Who is John Clark who married Ann Paulett?

As discussed on my main Clark page, I am trying to establish the identity of the John Clark who was father of my ancestor Paulett Clark. I think there is very little doubt that he was related to Francis Clark and Cordelia Lankford, although it would be good to have additional DNA evidence to substantiate this point. But was he the son of Francis and Cordelia, or a grandson?

Here are the puzzle pieces:

A John Clark and wife Ann were married by late 1745.

John and Anne Clark of Fork Creek meeting, Louisa County, are listed in Hinshaw vol. 6 p. 234 (Cedar Creek MM) as parents of Thomas b. 1746,7,30; Francis b. 1748,8,5. and John b. 1750,11,3. (These are Quaker dates; 7th month 1746 would be September, not July.)

Most genealogies of the Francis Clark family assume both that this record refers to John son of Francis and Cordelia, and to John Clark and Ann Paulett. Is only one of these assumptions true? or neither?

John of this record was probably born no later than 1725, Ann no later than 1729. This John was most likely son of Francis and Cordelia, although we can't exclude the possibility that he was one of the oldest grandsons.


John Clark son of Francis and Cordelia had a son named Francis, who is named in his grandfather's will.

Why was this grandson singled out? The most likely explanations are that he was the oldest grandson, the oldest namesake, or simply a favorite. The fact that the only granddaughter named in the will was Cordelia Haley suggests that namesake explanation may be the correct one.

Isham Haley is also named in the will but his relationship is not specified. He could be the oldest son of Elizabeth Clark Haley, in which case he may very well have been the oldest of all the grandchildren. Alternatively, he could be the husband of a deceased Clark daughter. It is noteworthy that Francis Clark left him 100 acres in Louisa County, although he apparently had moved to North Carolina in the 1750s. Is there more than one Isham Haley?

Francis born 1748, son of John and Ann, is clearly not the oldest grandson, since he has an older brother (and other evidence indicates that Thomas son of John was still living in 1769). It seems highly unlikely that there would not have been many more grandchildren by 1746 in any case, since Francis and Cordelia married in 1704 and their older children would presumably have begun producing the next generation by the 1730s. Was this Francis nevertheless the oldest namesake?


Francis and Cordelia Clark had a son named Thomas.

In 1744, Thomas Clark was granted 441 acres of land "on branches of Fork Creek. This land bounded partially by land belonging to his father, Francis Clark, and by "the county line". In 1756 he received 420 acres from his father, "for paternal affection".

From Patti Smith Lamb: "At one time Thomas owned 540 acres of land which he sold to John Dykes. (John Dykes married Judith Lewis and several of their children married children of John Haley Jr. and moved to KY). The name of Thomas Clark appears in the Louisa County Court Order Books in 1760, 1761 and 1764, and in the Trinity parish Tithables listed in 1767, 1768, 1770 and 1771, listed as possessing from 461 to 900 acres of land and owning three slaves."

There are several deed records in the period between 1760-1773 that refer to Thomas Clark and wife Elizabeth. The continuity of deed and tax records suggest that this is the same Thomas Clark identified by the earlier records as son of Francis.


Thomas Clark had a son named John.

Thomas Clark Sr. and John, son of same Thomas Sr., and Thomas Clark Jr., son of John, of Camp Creek, were under care of Cedar Creek MM in 1769.

On 5/12/1770, John Clark, son of Thomas of Louisa Co., was disowned from Cedar Creek, as was Thomas Jr., son of John, Louisa Co. On 10/13/1770, Thomas Sr. was disowned. Note that Thomas Jr. here is NOT son of Thomas Sr. In this time frame, "Jr." meant the younger of two men with the same name and did not necessarily imply a father-son relationship.

Does this refer to three generations of the same family, i.e. Thomas a grandfather, his son John, and that John's son Thomas? Or to brothers John and Thomas, who had sons respectively named Thomas and John? Whichever the case, there is clearly a John Clark in Louisa County whose father was Thomas Clark, and there is a different John Clark who was son of Francis Clark (father of the grandson Francis).


