Attorney, San Jose


An attorney whose profound knowledge of the law has been the means of both drawing to, and holding for him a large and important clientele, is Charles Clark, one of the most popular members of the California bar at San Jose. He was born at Natchez, Miss., on November 20, 1849, the son of John T. Clark, a distinguished lawyer of St. Joseph, Tensas Parish, La. He died on March 30, 1855, when our subject was only five years old, leaving a widow, who had been Miss Margaret Nutt in her girlhood, and who was born at Laurel Hill, Miss. She came of an old influential family of English descent, who settled in the northern neck of Virginia at the same time the Washingtons and Lees settled there. She was a woman of exceptional education, and was the first instructor of her two boys; and when she died on November 29, 1874, she was mourned and honored by a wide circle of friends.

Charles, the eldest son, was the only one to grow to manhood. Although brought up during the Civil War, he had the advantages of a higher education. He start-
ed with private tutors, read law in Louisiana, and quite qualified himself for examination; but the evil effects of the reconstruction period leaving that section in a chaotic condition, he decided to come to California and on December 21, 1873, he arrived in San Francisco. Then he entered the law for a year; and on January 8, 1875, he applied to the Supreme Court for examination, and was admitted to practice in all the courts of California.

In the beginning, Mr. Clark practiced in San Francisco and Alameda county until 1884, and in that year he opened an office in the old Martin Block, San Jose,
now the theater building, where he has ever since had his well-known headquarters. Coming of a fighting family prominent in the days of the Confederate army, he is known for his determination to contend for a client until the last ditch and to safeguard every interest of those confiding in the depending upon him. In politics he is a Democrat, of the old, standpatter school.

At San Francisco on March 28, 1877, Mr. Clark was married to Miss Emma Fowler, a gifted lady of New Orleans, Louisiana, by whom he has had five children. David L., died in Mexico in 1904 at the age of twenty-six; Charles Edgar is a cotton broker at Austin, Texas, and Benjamin Palmer and Jefferson Davis are implement and tractor men at Dallas, Texas, and the only daughter, Margaret Nutt, remains with her parents, assisting in presiding over the house. Mr. Clark enjoyed his home life, at Carmel-by-the-Sea, for some years, but since 1921 the family have made their home at Palo Alto.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 507