Clark project

The Richard P. Clark family in the registers of
St. Ignatius R.C. Church, Hickory, Harford Co., MD

 by Conrad W. Terrill, 19 May 2012

In1985 Baltimore County historian John W. McGrain included a well-documented short history of Texas in a Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Sites Inventory Form.  At the bottom of continuation sheet 2 for item 8 (Significance) we are informed that, “Prior to about 1850, visiting priests from Baltimore City and Hickory in Harford County had stopped in town to perform marriages, baptize children, and conduct funerals.  ... In the absence of a church, services were held in the home of John Clark, in a one-story log house on Church Lane.”  The registers of some Maryland parishes are available online at the Maryland State Archives web site.  St. Ignatius (Roman Catholic) in Hickory, Harford County, Maryland, is one such parish. 1,2

St. Ignatius Church in Hickory was founded as a Jesuit mission after 1779.  It became an independent parish in 1815 and served as the parent of numerous missions in the area.   The earliest records may no longer be extant, but the baptism register from 1817 to 1846 and the marriage register from 1817 to 1854 were transcribed at some unknown time by some unknown person. 2

Neither Richard Clark, nor his sister Elizabeth (who married Thomas Galloway in 1822), nor his brother John (who married Eve Erhart around 1824, perhaps) are to be found in the marriage register.  (The marriage record for their brother Augustus, to Susan Whiteford in 1818, can be found in the registers of St. Patrick’s in Baltimore.)  And although we believe that John, Augustus, Richard and Elizabeth were siblings, we really have nothing but circumstantial evidence to support the claim.  No children of Elizabeth or John are to be found in the St. Ignatius baptism register, but three children of Richard can be found there, each baptized on 12 May 1840 by the Rev. James Reid with a person named Frances Hunter serving as sponsor: 3,4,5

No. 38: Mary Clarke (father: Richard Clarke)
No. 39: Henry Clarke (father Richard Clarke)
No. 40: Elizabeth Clarke (father: Richard Clarke)

Click here to see an image of the register page

No dates or places of birth are given, and no mother’s names.  The reasons we believe that this is our Richard Clark are: 1) No other suitable Richard Clarks/Clarkes can be found in the area per the 1840 U.S. Census; 2) Our Richard and Mary (Slater) Clark, married on or soon after 20 Apr. 1837, had a son named Henry born 14 Feb. 1838, and a daughter named Elizabeth born 14 Apr. 1840; and 3) There was (at least) one other child baptized by Rev. Reid on 12 May 1840: 6 7,8

No. 37: John H. Butler (son of Louis and Frances Butler, sponsor: E. Galaway)

“E. Galaway” would have been Elizabeth (Clark) Galloway, and the Louis Butler household can be found in the 1840 U.S. Census in District 2 of Baltimore County on the same page as those of John Clark and Augustus Clark, and two pages away from Richard Clark and three pages away from Thomas Galloway, with thirty households to a page. George J. Clark has pointed out to us that Lewis Butler married Frances Hunter on 9 Apr. 1822 in Baltimore County, a fact which tends to tie the records together more closely yet. So Rev. Reid was very likely holding service that day in Texas, possibly at John Clark’s house, and these four children were all baptized there.  We did not know of a child of Richard and Mary named “Mary,” but for the Richard Clark household in the 1840 U.S. Census, with a presumable enumeration date of 1 Jun. 1840, in addition to one female under age five there was also a female over five and under nine.  This may have been a daughter from a first marriage, possibly named “Mary,” who was old enough to be married and living elsewhere by 1850.  Or perhaps the Mary who was baptized was Richard’s wife, baptized as an adult, and “[father] Richard Clarke” was an error. 9

These records show that the Richard Clark family was Catholic, at one time at least.  We already knew that John Clark was Catholic, both because the church was at his house and because a son of his was buried at the Old Cemetery of St. John the Evangelist (St. Johns on the Ridge) in Baltimore County in 1827.  Elizabeth (Clark) Galloway had two children buried at that cemetery, in 1829 and 1831.  And Augustus Clark was married at St. Patrick’s.  So now we know that all four were Catholic, further supporting the theory that they were siblings.


1. Maryland Historical Trust, Determination of Eligibility Form, Texas Village (Texas Station Historic District), Baltimore Co., MD, Inventory No. BA-2943, completed by John W. McGrain, 20 May 1985.  (Online link, PDF, 435 KB)

2. Maryland State Archives Special Collection MSA SC 2686, parish registers of St Ignatius Church, Hickory, MD.  (Username and password required to view online.)

3.  Baltimore Co. marriage license, Thomas Galloway and Elizabeth Clark, 2 Oct. 1822, Maryland State Archives MSA CM174-4 (1815-1823), PDF p. 108 of 276, record no. 580.

4.  We think John Clark and Eve ___ were married around 1824, perhaps, since a child (presumably their first) was born 14 Aug. 1825, per Find A Grave Memorial# 42576766.

5.  St. Patrick’s R.C. Church parish registers, Baptisms, Deaths, Marriages 1806-1854, p. 318; Maryland State Archives MSA SC 2527, microfilm M1568, image 631 of 653 (Augustus Clark and Susan Whiteford’s marriage).

6.  Baltimore Co. marriage license, Richard Clark and Mary Slater, 20 Apr. 1837, Maryland State Archives microfilm roll WK 1397-1398-1 (1832-1839).

7. Tombstone, Henry Clark, husband of Annie E., Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, MD, Find A Grave memorial# 81130616.

8.  Elizabeth Clark's birth date is from her tombstone at St. Joseph's Church Cemetery, Texas, Balto. Co., MD, per George J. Clark, 2012.

9.  "Maryland Marriages, 1655-1850," an online database.  The Lewis Butler - Frances Hunter marriage record is from Baltimore County marriage licesnses.