By Sallie Cotter Andrews
Alexander Clarke, Sr., was born in Brownstown, Michigan, on May 10, 1800. Alexander’s father was Thomas Alexander Clarke (died ca. 1840); and his mother was Catherine Brown (died ca. 1802). After Catherine’s death, Thomas married Catherine’s sister, Mary Brown (died 1863). Alexander remained in Brownstown until he was four years old, when the old Indian chiefs in council granted his father a tract of land on the Canadian side, now known as the “Clarke Grant” and he and his parents moved there in 1804.
In 1813-14, though but a lad, he was engaged in the struggles of those years, as an interpreter for the War-Chief Splitlog. He was at the battle of Lundy’s Lane and at Queenston with General Brock. After the close of the war, he lived on his land and worked it.
In 1836, Alexander Clarke was listed on a treaty as one of the “Warriors of the Hurons.” That same year, the Clarke names appear on the “Plan of Huron Reserve” map. The names included were Alexander, George, James, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, Thomas Alexander, Jr., and William. This reserve was at Anderdon, across the Detroit River on the Canadian side; therefore, Alexander’s family did not have to move to Indian Territory in 1843.
In 1853, 1854 and 1863, Alexander, Sr., was listed as one of the Chiefs and Principal men of the Wyandots. In 1855, after the death of his brother William (a chief) on June 3, Alexander was appointed interpreter for the Wyandot band, and filled that office until the time of his death. In January 1875, he received the bounty for the War of 1812-15 among the Indians at Brantford, where he made a journey for that purpose. As a chief, he received a double bounty from the Canadian government.
Alexander died in April 1876. Four sons and five daughters survived him: George and James Alvin were in the Indian Territory; Alexander, Jr., was living in Anderdon; John was living in Gosfield with his maternal grandmother; two of his daughters were married.
In March 1895, Alexander’s brother, James Clarke, died at the age of 91 years. He had been married to Catherine Quoqua who had died in December 1876. Since that time (for nearly 20 years), James had resided with his step-daughter, Mary McKee, and had visited the Indian Territory with Mary. He was revered and called “Uncle Jim” by B.N.O. Walker and others in the Indian Territory (Wyandotte, Oklahoma).
Alexander’s son, Alexander Clarke, Jr., was an informant for Marius Barbeau and was 70 years old at the time he was interviewed (born ca. 1841). He stated that he was born in Anderdon and had lived most of his life in the area. He knew that he belonged to the Turtle Clan, but did not take interest in questions of traditions. He stated that Alexander Clarke, Sr., was his father and that he was an elected chief and brother to Peter. Alexander, Sr., was a local preacher and translator of Methodist hymns into the Wyandot language. Alexander, Jr., had the nickname of “Preach.”