A Glimpse of Benjamin Clarke

Ronald P. Clarke of Punta Gorda, Florida, furnished the following newspaper articles which were found by his son, Steve. They give us some information about our ancestor that we didn't have before - he lived in Point of Fork, Fluvanna County, Virginia and still lived there in 1795. The first article was apparently written by Benjamin and gives us a glimpse of the way he talked. Point of Fork was the site of an important supply arsenal during the Revolutionary War and was on Rte. 6, approximately eight tenths of a mile west of Columbia in Fluvanna County.

Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser (Davis),
Richmond, September 2, 1795.


TEN DOLLARS REWARD RAN-AWAY from the Subscriber, in Fluvanna County, near Columbia, on the second day of this month, a negro man, named, ROBIN, he is about 25 years old, very likely, about 5 feet 10 inches high, and as well as I can recollect, has a scar under his left eye, he is very artful, and expect he will endeavour to pass as a free man, as he went over into Cumberland, and stole a certificate, given to a parcel of negroes, liberated by Mr. Mayo, whose names are as follows: Cuffee, Duler, Jeffery, John, Affey, Lucy, and Moses, and imagine he will take one of the above negroes names, instead of his own; he is rather of a yellow complexion, and down look when accused of any thing. Any person that will deliver the said negro to me, or secure him so that I get him, shall receive the above reward.

BENJAMIN CLARKE, AUGUST 23, 1795.


Norfolk Herald (Willett and O,Connor),
Norfolk, July 29, 1802


COMITTED to Norfolk Borough Jail, on the first inst. Negro ROBBIN, taken up as a runaway; he is about 37 or 40 years old, five feet nine or ten inches high, rather of a yellow cast, has a small scar on his chin, pitted with the small pock, which disease he had since he left his master, which was about sever years ago; he says his master's name is Benjamin Clarke, of Point a Fork, and that on account of his master's having a desire to leave that place for the back country he made his elopement. The owner is requested to come forward and prove the said Negro to be his, pay charges and take him away, or he will be dealt with according to law. WM. JONES, Jailor. July 27.

Norfolk Herald (Willett and O'Connor),
Norfolk, February 22, 1803


A LIST OF NEGROES, At present confined in the Borough Jail of Norfolk, as Run-a-ways. COMMITTED to the Jail of the Borough of Norfolk, on the 1st of July, 1802, ROBIN MILLER, a negro man, who is 5 feet 10 inches high, about 28 years old, has a scar under his right eye, and one on his chin, very much pock pitted, and says he is the property of Mr. Benjamin Clarke, formerly of Point Fork, but now of Kentucky,
[snip...]

NOTE - There are no slaves named Robin in the Inventory Appraisal of Benjamin's will so if Robin ever did rejoin his master in "the back country" he didn't stay with him. Below is another interesting item found by Steve Clarke. Daniel Clarke was Benjamin's son who along with his daughter Betsy's husband, Walter Lacy, petitioned Congress for the value of a wagon and team lost "during the late war". This must have been the War of 1812 with Great Britain which lasted until 1815. The United States wasn't involved in another war uintil the Mexican-American War in 1846. Benjamin lived until November, 1816 so either he or one of his sons could have been in it. The wagon and team couldn't get there without a driver.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1826-1827
MONDAY, January 22, 1827.



Mr. Metcalfe preseanted a petition of Daniel Clarke, Walter Lacey, and Robert Pogue, administrators of Benjamin Clarke, praying that payment may be made to them for a wagon and team, the property of the said Benjamin Clarke, which was lost while in the service of the United States, during the late war.
Created: 11/14/2009 Updated: 11/23/2009