Clark, Myron Holley, 1806-1892

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Clark was an American politician, sheriff of Canandaigua, N.Y., and subsequently governor of New York State.

From the description of Myron Holley Clark letter : to Henry P. Sartwell, 1846 Sept. 23. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63937084

Source: Dictionary of American Biography / Allen Johnson ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1943.

Myron Holley Clark was born on a farm in the town of Naples, Ontario County, a son of Maj. Joseph and Mary (Sutton) Clark. His family was of New England origin, his grandfather, Col. William Clark, having migrated from Berkshire County, Mass., to western New York after the Revolution. As a boy he served an apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker. Early in life he was married to Zilpha Watkins. A successful campaign for sherrif, in 1837, helped to make him known to the voters of the county. After completing his term of office, he entered the hardware business in Canandaigua, the county seat, but retained his interest in public affairs and in taking an advanced position in the temperance and other reform movements of the day gradually extended his reputation beyond local bonds. He was one of a small group of Whig politicians prepared to unite the several diverse groups of radical voters to at least a temporary victory. His opportunity came when his Senate district sent him to Albany to uphold the cause of prohibition in the legislature.

Out of this situation came a prohibition bill which passed both Senate and Assembly (1854) and for which Clark received the chief credit. Gov. Seymour promptly vetoed the measure, chiefly on the ground that it deprived persons of property unconstitutionally. Early in the summer Clark was proposed for the governorship by some of the temperance groups. An anti-Nebraska mass-meeting at Saratoga in August adopted a platform written by Horace Greeley. Clark expressed his adhesion to that platform and in the following month was nominated not only by the regular Whig convention at Syracuse but by the Free Democracy, the Anti-Nebraska party, and the Temperance party, each holding its own delegate convention at Auburn. Clark accepted all four nominations and always held that the Republican party of New York was thereby originated.

The ensuing campaign for the governorship was one of the most complicated in the history of New York politics. The Clark coalition won the election by a plurality of 309 votes. Clark thus came to the governor's chair as an avowed radical in the politics of that day, bent on the placing of a prohibitory liquor law on the statue-books. A prohibition bill was passed, signed by Clark, and partially enforced for about eight months, until it was declared unconstitutional by the court of appeals. Clark was not renominated at the end of his term because the leaders of his party were convinced that he could not be elected. Sentiment on the liquor question had undergone a change. Clark was appointed collector of internal revenue under the Lincoln administration. After serving in that office for some years he lived in retirement at Canandaigua. Once he emerged as a third-party Prohibitionish candidate for the governorship, but that was his last public appearance.

From the description of Papers, 1834-1856. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122629109

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Myron Holley Clark letters, 1855-1881 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Francis, John W. (John Wakefield), 1789-1861. John Wakefield Francis collection, 1816-1858. New-York Historical Society Library
creatorOf Clark, Myron Holley, 1806-1892. Autograph letter signed Myron H. Clark to: Rev. Walter S. Alexander October 4, 1869. Wellesley College
referencedIn Morgan, Edwin D. (Edwin Denison), 1811-1883. Papers, 1830-1872. American Periodical Series I
creatorOf Lewis Cass papers (1774-1924) William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library
referencedIn Lewis Cass papers (1774-1924) William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Clark, Myron Holley, 1806-1892. Myron Holley Clark letter : to Henry P. Sartwell, 1846 Sept. 23. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Clark, Myron H., 1806-1892. Papers, 1834-1856. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Autograph File, C, 1554-2002. Houghton Library
creatorOf Clark, Myron Holley, 1806-1892. Letter to John Marsh, 1855 April 25. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn John Henry Hobart Ward papers, 1854-1891 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander, Walter S. person
associatedWith Chamber, Joseph J. person
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Emmet, Thomas Addis person
associatedWith Field, David Dudley, 1805-1894. person
associatedWith Francis, John W. (John Wakefield), 1789-1861. person
associatedWith Gregory, E.S. person
associatedWith Hall, A. Oakey (Abraham Oakey), 1826-1898. person
associatedWith Marsh, John. person
associatedWith Morgan, Edwin D. (Edwin Denison), 1811-1883. person
associatedWith New York (State). Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith Noyes, William Curtis, 1805-1864. person
associatedWith Peabody, Charles A. person
associatedWith Sartwell, Henry P. person
associatedWith Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872. person
associatedWith Ward, John Henry Hobart, 1823-1903 person
associatedWith William L. Clements Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Thomas. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Canandaigua (N.Y.)
New York (State)
New York (State)--Seneca
New York (State)
Ontario County (N.Y.)
Liquor laws
Land titles--Registration and transfer


Birth 1806-10-23

Death 1892-08-23



Ark ID: w6474xm7

SNAC ID: 6210882