Beverly L. Clarke

Beverly Clarke
U.S. Minister to Guatemala
In office
July 13, 1858 – March 17, 1860
PresidentJames Buchanan
Preceded byJohn L. Marling
Succeeded byElisha Oscar Crosby
U.S. Minister to Honduras
In office
August 10, 1858 – March 17, 1860
PresidentJames Buchanan
Preceded bySolon Borland
Succeeded byJames R. Partridge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849
Preceded byJohn H. McHenry
Succeeded byJames Leeper Johnson
Personal details
Beverly Leonidas Clarke

(1809-02-11)February 11, 1809
Winterfield, Virginia, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 1860(1860-03-17) (aged 51)
Political partyDemocratic
Mariah Louisa Clarke
(her death 1847)

Zenobia Turner
(his death 1860)
RelationsJohn S. Mosby (son-in-law)

Beverly Leonidas Clarke (February 11, 1809 – March 17, 1860) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky. He was known for his "sterling integrity, gentlemanly manners, and polished oratory."[1]

Early life[edit]

Clarke was born in Winterfield, Chesterfield County, Virginia on February 11, 1809.[2]

Clarke attended the common school and moved to Kentucky in 1823. He studied law in Franklin, Kentucky, and graduated from the Lexington Law School in 1831.[2]


Clarke was admitted to the bar in 1833 and commenced practice in Franklin, Kentucky. He served as member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1841 and 1842.[3]

Clarke was elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849). He served as delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1849.[2]

Race for Governor of Kentucky[edit]

In 1855, Clarke, who was known as old-line conservative and proslavery candidate,[4] was selected as the Democratic nominee for Governor of Kentucky.[5] His opponent Charles S. Morehead, a former Whig U.S. Representative who ran with the Know-Nothing Party ran a campaign that focused on immigrants and vilified Catholics leading to bloody riots in Louisville.[6] Although Clarke himself was not a Catholic, his wife was and that was used against him. Clarke had the support of John C. Breckinridge, who (successfully) ran to replace Morehead in the House of Representatives and would later serve as Vice-President of the United States from 1857 to 1861 under President Buchanan.[5] Clarke was defeated by Morehead (69,816 for Morehead to 65,413 for Clarke)[6] who served until 1859.[5]

Diplomatic service[edit]

On January 7, 1858, he was appointed by President Buchanan as U.S. Minister to Guatemala.[7] On January 14, 1858, he was also appointed as U.S. Minister to Honduras. He presented his credentials in Guatemala on July 13, 1858 and in Honduras on August 10, 1858, serving until his death in Guatemala on March 17, 1860.[7] After moving to Guatemala, Clarke converted to Catholicism, confirmed by Bishop Bernardo Piñol with Pedro de Aycinena y Piñol as his godfather, much to the delight of the people there.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Clarke was married to his cousin Mariah Louise Clarke (1818-1847),[1] a devout Roman Catholic.[9][10] Together, they were the parents of one son and three daughters (all of whom they named after the Virgin Mary), including:[1]

After her death, he married Zenobia Turner. Together, they were the parents of a son:[1]

  • Thomas H. Clarke

Clarke died in Guatemala on March 17, 1860 while serving as the U.S. Minister. He was first buried in Guatemala but later was interred in the State Cemetery, Frankfort, Kentucky,[2] after an act of the Kentucky Legislature.[13]


Through his daughter Pauline, he was the grandfather of nine grandchildren of whom six survived.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ramage, James (2010). Gray Ghost: The Life of Col. John Singleton Mosby. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 13, 29. ISBN 0813129451. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "CLARKE, Beverly Leonidas - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  3. ^ Allen, William B. (1872). A History of Kentucky: Embracing Gleanings, Reminiscences, Antiquities, Natural Curiosities, Statistics, and Biographical Sketches of Pioneers, Soldiers, Jurists, Lawyers, Statesmen, Divines, Mechanics, Farmers, Merchants, and Other Leading Men, of All Occupations and Pursuits. Bradley & Gilbert. p. 282. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  4. ^ Matthews, Gary (2014). More American Than Southern: Kentucky, Slavery, and the War for an American Ideology, 1828-1861. Univ. of Tennessee Press. p. 139. ISBN 9781621900573. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Watson, Thomas Shelby; Brantley, Perry A. (2007). Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: A Biography of Kentucky Soldier Jerome Clarke. McFarland. p. 10. ISBN 9780786432806. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b Harrison, Lowell H. (2015). Kentucky's Governors. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 75–76. ISBN 9780813159744. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Beverly Leonidas Clarke - People - Department History". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  8. ^ Woodward Jr, Ralph Lee (2012). Rafael Carrera and the Emergence of the Republic of Guatemala, 1821–1871. University of Georgia Press. p. 261. ISBN 9780820343600. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  9. ^ "St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church -- 271 Winchester St. Warrenton, VA 20186". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  10. ^ Goetz, David (2012). Hell Is Being Republican in Virginia. Xlibris Corporation. p. 151. ISBN 9781462890828. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  11. ^ Siepel, Kevin H. (2008). Rebel: The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby. U of Nebraska Press. p. 5. ISBN 0803233744. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  12. ^ Talbott, Tim. "Beverly L. Clarke". ExploreKYHistory. Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  13. ^ Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Printed at the Kentucky Yeoman Office, John H. Harney, public printer. 1868. pp. 80–81. Retrieved 18 February 2018.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John H. McHenry
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849
Succeeded by
James Leeper Johnson
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John L. Marling
United States Minister to Guatemala
July 13, 1858 – March 17, 1860
Succeeded by
Elisha Oscar Crosby
Preceded by
Solon Borland
United States Minister to Honduras
August 10, 1858 – March 17, 1860
Succeeded by
James R. Partridge