There were at least two men named Francis Clark in Louisa County in 1770.

Sept. 16, 1769 Thomas Clark and Elizabeth his wife of Louisa Co to Drury Murrell of Goochland Co.; 236 acres on both sides of Fork Creek. Wit: Frans. Clark, Thos. Clark Junr. 12 Mar 1770 ack. By Thos. Clark and Eliza. His wife.

Nov. 17, 1770 Thos. Clark of Louisa Co., Fredericksville Parish to Francis Clark Senr. 100 acres on the South side of Pamunkey River on the North Fork of Fork Creek [along Isaac Clark's line] John Henry's line. . Charles Goodall's line Dec'd.. Wit: Mourning Webb, George Collis, Ann Webb, Thos. Clark, & Francis Clark Junr. And John Clark Jr.

Here we have Thomas, presumably the son of Francis and Cordelia, selling land in 1769 in a deed witnessed by Francis Clark and "Thomas Clark Jr.", and in 1770 selling a tract to "Francis Sr.", with witnesses Thomas Clark, Francis Clark Jr. and John Clark Jr.

The patriarch Francis Clark died sometime between 15 January 1769, when he signed his will, and 8 Jan 1770, when the will was received for probate. Although he could be the Francis who witnessed the September 1769 deed, he cannot be "Francis Sr." of the deed in November 1770. By this time Francis son of Francis and Cordelia was living in NC with his wife Christian. Francis and Christian had a son named Francis (born 1753), and so did Christopher Clark and his wife Elizabeth Stone, who married in 1752. Hence neither of these boys was an adult in 1770, nor do I know of any evidence that members of either of these families returned to Virginia to live.

Therefore there would appear to be another Francis Clark in Louisa Co. besides Francis the patriarch and the one born in 1748, son of John and Ann.

Francis, son of John, of Fork Creek Meeting, was disowned from Cedar Creek meeting for marriage out of unity in 1769.

Francis Clark's will reads "To grandson Francis Clark, son to John Clark 200 acres on head of Cross Creek."

Nov. 10, 1774 Francis Clark and wife Ann of Trinity parish., Louisa Co., to John Dyckes of same; 200 acres on Cross Creek & branches of Fork Cr., bounded by lines of Isaac Clark, John Digges, Richard Phillips Jr., John Hailey & John Thacker. Witnesses: William Clark, Jno. Hailey Junr., Thos. Clarke Junr., Isaac Clark Jr.

This would appear to be the same 200 acre tract willed by Francis Clark in 1769 to his grandson Francis, son of John Clark.

May 11, 1778 Francis Clark & Catherine his wife of Louisa Co & Athanasius Barnet of Goochland Co;200 acres on Fork Creek bounded by Benjamin Chiles, Thomas Clark, Charles Goodall, John Dikes & Cornelius Harris. Wit: None 11 May 1778 ack. By Francis and Catherine his wife.

Is this the same Francis who appears with wife Ann in the 1774 deed? Or is this the other one of the 1770 deed?


There were also at least two men named Thomas Clark in Louisa County in 1770.

We know a John and Ann Clark had a son named Thomas born in 1746. Was he "Thomas Jr." of the 1769 deed as well as Thomas Jr. son of John in the Quaker record? I think so. Previously I assumed that Thomas Jr. in this deed was son of Thomas and Elizabeth, but I now think he is more likely John and Ann's son instead. This doesn't preclude Thomas and Elizabeth Clark having had a son named Thomas as well, but we have no record naming a Thomas son of Thomas.


Paulette Clark's memoir names brothers Thomas, Francis and John

Paulette Clark wrote a memoir near the end of his life in which he listed his siblings as Thomas, John, Francis, Elijah, Isjack, Edward, Sally, and Nancy. I would suppose that Isjack is really Isaac.

