Alexander Clark(e), was born in Brownstown, Michigan, on 10 May 1800. Alexander’s father was Thomas Alexander Clark(e) who died c 1840 and his mother was Catherine Brown who died c 1802.
After Catherine’s death, Thomas married Catherine’s sister, Mary Brown (d 1863). Alexander’s family remained in Brownstown until he was four years old, when the Huron Indian chiefs in council granted his father a tract of land on the Canadian side, now known as the Clarke Grant and he and his parents moved there in 1804.
The War of 1812 brought changes to the land and with it many struggles. One of the first battles of the war was the Siege of Fort Detroit. At the time, the commander of the British forces was General Isaac Brock. Allied with the forces were the First Nation tribes. Shawnee war chief Tecumseh brought together several tribes and Wynadot war chiefs Splitlog and Roundhead were prominent. In 1813-14, though but a lad, he was engaged in the struggles of those years, as an interpreter for the War-Chief Splitlog.
After the close of the war, he lived on his land and worked it. In 1836, Alexander Clarke was listed on a treaty as one of the Warriors of the Hurons. That same year, the Clarke names appear on the Plan of Huron Reserve map. The names included were Alexander, George, James, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, Thomas Alexander, Jr., and William.
This reserve was at Anderdon, across the Detroit River on the Canadian side; therefore, Alexander’s family did not have to move to Indian Territory in 1843. In 1853, 1854 and 1863, Alexander, Sr., was listed as one of the Chiefs and Principal men of the Wyandots.
In 1855, after the death of his brother William (a chief) on June 3, Alexander was appointed interpreter for the Wyandot band, and filled that office until the time of his death. In January 1875, he received the bounty for the War of 1812-15 among the Indians at Brantford, where he made a journey for that purpose. As a chief, he received a double bounty from the Canadian government. The Library and Archives of Canada Indian Affairs file, RG 10, Vol. 1957, File 4669 is a series of documents relating to Alex Clark’s application for gratuity for his service in the War of 1812. Written in his own hand, this is the first proof that Clark participated in the war and that he served as an interpreter for the Wnyadot Tribe War Chief Splitlog.
Clark’s letter is transcribed:
“Anderdon March 31 1875
To The Minister of the Interior
I Alex Clarke senior, Wynadot Indian Chief of Anderdon Essex County Ont do hereby make application for any gratuity or other help the Dominion Government proposes to give Indian survivors of the War of 1812.
I served in the War of 1812 under the Wynadot war chief Splitlog some two years,
I was in the battle of Lundyslane [sic] and through the skirmishes at Fort Niagara while the British Army were laying there under command of General Drummond. I also acted as Interpreter between the Indians and officers in that war. My war Chief Splitlog occasionally went to see General Drummond and I accompanied him as interpreter.
I was taken prisoner at River Thames and kept all winter at time of General Proctor’s retreat to Burlington and escaped in the spring and joined the British again at Burlinton [sic].
These are a few of the incidents that took place and I mention them to show that I was engaged in said war of 1812. I could in conversation mention more if necessary. Ther [sic] are also survivers [sic] of that war that I know who can attest to my being engaged therein.
please direct to me at Amhestburgh”
Also in the file is a response from the Department of the Interior minister to Clark indicating receipt of his letter and he would receive full consideration when this claim is processed.
Also found in the archives a hand written document from a ledger in RG 9 II 4 files. The document contained several names in numerical order which also containing Clark’s name. The document is copied and the back slashes indicate the columns on the page.
“3045 / 17 / Alexander Clarke, Anderson (sic), Coy of Essex, Ont / Age ” Wyandot Tribe (Batt), Splitlog Chief. Capt Caldwell, Enrolled at Brantford ” 1814, Dischg after close of war, Battle Lundys Lane, Fort Niagara”
There is a wealth of information on this page but with one or two minor errors. Clark is spelt as, this is correct with an or without.
Clark’s home town of Anderdon is misspelled as ‘Anderson’. The case, No. 3045 refers to the order in which Clark was received. The number 17 appears beside each name. This refers to $17.00 intended to be paid to each recipient listed on this page.
The handwritten document states Clark was associated with the Wyandot Tribe, Chief Splitlog and Captain Caldwell. He enrolled at Brantford Ontario 1814 and was discharged after the end of the war. Clark was at Lundy’s Lane and Fort Niagara but unfortunately his rank was not recorded on the document.
Also found in the archives is a reference to a rare book about the War of 1812 titled Canadian Veterans of the War of 1812 by Eric Jonasson, Wheatfield Press, Winnipeg 1981. The following header appears on page twenty-seven of this book:
“Statement showing Name, Age, Residence, Rank and Corps of Militiamen of 1812-15,”
Below this is a table that lists veteran names. This document is more self-explanatory than the previous hand written document. Clark’s name was second from the top on this page. The back slash indicates the columns:
“No. 591 / No. of Case 3045 /Name of Militiaman, Clark, Alex / Age in 1875 . / Residence, Anderdon / County, Essex / Province, O (Ontario) / Application made through ” / Rank of Applicant in 1812-15, Scout / Corps of Division in which he served, Montreal / Cases Paid, $20.00 / Cases not paid ” / Remarks”
This information confirms that Clark was a veteran of the 1812 War from Anderdon, Essex County, Ontario. More important, his rank is listed as scout, adding more credibility to his participation. The Dominion Government had increased the gratuity for all applicants and therefore Clark was paid $20.00 for his services during the war. It is likely this was how Alexander Clark from Essex County was dealt with for the payment. He may not have received this payment as Clark passed away, likely of old age, on 3 April 1976.
Veteran SummaryAlexander Clark
Scout, Caldwell's Rangers
Place of Birth
Brownstown, MI, USA
Place of Death
Anderdon, ON, CAN
Died on: 03 APR 1876
Reason: Likely Old Age
Location of Grave
Wynadotte Indian Cemetery, 968 Front Road North
Amherstberg, ON, CAN
Latitude: 42.144676N Longitude: -83.113805