February 1 : Gov. John Clark [1761-1821]

This Day in Presbyterian History:  

He Shouldn’t Have Been Elected

Given his political choice of party—he was a Federalist in the early nineteenth century in Delaware—he should have been a Methodist or an Episcopalian.  Those denominations usually won the governor’s office.  But John Clark was a Federalist Presbyterian, an oddity to be sure.  Clearly, Someone higher than those in earthly roles was directing this race and subsequent election to the governor’s chair.

John Clark was born on February 1, 1761 on the family farm in New Bristol, north of Smyrna, Delaware.  He had limited schooling in his younger days, but made up for it with an insatiable desire for the knowledge found in books.  He was “well read,” as the papers put it at that time.  In 1784, he married Sarah Corbit, herself the daughter of a governor of Delaware.  They had at least one daughter, and possibly others which history does not name for us.

John Clark obviously had the gifts of leadership.  He was the Colonel of the Third Regiment of Militia for a year in 1807 – 1808.  He served as a sheriff, state treasurer, a member of the State House, and then as governor.  His accomplishments included improvements in educational opportunities.  His argument was that Delaware was a small state and not suitable for increased opportunities in business.  Better plans must to be made to develop the capabilities of its citizens.

After serving for his term as governor, he became involved in banking in Smyrna, Delaware.  He died on August 14, 1821 and is buried in the cemetery of Duck Creek Presbyterian Church in Smyrna.

This contributor looked in vain for any quotable quotes on the significance of personal Christianity in the state or country, and his beliefs on those topics.  The only hope we have for a credible profession of faith is that his membership was in the Presbyterian church and his burial was in a Presbyterian cemetery.  Usually in those days, such inclusion would not have taken place unless there was a credible testimony in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  Both words and spiritual fruit must be found in a Christian’s to declare that redemption has taken place in a believer’s life.  They may have been found at the time with respect to John Clark, but were simply not recorded in the usual sources we have available today.  Let it not be said of you that no expressions of Christianity are found lacking in your mouth.  Let there be no doubt that you are a professing and confessing Christian to all who observe what you say and do.

Through the Scriptures: Exodus 14 – 17

Through the Standards:   The Creation of angels

WLC 16  How did God create angels?
“God created all the angels, spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise his name, yet subject to change.”

For more on the location of the Duck Creek Presbyterian churchyard, click here.

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