Lewis Strong Clarke

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Lewis Strong Clarke, Sr.​

(Louisiana sugar planter)

Born November 7, 1837​
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA​
Died July 5, 1906 (aged 68)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Political Party Republican
Spouse Lilliam Keener Lyons Clarke (married 1888-1906, his death)

Lewis Strong Clarke, Jr.​
George Steele Clarke​
Elizabeth Clarke ___​
Walter Lyons Clarke​
Oliver Lyons Clarke​
Frank Delmas Clarke​

Oliver and Elizabeth Strong Clarke ​

Lewis Strong Clarke, Sr. (November 7, 1837 – July 5, 1906), was the owner of a sugar plantation in St. Mary Parish and a leader of the Republican Party in the U.S. state of Louisiana in the latter part of the 19th century.

Clarke was born in Southampton in Hampshire Countiy in western Massachusetts, a son of Oliver Clarke and the former Elizabeth Strong. In infancy, he moved with his family to Springfield in Clark County in western Ohio, where he was subsequently educated in public schools. After working for a time as a produce dealer in Cincinnati, Ohio, Clarke and his friend, George Steele, purchased a sugar plantation on Bayou Teche near Patterson in St. Mary Parish, an area now part of Bayou Vista. Clarke and Steele named the plantation "Lagonda" after Lagonda Creek in Springfield, Ohio.[1]

In 1878, George Steele and Oliver Clarke, Lewis Clarke's younger brother, died in a yellow fever epidemic. With his partner gone, Lewis Clarke became sole owner and operator of Lagonda. In the late 1880s, as part of his sugar-refining operation, Clarke established one of the first effusion plants in Louisiana.[1]

On February 28, 1888, at the age of 50, Clarke married 23-year-old Lillian Keener Lyons (born 1865), daughter of Dr. Johnson J. Lyons and the former Frances Augusta Equen. Their six children were Lewis Strong Clarke, Jr. (born 1889), George Steele Clarke (born 1890), Elizabeth Clarke (born 1891), Walter Lyons Clarke (born 1894), Oliver Lyons Clarke (born 1897), and Frank Delmas Clarke (born 1900).[1]

Clarke became active in politics in 1894 through a faction of Moderate Republicans sometimes called the "New Party". In 1896, Clarke managed the gubernatorial campaign of John Newton Pharr (1829-1903), the Republican nominee who received 43 percent of the vote against the incumbent Democrat Murphy James Foster, Sr. (1849-1921), who won a second term in office.[1]​ This Foster was the grandfather of later Governor Mike Foster. ​ Clarke was the Louisiana Republican national committeeman from 1900 to 1904. He died in New Orleans and was buried first at Lafayette Cemetery I. Thereafter, he was re-interred at Metairie Cemetery, also in New Orleans.​

Clarke was unrelated to Clem S. Clarke, a later Louisiana Republican figure and an oilman from Shreveport who was the party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1948 against the Democrat Russell Long, son of Huey Pierce Long, Jr. Both Clarkes coincidentally shared Ohio connections.​


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Clarke, Lewis Strong. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography by the Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on December 21, 2010.

A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography uses material from these sources in its article on Clarke:​

  • Alcée Fortier, Louisiana, III (1914)
  • New Iberia Louisiana Sugar-Bowl, November 7, 1878.
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, July 7, 1906​.
  • Benjamin W. Dwight, The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong, II (1871).​
  • Clarke family papers.

Further reading

  • Lillian Galt Martin, Lewis Strong Clarke and His Wife Lillian Keener Lyons and Their Families, Ancestors, and Descendants, Harmony Realty Corporation in New Orleans, 1991; jstor - 4233028; isbn - 0-9630271-0-7.​

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