Historical Marker #1271 in Franklin remembers the service of politician Beverly Leonidas Clarke to the state and nation.
Beverly L. Clarke was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, in 1809. In 1823, he moved with his family to Christian County, Kentucky. Four years later, the Clarkes moved to Simpson County. Clarke chose the legal profession and read law under James W. Davidson in Franklin. He also studied under Judge George Robertson in Lexington. Clarke was accepted to the bar in 1833, and began practice in Franklin.
During the 1830s, Clarke served in the Kentucky General Assembly. His success there led to his election as a representative in 1846 to the US House, where he served one term. Upon Clarke’s return to Kentucky, he was chosen as a delegate to the state’ 1849-50 Constitutional Convention. A run for governor against Charles S. Morehead in 1855 brought Clarke defeat. Clarke, a Democrat, lost by four thousand votes to Know-Nothing candidate Morehead, a respectable showing considering the Know-Nothing Party was at its zenith at that time.
Clarke’s strong Democratic ties probably helped in his appointment as Minister to Guatemala by President James Buchanan in 1858. Clarke died there in 1860. His remains were eventually returned to Kentucky and buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.
Although Clarke did not live to see the Civil War, and thus was spared the difficulty of choosing which side would receive his allegiance, his family would not be so fortunate. His daughter Pauline married future Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby in 1857 and son George W. Clarke served on the staff of Gen. John Hunt Morgan and was killed at the Battle of Cynthiana.