|Leader of the Anti-Masonic Party|
Details of Clarke’s birth are not known for certain. His name is sometimes spelled “Clark” and he appears to have been born in Richmond, Massachusetts in about 1780. He was baptized in Richmond on March 15, 1786.
Start of career
Clarke moved to Vermont and studied law, although the details of his relocation and studies are unknown.
In 1806 Clarke was admitted to the bar in Danville. In 1808 he married Sophia Blanchard in Danville. Sophia Blanchard’s sister Sarah was the wife of William A. Palmer, who served as Governor and United States Senator. Palmer and Clarke became leaders of Vermont’s Anti-Masons.
Clarke practiced law in Danville. An adherent of the National Republican Party, he served in local offices including Justice of the Peace. In 1820 he served on the Vermont Council of Censors, the body which met every seven years to review statutes passed by the Vermont General Assembly and ensure their constitutionality.
In 1826 he was appointed President of the Caledonia National Bank, succeeding Palmer, who had been the bank’s first President.
In 1830 Clarke was appointed one of Caledonia County’s three Commissioners of Jail Delivery.
(The Commissioners of Jail Delivery were responsible for receiving prisoners who arrived to begin serving their sentences, and for tracking time in jail and releasing prisoners whose sentences were complete. They also monitored parolees to ensure compliance with conditions of release. In addition, Commissioners of Jail Delivery determined whether those arrested for debt were eligible for and complying with the conditions of the “freedom of the prison.” Freedom of the prison entitled debtors to leave the prison grounds to earn money for the payment of their debts and support of their families.)
Clarke was named to the Committee to Erect the State House in 1832. He took part in planning and overseeing construction of the Second State House, which was in use from 1833 until it was destroyed by fire in 1856.
Clarke was one of the founders of the Anti-Masonic movement. William Wirt carried Vermont as the 1832 presidential candidate of the Anti-Masonic Party. Clarke was one of Vermont’s electors, and cast his ballot for Wirt.
Benjamin Swan had served as Vermont’s Treasurer beginning in 1800 and often ran unopposed or with only token opposition. In 1833 Clarke ran as an Anti-Mason and defeated Swan in the election for Treasurer. William A. Palmer had run successfully for Governor as an Anti-Mason in 1831, and Clarke’s victory at the polls was considered additional evidence of the Anti-Masonic Party’s viability in Vermont.
In September, 1837 Clarke was named to the Anti-Masonic Party’s National Committee.
Clarke served as Treasurer until running unsuccessfully for reelection in October, 1837. That year Clarke had the highest number of votes, but at 47.3% fell short of the majority required by the Vermont Constitution. In cases where no candidate receives a majority, the Vermont General Assembly votes. By then the Anti-Masonic Party’s popularity was on the wane and the nation was in the midst of the Panic of 1837, and Clarke did not win the legislative election.
Death and burial
- Margaret Philips, Genealogical Records Abstracted from the New England Puritan, 1840-1841, New England Puritan newspaper, Death notice, Augustine Clarke, June 24, 1841, 1989, page 130.
- New England Historic Genealogical Society, Vital Records of Richmond, Massachusetts: To the Year 1850, 1913, page 17
- Eleanor Jones Hutchinson, Town of Wheelock, Vermont's gift to Dartmouth College, 1961, pages 97, 125
- Town of Wheelock, Vermont, Town Plan, 2001, page 2
- Hamilton Child, Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt. 1764-1887, 1887, page 39
- Nathaniel Bouton, The History of Concord, 1856, page 697
- Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, marriage record for Augustine Clarke and Sophia Blanchard, retrieved January 5, 2014
- Abiel Abbot, Ephraim Abbot, A Genealogical Register of the Descendants of George Abbot, etc., 1847, page 146
- Horace Greeley, Park Benjamin, editors, The New Yorker, Volume 1, September 17, 1836, page 410
- Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, 1828, page 82
- Vermont. Supreme Court, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Vermont, Volume 6, 1835, page 561
- Zadock Thompson, History of Vermont, Natural, Civil, and Statistical, 1842, page 127
- American Tract Society, Proceedings of the first ten years of the American Tract Society, 1824, page 93
- The Abolitionist, American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833, page 177
- American Anti-Slavery Society, Annual report, Volume 1, 1834, page 35
- Owen W. Muelder, Theodore Dwight Weld and the American Anti-Slavery Society, 2011, page 190
- Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt., pages 36, 38
- Hewitt Bros., The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, Volume 30, 1964, page 2082
- Leonard Deming, Catalogue of the Principal Officers of Vermont, 1851, pages 28-30
- Vermont General Assembly, Journal General Assembly of the State of Vermont, 1830, page 133
- Vermont General Assembly, The Laws of Vermont, 1825, pages 239-242
- E. P. Walton, Records of the Governor and Cpuncil of the State of Vermont, Volume V, 1877, pages 434-435
- Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1888, page 77
- E. P. Walton, Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Volume VIII, 1880, page 106
- Niles’ National Register, National Antimasonic Convention, September 30, 1837
- Vermont. General Assembly, Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont, 1837, page 111
- Vermont Secretary of State, Election results: Vermont State Treasurer, 1837, 2006, page 1
- Horace Greeley, Park Benjamin, editors, The New-Yorker, Volume 7, July 20, 1839, page 282
- U.S. Government Printing Office, An Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of the United States, 1839, page 123
- Janice Boyko and Louise Lessard, US Gen Web, Danville Cemetery Listing - Surnames A – C, retrieved January 5, 2014
- Research Publication Company, Vermont Marriages, Volume I, 1903, page 29
- Abby Maria Hemenway, The History of the Town of Montpelier, Including that of the Town of East Montpelier, 1888, page 383
- Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, marriage record for Augustine Clarke and Julia Hubbard, retrieved January 5, 2014
- Abby Maria Hemenway, The Vermont Historical Gazetteer: Washington County, 1882, page 527.
- Northeast Kingdom Genealogy, List of Burials, Elm Street Cemetery, Montpelier, Vermont, 2001
- Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, death record for Augustine Clarke, retrieved January 5, 2014
- The New England Puritan death notice reads: "In Montpelier, VT, 17th inst., Hon. Augustine CLARKE, 62, late Tr. of the State. For many yrs. Judge CLARKE resided in Danville and filled various offices in that town, and in the Co. of Caledonia." His age of 62 would mean he was born in 1778 or 1779.
- In the notice of his death contained in the "Vermont Historical Gazeteer" his age is given as 59. If so, he would have been born in 1781 or 1782.
- The Vermont Death Record for Augustine Clarke gives his age as 60. If so, he would have been born in 1780 or 1781.
|Vermont State Treasurer