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 From: The Family Chronicle and Kinship Book
Author: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond; pub. 1928; p. 649-53



           According to a written statement by Col. Spencer D. Clark, U. C. V., of Kansas City, Mo., his grandfather, Major John Clack, was the younger brother of Hon. Spencer Clack and was born in Virginia in 1757. He married Sarah Standifer and lived in Abingdon, Albemarkle County, Va., whence he and his brother, Spencer Clack, removed to Tennessee and settled in Sevier County. His only son was named Spencer Clack for his brother, Col. Spencer Clack, son of the second Spencer Clack, says positively that his grandfather, John Clack, was an officer in the War of the Revolution and fought at Guilford Court House and the Cowpens and in other battles of the Revolution until the close of the war, when he went to live in Tennessee. He and his brother, Lieut. Spencer Clack, represented Sevier County in the constitutional convention of 1796. John Clack was on the committee chosen out of that body to draft the Constitution of Tennessee. See Heiskell's "Andrew Jackson" and Ramsel's "Annals." He was State Senator in the first General Assembly of Tennesse and for many years afterward served the State in the Legislature, having the inborn taste for public affairs that, together with the spirit of militant patriotism, has animated the men of our family in all its branches.

           Col. Spencer D. Clack, now 84 years old, says he has always heard that Major John Clack (under General Morgan at the battle of the Cowpens, 1781), being the only field officer who was not wounded in the fight, received the surrender of the remnant of Tarleton's British Cavalry after their defeat. He and several of his brothers were with General Wayne (Mad Anthony) at the storming of Stoney Point in 1778. On April 22, 1796, while still living is Sevier County, Tenn., he was elected justice of the peace for that county by the Legislature. In the year 1815 he removed with his family from Sevier to Giles County, Tenn., where he continued in public life, representing that county in the State Senate until his death in 1833. Miller's Official Manual of Tennessee records him as State Senator from Giles County in 1823. He died at home on his estate, "Mount Moriah," six miles west of Pulaski, the county seat of Giles, noted as the town in which originated the patriotic Ku Klux Klan movement. Some of Major John Clack's descendants held high offices in the Klan in its incipiency. His great granddaughter, Mrs. Lizzie Clack) Armistead, of Nashville, Tenn., agrees with her uncle, Col. Spencer D. Clack.

          Major John Clack and Lieut. Spencer Clack Came to Tennessee from Abingdon, Albemarle County, Va., where his ancestors had settled after emigrating from Wales to America in 1635. A third brother, Thomas Clack, they say, went from Albemarle County to North Carolina. Mrs. Armistead says Maj. John Clack's first home in Tennessee was at Paint Rock, near the North Carolina line. It is traditionally stated that either John or Spencer Clack was a Mason of high degree, who had sat in the lodge with George Washington.

            John Clack received grants of land for military service after the War of the Revolution and his name as Captain John Clack is in the list of Revolutionary soldiers buried in Tennessee soil, which was compiled for the State Archives by Miss Susie Gentry, and whose names appear on the monument erected in their memory by the Tennessee D. A. R. The list also contains the name of James Clack. Among family data preserved by the Clacks of Texas is an old letter that tells of "Clack brothers of descent from English ancestry who came to settle in East Tennessee." This intimation of English ancestry is contradictory to the traditional belief that the East Tennessee Clacks came to America from Wales. It seems to me more probable that they were grandsons of Rev. James Clack of Gloucester County. It is also said that four Clack brothers left Virginia to settle in North Carolina or its transmountain counties. This being granted, the fourth brother was, doubtless, the James Clack previously mentioned, and the father of Commodore John Henry Clack and James Sterling Clack of Louisiana. Miss Gentry states that Captain John Clack was buried at Lynchburg, Tenn., in an old family graveyard near the town.

            Lynchburg is in Lincoln County near the Giles County line. As Maj. John Clack removed from Sevier County to Giles, the probability of their being kinsmen is made apparent in this nearness of location. Hon. John Clack of Brunswick County, Va., had a son, James Clack, named for his father, James Clack II, and his grandfather, Rev. James Clack of Gloucester, Va. James was mentioned in the will of his grandmother, Mrs. Mary (Sterling) Clack, wife of James Clack II (1763). This James Clack is supposed to be the one of that name who married a daughter of Judge William Maclin, sister of Mrs. Landon Carter, Mrs. Wm. Cocke, Mrs. Elijah Robertson, Mrs. Richard Cross and others.

          It is fully believed that Commodore John Henry Clack and his brother, James Sterling Clack of Louisiana, were sons of Captain James Clack of Virginia, who is buried in Tennessee soil. The theory that Captain James Clack's wife was one of "the Maclin sisters" explains the tradition of Pocahontas descent, which is held by the Louisiana Clacks and not by those whose ancestors were Spencer and Maj. John Clack of Tennessee. I find no such tradition among any of the descendants of the latter.



Major John Clack, born in Virginia; married Sarah Standifer in Virginia; died at his home, "Mt. Moriah," in Giles County, Tenn. Issue:

1. Martha Clack, born (???); married Spencer Beavers of Giles County, Tenn., and reared a large family, who have succeeded well in life. She was known in the connection as "Aunt Patty."

2. Hannah Clack, born (???); married George Rice of Giles County, Tenn.

3. Fanny Clack, born (???); married Quinton Rice.

4. Naomi Clack, born (???); married (???) Smith.

5. (???) Clack, born (???); married (???) Dickson.

