of a corps of exploration in an extensive journey into the vast uncharted area newly acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase. Clark acted as mapmaker and artist, portraying in great detail the life they observed. Clark was credited with rescuing the expedition from disaster on more than one occasion. After Clark's successful return from the Pacific coast three years later, President Jefferson awarded him 1,600 acres and made him brigadier general of militia for the Louisiana Territory as well as superintendent of Indian affairs. He held that post the rest of his life. From 1813 he served as governor of the Missouri Territory. Clark died in St. Louis where a 35-foot gray granite obelisk was erected to mark his grave. His descendants raised $100,000 to rehabilitate the deteriorated obelisk and rededicated it with a ceremony on the bicentennial of the start of Corps of Exploration. The western American plant, Clarkia onagraceae, related to the evening primrose, is named after him.

Bio by: Iola

William Clark was an American explorer who along with Meriwether Lewis led an epic expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Named after these great explorers, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was undertaken following the Louisiana Purchase and aimed at claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States before any of the European powers did. Before being selected for the expedition Clark served in a militia. Born into a large family of tobacco planters in Virginia, he enjoyed an adventurous childhood filled with fox hunts, cockfights, and shooting tournaments. His five older brothers fought in the American Revolutionary War but William was too young at that time. On growing up he joined a volunteer militia force under Major John Hardin to fight in the American Indian conflicts of the Ohio frontier. He then entered the U.S. Army and commanded a company of riflemen at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, playing an important role in the decisive U.S. victory that brought the Northwest Indian War to an end. He eventually retired from the army due to poor health. After a few years he was invited by his friend Meriwether Lewis to join him on an expedition to the Pacific Northwest. The expedition which took several long months to complete was a resounding success which catapulted both Clark and Lewis to the status of legendary explorers.

William Clark is widely remembered as an explorer and for his role as co-leader during the Corps of Discovery, commonly referred to as the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His early adult years were spent as a militia solider which led to his being part of the Corps of Discovery. After the successful conclusion of the Corps expedition, Clark went on to serve as brigadier general of the militia in the Louisiana Territory from 1807, governor of the Missouri Territory 1813-1820 and U.S. Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1822 until his death in 1838.[2]

view all 16

William Clark's Timeline

August 1, 1770
Caroline County, Virginia, Colonial America
December 7, 1805
Age 35
Oregon, USA
January 10, 1809
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
October 5, 1811
May 6, 1816
Saint Louis, City of Saint Louis, Missouri, United States