James M. Clarke

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James M. Clarke
James M Clarke.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Bill Hendon
Succeeded by Charles Taylor
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by Bill Hendon
Succeeded by Bill Hendon
Personal details
Born (1917-06-12)June 12, 1917
Manchester, Vermont
Died April 13, 1999(1999-04-13) (aged 81)
Fairview, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elspie Clarke
Awards Good Conduct Medal (United States)
Asia Pacific Medal
World War Two Victory Medal

James "Jamie" McClure Clarke (June 12, 1917 – April 13, 1999) was a North Carolina politician and farmer. He is a former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives.

Born in Manchester, Vermont, Clarke grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. James McClure Clarke was the third child of four children. Clarkes father was a Presbyterian Pastor (and his Uncle was one too), and the Decent of Governor of Rhode Island Jeremiah Clarke. He was also the Grand son of Dumont Clarke, a Presbyterian Minster, and President of the American Exchange bank. When he was a young boy both he and his brother Dumont (Monty) Shot their BB guns at the tin roof of their neighbors. When he was 13 his faimly moved to Asheville. Clarke Went to Asheville School he was in the class of 1935.

Clarke graduated from Princeton University in 1939 and served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. In April 1942 his friends encouraged him to join the Navy as an Officer. Both Him and his Cousin, James Gore King, McCulre III, wanted to be Naval Fighter Pilots. Jamie had hay fever which prevented him from flying, his cousin couldn't even join the U.S. Navy because of bad eye sight. In the fall on 1942 he attended Hunter Collage in New York to attend a aerial photo class. (He attend this class to be Naval officer who would take picture from an aircraft while his plane flew over an island.) In the February of 1943 he shipped out to Hawaii. He stayed in Hawaii for several months. From Hawaii he shipped out to Guadalcanal, in the Summer on 1943, he writes in one of his letters he says he has never been so sea sick. Their he was put in charge of the Officer Liquor, and sold enlisted U.S. Marines Aqua Velva to get drunk after what they had seen in the jungle fighting the Japanese.He would also have an Army Truck full of fresh vegetables to "Crash" in front of the U.S. Marine/Navy Base. He would pay the Army Truck driver in whiskey. Also in Guadalcanal was shot at by left behind japs, which caused him to carry and M1911 most of the time on the island. Before going to the Marshall Islands Clarke was sent to Australia go get beer for the men fighting in the Marshall Islands. By the Time they got to the Marshall Islands the beer was half gone! After that he was shipped home to Fairview, North Carolina. His Medals include: The Navy/Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, The Asia pacific Medal, and The World War Two Victory Medal. After his service, Clarke worked as a dairy farmer and orchardist in western North Carolina. He became president of the Farmers Federation Cooperative in 1956.


In 1976, Clarke was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1980 he was elected to the North Carolina Senate. In the 1982 election Clarke was elected to the 98th United States Congress representing North Carolina's 11th congressional district. He was reelected to the 100th and 101st Congresses. In Congress, he was known as an advocate for the environment.

In the 1980s Clarke's congressional campaigns became nationally famous due to his long-running rivalry with Republican Bill Hendon. In 1982 Clarke defeated then-Congressman Hendon by less than 1,500 votes. In 1984 Hendon gained revenge by defeating Clarke's bid for a second term by just two percentage points. In 1986, Clarke defeated Hendon's bid for re-election by only one percentage point. Although Hendon then retired from politics, Clarke's seat remained competitive. In 1988 Republican Charles H. Taylor came within one percentage point of defeating Clarke; in 1990 Taylor did unseat Clarke in another close election. Given his age (he was 73 at the time of his loss to Taylor), Clarke decided to retire from politics.

Military Awards and Decorations[edit]

Naval Observer Wings

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References[edit]