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First Name: Elijah

Last Name: Clarke

Birthplace: Edgecombe County, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Date of Birth: 1736

Date of Death: 15 December 1799

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
Elijah Clarke

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Elijah Clarke

Brigadier General, Continental Army

Elijah Clarke was born in 1736 in Edgecombe County, NC.

In 1774 he moved to Wilkes County, GA, and when the war shifted to the South, he became one of the leading partisan commanders. He was a Colonel of Militia, serving at times under Pickens, and was a Brigadier General in 178I-83. His name occurs in various skirmishes of the far South, at Alligator Creek in I778 where he was wounded; at Kettle Creek in I779, where he shared with Pickens the credit of the victory, displaying foresight in occupying the higher ground; at Musgrove's Mill in August 1780, where he was severely wounded and had a narrow escape; at Fish Dam and Blackstocks in October I780; at Long Cane, where he was again wounded; and at Beattie's Mill, where he defeated the British leader Dunlap.

He served at both sieges of Augusta--in September I780 when he was repulsed, and the next year when he cooperated with Pickens and Lee in the reduction of the town. In recognition of his services Wilkes County and the Legislature of Georgia granted him an estate.

After the war Clarke by turns negotiated with the Indians, and fought against them, inflicting a defeat at Jack's Creek in Walton County, GA, in 1787. In 1793 he became involved in the schemes of Ghent, the intriguing Minister of France, directed against Spain. Clarke entered the French service and received a commission as Major General, a salary of $10,000, and some means for the carrying out of the plans. It was his job to enlist Georgians, Creeks, and Cherokees, but there was little fighting, Ghent was soon recalled and Fauchet, his successor, stopped the undertaking.

The next year Clarke was implicated in a still more serious affair. He led a force into Creek territory across the Oconee River. His motives, according to a biographer, were "not quite clear." But the Georgians were "land-hungry;" they were irritated with the Creeks and with the attitude of the Federal government, and Clarke claimed to be defending the rights of his state. A few forts were erected, and some towns were laid out. These proceedings brought him to the notice of the law, but he was popular with Georgians, and was acquitted by a Wilkes County tribunal.

He continued his project, and the "Trans-Oconee State" received a constitution and a committee of safety. The Federal government, through a letter from Hamilton to the governor of Georgia, then made representations. A blockade along the Oconee was established by Georgia troops, and Clarke, deserted by most of his followers, surrendered.

At a time subsequent to 1794 he was accused (probably without foundation) of scheming, with British encouragement, against Florida. He was also charged with complicity in the Yazoo land frauds. His general reputation in the state did not suffer, however, in consequence of these events. On his death, Wilkes County, the Commander of Militia issued a general order for mourning. A county in the state bears his name, and a monument at Athens stands in his honor.


He was married to Hannah Arrington and was the father of John Clark.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Elijah Clarke died on 15 December 1799 in Wilkes County, GA. He is buried at Elijah Clark State Park in Lincolnton, GA.

Honoree ID: 2347   Created by: MHOH




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