John B. Clark attended the 1855 Lexington Convention as a distinguished delegate from Howard county. Clark was born in Madison county, Kentucky and moved to the Boon's Lick with his family in 1818. He was admitted to the bar in 1824 in Fayette. He served as clerk of the Howard county court from 1824 to 1834, taking leave to command a Missouri volunteer regiment in the Black Hawk War of 1832.
John Bullock Clark (1802-1885)
Militia Leader, United States and Confederate Congressman
[Far West History.com]
Clark remained with the militia and, in 1838, he was commissioned Major General. In October of that year, the governor directed General Clark to restore order in Northwest Missouri where the Mormons following Joseph Smith had settled. Although much of the unrest was directed at the Mormons and not caused by them, Governor Boggs, misinformed and assuming the Mormons be at fault, ordered Clark to treat the Mormons as enemies who "must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace." The Mormons gathered in their town of Far West to make a stand but state militia units surrounded the town and Mormons surrendered. [McCandless, History of Missouri, 110]
In 1840, the Whig Party in Missouri was in disarray, despite its recent success in state elections. The "log cabin and hard cider" candidacy of William Henry Harrison nationally offended many traditional Whigs. Missouri party leaders would not run on the ticket, so the militia hero Clark was nominated for governor. [Mering, Whig Party, 90] M.M. Marmaduke, the Democratic candidate easily defeated him. But the contest produced a famous feud with Clairborne Fox Jackson after an article in the Boon's Lick Democrat claimed that Clark as a Whig had inserted his name on fake Democratic ballots. In a letter to the editor, Jackson charged Clark with fraud. Clark wrote to Jackson seeking redress, believing Jackson had "sullied his integrity, even his manhood." Jackson sent terms for a duel to be held within one mile of Fayette. Whig Leader Abiel Leonard, acting as Clark's second, objected that dueling near the city limits would subject both principals and seconds to Missouri's law against dueling. Jackson submitted all the correspondence between the parties to the Boon's Lick Times. The incident "damaged Clark's reputation far more than Jackson's" and caused Clark to lose face. [Phillips, Missouri's Confederate, 96-99]
Nonetheless, ten years later, in his campaign of 1850 for a Missouri General Assembly seat, Clark joined Jackson on a States' rights ticket, though keeping his official designation as a Whig. Ambitious for election to Senator Thomas Hart Benton's seat in Washington and hoping for Democratic support, Clark "let it be known he was tired of consulting Leonard," the Whig chairman. Henry Geyer, thought to be a more moderate Whig was chosen by the General Assembly for the United States Senate seat by a coalition of anti-Benton Democrats and Whigs who wanted anyone but Clark. In the Senate, however, Geyer surprised the party by voting with Southern Democrats and not with the old-line Whigs. [McCandless, History of Missouri, 252]
Although his Whig affiliation was at an end, Clark's political career was not. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1857 and reelected twice. In 1861 he was formally expelled from the House (the first of five such expulsions in its history) for taking up arms against the United States, as he was then serving as a brigadier general in the pro-Southern Missouri State Guard. He had been given the command of the Third Division by his old enemy Governor Claiborne Jackson. He was in command at Carthage in July and at Wilson's Creek in August, 1861. Clark was injured at Wilson's creek and, while recovering, was elected to the Confederate Provisional Congress. In 1862 he was appointed to the Confederate Senate and served until 1864. He was later elected to the Second Confederate Congress and served there until its dissolution. He resumed his law practice at Fayette after the war. [Shoemaker, Missouri- Heir of Southern Tradition and Individuality, 441]