Unfortunately I don't have birthdates for any of these people, only that John was married by no later than the late 1780s; that Edward was married by 1795, perhaps earlier; and that Nancy was under age at the time of her marriage in 1791.

I have no information that either confirms or negates the hypothesis that Paulette's brothers Thomas, John and Francis were the ones born 1746-1750, sons of John and Ann of the Quaker record.


Ann Paulett's birthdate can be estimated as 1725-1730.

Ann Paulett was the daughter of Thomas Paulett and his first wife, Semiramis Johnson. Semiramis was the daughter of a Thomas Johnson, most likely the Thomas Johnson born in 1680, son of Edward Johnson and Elizabeth Walker (and therefore probably the brother of Penelope Johnson, wife of Capt. Christopher Clark, but that's another story). In 1734, Thomas Johnson gave his daughter Semiramis Paulett a tract of land on Stone Horse Creek in Hanover County VA, so Semiramis and Thomas were definitely married by that date.

Most researchers seem to believe that Thomas Paulett was born about 1705-1710. If this is true, then he probably didn't marry before about 1725-1730.

Nancy Clark was probably the youngest child of John Clark and Ann Paulett, who had nine children altogether. She was under age when she married in January 1791 (her guardian signed the marriage bond), so was born no earlier than 1773. Paulette Clark, probably the next oldest child, was born in September 1771. If there were no twins, the births of Ann's children must be spread over at least 15 years, more likely 20 or more. On the other hand, it's highly unlikely Ann was more than 50 in 1773, and 40 to 45 is much more probable.

These considerations then fix Ann Paulett's birth to no earlier than 1725 and her marriage probably between about 1745 and 1755. If she is the Ann of the Quaker record naming sons Thomas, Francis and John, then she must have married no later than 1745. So these dates work, but just barely.

The younger Ann was at the time of her marriage, the less likely, it seems to me, that her husband would be much older. A very young couple, say bride of 16, groom of 18, might wed - and might have had a compelling reason for doing so - and there are plenty of instances of men in the 40s or 50s marrying women in their 20s, especially after the death of a first wife. However, one doesn't often see a man of 40 marrying a girl of 15 or 16. I suspect therefore that Ann's husband was probably born in the early 1720s, if they are John and Ann of the Quaker record, or perhaps in the 1730s if they are a different, younger couple.

We don't have birthdates for Francis and Cordelia's children, but it is generally assumed based on marriage dates and appearance in civil records that Francis, Christopher, Benjamin and Ursula were among the younger ones, and that Thomas, Elizabeth, Joseph and Isaac were older.

Where does John fall in this sequence? If his son Francis was either the oldest grandson or oldest namesake, then he was probably one of the older children. But if he is John who married Ann Paulett, then he could be one of the youngest children.

In support of the latter alternative, we note that Joseph, Thomas and Isaac were executors of Francis Clark's will, and that Francis listed his sons in the order Joseph, Thomas, Isaac, Francis, Christopher, John.

On the other hand, if John who married Ann Paulett was a grandson of Francis and Cordelia rather than son, I think he is most likely the son of Thomas Clark, the one mentioned in the Quaker records of 1769 and 1770. The rest of Francis Clark's sons can be ruled out as his father as follows: Joseph's will names only two sons, Benjamin and Beverly; Isaac's will names only one son, William; Francis and Christopher moved to North Carolina in the early 1750s; Benjamin didn't marry until 1765 (unless there was an earlier marriage that has not been recognized) and died soon afterwards, and there are no records indicating that he had children. The only other possibility is that Francis and Cordelia had a son John who had a son John in addition to the son Francis named in the will.



I think the most likely possibilities for the ancestry of John Clark who married Ann Paulett are as follows:

Francis and Cordelia
John [a younger son, and father of Francis the grandson named in the will]


Francis and Cordelia
John [NOT father of Francis the grandson named in the will]

But are John Clark and Ann Paulett the John and Ann of the Quaker record? I don't know.

back to Clark page

Elizabeth Harris, ncgen@mindspring.com