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First Name: Jonathan

Last Name: Clark

Birthplace: Albemarle County, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Date of Birth: 01 August 1750

Date of Death: 25 November 1811

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Jonathan Clark

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Jonathan Clark

Major General, Continental Army

Jonathan Clark was born on 1 August 1750 in Albemarle County, VA. Jonathan was the oldest son of the children of John Clark and Ann Rogers. He received an English education and, in time, became a lawyer and a successful man of business. While quite young he spent time in the office of the clerk of Spotsylvania County, VA, as Deputy Clerk.

In 1772, Clark removed to Woodstock in the County of Dunmore (the name was later changed to Shenandoah) and was very soon taken into public favor by being selected, with the celebrated Peter Muhlenberg, to serve as Delegate from the County at an important convention held at Richmond in the interests of the colonies.

About this time, trouble began between the citizens of Virginia, and the Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, which culminated in the latter seizing, without authority, the public powder belonging to the colony. This led to an uprising of the colonists to regain possession of the powder, by force if necessary, and young Clark marched towards Williamsburg, the then capital, as Lieutenant of an independent company of riflemen for that purpose.

Clark's company returned home, however, without bloodshed. He and Muhlenberg were again sent as Delegates to the convention which met at Richmond in December 1775.

In the spring of 1776, Clark was promoted to Captain of a company (commissioned on 4 March), which advanced from Woodstock to Portsmouth and was engaged in several skirmishes with the adherents of the Royal Governor, Dunmore who, in the meantime, had fled the capitol and taken refuge on an English ship.

Early the following summer, Clark marched with Muhlenberg's regiment, and other troops, to Charleston, SC, where they arrived on 24 June and were at once involved in the important military movements then taking place there. He remained there until August, when he was ordered further south. At Savannah, Clark was struck with an illness so serious that he was unable to perform military service and returned home on furlough that autumn. Just as he was recovering from the long illness in the spring of 1777, he came down with small-pox and was again disabled for a significant amount of time.

As soon as his health permitted, he returned to the Army under General George Washington, then at Bound Brook encampment and, with the Eighth Virginia Regiment in the Brigade of General Charles Scott, participated in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and aided in breaking the British right wing in the latter battle.

He was also in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, and in 1779 served with great distinction in the surprise of the enemy at Paulus Hook, where he was second in command after being promoted to Major by Congress.

One hundred fifty-nine enemy soldiers were captured in this affair, with a loss to the Americans of only two killed and three wounded. So significant was the result that General Washington hastened to communicate it to Congress in a highly complimentary manner. He said "that a remarkable degree of prudence, address, enterprise and bravery was displayed on the occasion, which does the highest honor to all the officers and men engaged in it, and that the situation of the fort rendered the attempt critical and the success brilliant." Congress returned thanks and ordered a gold medal to be made in honor of the event, and fifteen thousand dollars to be distributed among the rank and file who participated in the battle.

Major Clark was highly complimented in letters from Lord Sterling and other officers, and the following November Congress promoted him to be a Lieutenant Colonel, with date of rank from the previous May.

The following winter Clark, and the Virginia regiment to which he belonged, together with other troops, marched through terrible hardships to the south, reaching the Siege of Charleston near the end of March 1780, where they encountered still further trials and sufferings. Finally, on 12 May, the American Army, then under command of General Benjamin Lincoln, was compelled to surrender to the enemy. Lieutenant Colonel Clark was held a prisoner in Charleston until the spring of 1781, when he was paroled and returned to Virginia, but he was not formally exchanged until after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.

Abraham Bowman was Colonel of the Eighth Virginia Regiment of which Clark was the Lieutenant Colonel, and he was also the first cousin of an attractive young lady residing in Frederick County, VA, named Sarah Hite. She was the daughter of Isaac Hite, Sr. and granddaughter of Jost Hite; her brother Isaac Hite, Jr., was also a Major in the Revolutionary Army.

The friendship existing between the two comrades-in-arms led to an acquaintance between Clark and Miss Hite, which resulted in their marriage on 13 February 1782. He settled for a time in Spotsylvania County, and was commissioned a Major General of the Virginia Militia in 1793.

Clark's thoughts now turned to the great west and, in 1802, he joined his distinguished brother, George Rogers Clark at the Falls of the Ohio, settling finally at Trough Spring, near Louisville, KY. Here he devoted himself to business with great success, accumulating a large fortune in real estate as well as personal property. The inventory of the latter, returned by Abraham Hite, his wife's cousin, and John H. Clark, his son, his administrators, covers eleven pages of book of inventories No. 2, Jefferson County, KY. A glance over the long list shows that fifty-six of his slaves were mentioned by name.


Jonathan was the older brother of fellow soldier George Rogers Clark and of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Death and Burial

General Jonathan Clark died on 25 November 1811in Louisville, KY. He is buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY.

The following notice of General Jonathan Clark's death appeared in the Western Sun, published at Vincennes, 14 December 1811: "Another Revolutionary hero is gone--Died at his seat near Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, the 25th ult. (November, 1811), General Jonathan Clark--He supped with his family on the 24th, retired at his accustomed hour to rest, and in the morning was found numbered with the dead."

His wife, Sarah Hite Clark was some eight years younger than her husband and she survived him by almost eight years. They now rest together at Cave Hill Cemetery.

Honoree ID: 2345   Created by: MHOH




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