Walter Clark (judge)

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Walter Clark

Walter McKenzie Clark (August 19, 1846 – May 20, 1924) was a North Carolina politician and attorney who served as an associate justice (1889–1903) and chief justice (1903–1924) of the North Carolina Supreme Court.


Clark was born in Halifax County, North Carolina to General David Clark and Anna M. Thorne.[1] He served as an officer in the Confederate States Army, in the 22nd and 35th North Carolina Infantry regiments during the American Civil War before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating first in his class in 1864, he returned to the war as commanding officer of the 6th Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves. The battalion was quickly integrated into the 1st Junior Reserves Regiment, also known as 70th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, of which he became the lieutenant colonel. In the 1870s, Clark moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, practiced law, and wrote books on law and history. Clark was married on 27 January 1875 to Susan Washington Graham, daughter of William Alexander Graham.

In April 1885, Governor Alfred M. Scales appointed Clark a judge of the superior court, and in 1889, Gov. Daniel G. Fowle elevated him to the state Supreme Court. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1890, and in 1894, was re-elected with the support of not only his own Democratic Party, but also that of the Republicans and Populists.

Clark was elected chief justice in 1902 and re-elected several times. In 1912, he unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate as a liberal reformer against fellow Democrat Furnifold Simmons. Clark died in office in 1924.

Legal offices
Preceded by
David M. Furches
Chief Justice of North Carolina Supreme Court
1903 - 1924
Succeeded by
William A. Hoke


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