George Sheffer Clark

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Question: Where did George Sheffer Clark eventually settle after having served in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?

Answer: “I, George Sheffer Clark, was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, on Nov. 7, 1816, to Richard Clark and Ann Elizabeth Sheffer.

“I heard the Gospel in Indiana in 1841 and was baptized by Bishop Hale, and confirmed by Orson Pratt and others. Ordained an Elder under the hands of President Baker, by direction of Franklin D. Richards.

“Prior to leaving Nauvoo, in the year 1844, after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I was ordained a Seventy in the 13th Quorum, by George A. Smith. I acted as a police officer in Nauvoo. Started for the Rocky Mountains with the Pioneers in 1846. Before leaving Sugar Creek I was chosen by President Brigham Young, to act with Brother John S. Gleason as commissary for the Camp of Israel. I drove one of President Young’s teams from Richardson’s Point to the Missouri River.

“When we arrived at Mount Pisgah, Elder Sherwood and I were sent on a mission to the Pottawatomi Indians to get permission to build a settlement there.

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“When we arrived at the Missouri River with the Pioneers, a call was made on the Church, by the U.S. Government, for 500 soldiers to go to the Mexican War. I volunteered and went as far as the line of Old Mexico. Was sent back from there with a detachment of the sick, to Pueblo, to winter. In the spring of 1847 we started for the Salt Lake Valley by way of Laramie. On arriving at Green River we overtook President with the Pioneers, and we arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 29th of that year. I returned with President Young to Winter Quarters in August, driving his teams all the way.

“I married Susan Dalley, on March 20th, 1850, and in June of that year started again for Salt Lake Valley, arriving there (in Salt Lake City) on September 3rd, 1850. Conference was held there on September 8th, so that the Elders could return to the States. After Conference, we started for Utah County, arriving at the site of Pleasant Grove on September 13, 1850. We build a small log fort, in which we lived during that winter.

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“In February 1851, President Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball came out to organize the company which Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich were taking to settle at San Bernardino. On their way, President Young and Heber C. Kimball stayed at Pleasant Grove and appointed me the Bishop of the North end of Utah County.

“In the fall of 1851 I was ordained a High Priest and to the Bishopric under the hands of George A. Smith and others. I acted as Bishop until the fall of 1853, when I was called to take a company to strengthen the settlements in Iron County. Not having sold my property in Pleasant Grove, I returned to it in about a year and a half later.

“At the April Conference in the spring of 1856, I was called, with others, to take a mission to Australia. I was gone nearly three years. In the fall of 1860 I was called to take a short mission to the Eastern States.”

Upon his return from Australia George again became active in civic work, in playing a leadership role in the development of Pleasant Grove and the surrounding farming area. He was also the first peace officer in Pleasant Grove. In the Black Hawk War, George furnished teams of horses and money in lieu of his own personal services.

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In 1880, George Sheffer Clark and his five sons, Joseph, George, John, William and Hyrum, established a mercantile business and an opera house in Pleasant Grove. The store and opera house soon became thriving enterprises. The first Clark store was a frame structure built in 1880 with the opera house, or Clark’s Hall as it was also known, located on the second floor. By 1885, the Clarks had built a larger soft-rock block form opera house on the north side of the store as a separate building.

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George Sheffer Clark’s wife Susannah, died 9 April 1891. George survived her a little more than ten years, passing away on 28 August 1901 in Pleasant Grove at age 84. They were buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

Source: “Autobiography of George Sheffer Clark,” “Clark Opera House,” FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com, story and burial.