The Family Chronicle and Kinship
Author: Octavia Zollicoffer Bond; pub. 1928; p. 649-53
MAJOR JOHN CLACK OF SEVIER COUNTY,
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
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.
OF MAJOR JOHN CLACK OF TENNESSEE AND
HIS WIFE, MRS. SARAH (STANDIFER) CLACK
John Clack, born in Virginia; married Sarah Standifer in Virginia; died at his
home, "Mt. Moriah," in Giles County, Tenn. Issue:
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."
Hannah Clack, born (???); married George Rice of Giles County, Tenn.
Fanny Clack, born (???); married Quinton Rice.
Naomi Clack, born (???); married (???) Smith.
(???) Clack, born (???); married (???) Dickson.
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:
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 (???).
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
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
Descendants of Major John Clack
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
November 04, 1779 in Henry Co, VA, daughter of JAMES
She was born July 20, 1758 in Bristol Parish, VA, and died 1823 in Giles
Notes for MAJOR
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,
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)
Notes for SARAH
BIRTH: IGI; MD and IGI; VA. She was nicknamed Sallie.
Children of MAJOR
b. Abt. 1780; m. QUINTON
b. Abt. 1783, Henry Co, VA; d. September 30, 1854, Giles County, TN; m. LUCINDA
WILLIAMS JONES, January 19, 1818, VA.
Notes for SPENCER
b. Abt. 1783, VA; d. April 17, 1867, Desoto, Giles Co., TN.
b. Abt. 1787; m. GEORGE
Giles County, Tennessee.
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