Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the Delta region where Clarkdale is today was occupied by Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. Their “village” was developed at an intersection of two Indian trails. The Indian Removal Act in 1830, however, set the stage for these native American settlers to be relocated into the Indian Territory in Oklahoma (around 1837).
Exceptionally fertile soil for cotton growing was later found in the Mississippi Delta, and European settlers followed into the Delta. John Clark founded Clarksdale in 1848. He purchased 101 acres of land and started a timber business, a lucrative by-product of clearing the land for future farming. Clark later became a successful farmer and investor.
Where many European settlers used slaves for the rigorous labor needed to work their farms, one of the notable things about John Clark is he steadfastly declined the use of slaves. He married a sister of a nearby major planter, who later became an early Governor of Mississippi. Clark and his wife had a large family, of ten children, eight survived to adulthood. Their family home, The Clark House, is currently a unique, attractive place to stay in Clarksdale.
Sign location: 100 block of Delta Ave. (in front of Carnegie Public Library)
Sign Production: digital art by Richard Bolen
Source image: photographer unknown