There were four other daughters of Major John Clack whose names have not been learned. The only son of Maj. John Clack and his wife, Mrs. Sarah (Standifer) Clack, was called for his brother. He was:

6. Spencer Clack, born (???), 1783, who married Jan. 19, 1818, Lucy Williams Jones, daughter of Wilson Jones of North Carolina, and elder sister of Judge Thomas M. Jones of Pulaski, Giles County, Tenn., who was a member of the Confederate States Congress. Their younger brother was Judge Calvin M. Jones, co-founder of the great Ku Klux Klan movement. Spencer Clack died (???).


(Only son of Major John Clack)

          Spencer Clack, son of Major John Clack and his wife, Sarah (Standifer) Clack, was probably born in Virginia. He removed with his father from Sevier County, Tenn., where Major Clack lived for a number of years after leaving Virginia, to Giles County, Tenn., in the year 1815. There he passed the rest of his days as a citizen of consequence, amassing by industry and thrift a large fortune, which was inherited by his children and lost to them through the financial ruin of the South in the War between the States. He was a Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason as befitted one whose ancestor had sat in the lodge with General George Washington. His social affiliations were with the prominent Tennesseans of his times, one of his closest friends being Governor Neil S. Brown. Spencer Clack was a director in the State Bank of Tennessee. With the patriotic spirit of his race he enlisted for the War of 1812, and would have been in the battle of New Orleans, Jan. 8, 1815, had not the boat on which he and the troops with which he was connected had embarked for the seat of war failed to reach its destination in time to take part in the battle.

           His wife, Mrs. Lucy Williams (Jones) Clack, daughter of Wilson Jones of Pearson County, N. C., was the elder sister of Judge Thomas M. Jones of Pulaski, Tenn., an eminent jurist and member of the Confederate States Congress. Judge Thomas M. Jones reared to manhood their younger brother, Judge Calvin M. Jones, who became famous as one of the founders of the original Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski. The first Klan or "Circle" was organized more in jest than in earnest by Calvin Jones and other college bred young Confederate soldiers who, returning to their desolated homes had, as they said, "nothing to do and nothing to do it with." It spread and grew in numbers rapidly and finally, under the wise control of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, became a powerful and effective agency for redeeming the South from negro domination during the hectic reconstruction period. Judge Thomas M. Jones' daughter married Hon. Z. W. Ewing of Marshall County, Tenn., who after sane government was restored, became a member of the National Congress. Their daughter married Thomas Everett of Columbia, Tenn. She is the mother of Mrs. Douglas (Everett) Caruthers, wife of Rev. Mr. Thomas Caruthers, pastor of St. Peter's Church n Columbia. Mrs. Caruthers was connected with mission work as a teacher in the Philippine Islands in her early girlhood, utilizing in this helpful way the intellectual gifts she had inherited from her mother. Upon her return to the States she delivered impressive public talks concerned her experiences in the islands and in China.

CLY's note:  The following is information I have in my files for John and Sarah Standifer Clack.

Descendants of Major John Clack

Generation No. 1

1.  MAJOR JOHN2 CLACK  (JAMES1) was born Abt. 1757 in Loudon Co., VA, and died January 22, 1831 in Mt. Moriah Home, Giles County, TN; b. Pulaski Cemetery, Giles Co., TN.  He married SARAH "SALLY" STANDIFER November 04, 1779 in Henry Co, VA, daughter of JAMES STANDIFORD and MARTHA WATKINS.  She was born July 20, 1758 in Bristol Parish, VA, and died 1823 in Giles County, TN.

Said to have learned surveying and military tactics from George Washington.

Lived in Albemarle Co, Henry  Co, Washington County VA before moving to Paint Rock, Sevier Co., TN.  Moved to Giles County, TN after 1812.

MARRIAGE: Virginia Marriage Records; p. 275.
He represented Sevier County in the constitutional convention of 1796.
He was a Justice on the first Sevier County Court that convened July 4, 1796.
He was a Rev. War veteran.  Listed on Tax list in Henry Co., VA 1782-1787.

*From Tennessee Cousins, p. 208:
Spencer Clack of Sevierville and His Descendants.  As early as 1789, Spencer Clack had erected a mill on the right bank of the East Fork, just above the town of Sevierville (as now located),  His brother, JOHN CLACK, was one of the first justices of Sevier County in 1794 and also in 1796.

These two brothers came to what is now East Tennessee and settled in Sevier County, from Henry Co., VA where John Clack had married Sallie Standifer, daughter of James Standifer in November 1779.  He was brother in law of Mark Rentfroe, who married Naomi Standifer, her sister, April 22, 1779.  Both of the Renfroes and Standifers moved to Tennessee.  Their wives were related to William Standifer, who married Susan Meneffe and settled in Anderson County.  All five families including Stephen Heard may have made the trip together.

Info. on this Clack line comes from the DAR File661791 (Bobbie Watson, September 26, 1996)

BIRTH: IGI; MD and IGI; VA.  She was nicknamed Sallie.


                   i.       NAOMI3 CLACK, m. UNKNOWN SMITH.

                  ii.       FRANCES "FANNY" CLACK, b. Abt. 1780; m. QUINTON RICE.

                 iii.       SPENCER D. CLACK, b. Abt. 1783, Henry Co, VA; d. September 30, 1854, Giles County, TN; m. LUCINDA 
ILLIAMS JONES, January 19, 1818, VA.

                     Notes for SPENCER D. CLACK:   Spencer was a veteran of War of 1812.

2.              iv.       MARTHA "PATTY" CLACK, b. Abt. 1783, VA; d. April 17, 1867, Desoto, Giles Co., TN.

                  v.       HANNAH CLACK, b. Abt. 1787; m. GEORGE RICE, Giles County, Tennessee.

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