It is seldom that one attains prominence along several lines, but Dr. William Alfred Clark of Jefferson City is regarded as one of the eminent surgeons of the state and in 1918 served as president of the Missouri state board of health, while in Masonic circles he has also been accorded a place of distinction and leadership, having been grand master of the order in Missouri in 1917 and 1918. He is numbered among Missouri’s native sons, his birth having occurred in Clarksburg, Moniteau county, September 11, 1865. He was the eldest of ten children, four sons and six daughters. His ancestors were Scotch-Irish but when they migrated to America is not definitely known. The first authentic knowledge concerning their residence in this country is that they went to Kentucky from Guilford Court House, North Carolina, and in 1833, the grandfather of Dr. Clark left Logan county, Kentucky, and drove across the country in an ox wagon, settling in Moniteau county, Missouri. He took up his abode on the broad prairie where the village of Clarksburg now stands and the town was named in his honor. The doctor’s father, George T. Clark, was born in Kentucky in 1830 and passed away about 1893. He lived most of his life in Clarksburg and married Mary B. Yancey, a descendant of Leighton Yancey, who migrated from Virginia to Missouri and was one of the pioneer settlers of Howard county, his farm being the location of the town of Roanoke. A number of the family still live in that locality, and others are near Armstrong and in that vicinity. The village of Clarksburg was built upon the old Clark farmstead, the residence being just at the edge of the town.
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It was upon that place that Dr. Clark of this review was reared to manhood, working on the farms in the summer months and attending school in the winter season until he was twenty years of age. When he was quite a boy a college was established there called Clarksburg College, and for a number of years it enjoyed a high reputation as an educational center. Dr. Clark attended school there and was graduated in 1888. During the last year of his college course he was also a tutor, teaching half of the day and studying the other half. He also taught three terms in country schools while completing his college course. Later Dr. Clark went to Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where he passed the examination to the senior class of Waynesburg College, and then pursued a classical course and was graduated in 1889, at which time he won the salutatorian honors of the class. He later returned to Missouri and was elected principal of the public schools at Tipton, where he taught for five years. Afterward he entered the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis and was graduated in March, 1897. Having thus qualified for active professional duties he located for practice in Jefferson City, where he has remained continuously since, enjoying today the leading practice in the capital. He specializes In surgery and has taken much post-graduate work, keeping at all times in touch with the latest theories and advancement made in the profession. His sound judgment enables him to determine readily the real value of any advanced ideas, and his progressiveness prompts his utilization for every new and worth-while method. He is a member of the Cole County Medical Society, the Missouri Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the American Association of Railway Surgeons. He was also president of the Missouri state board of health for the years 1918-1919.
In 1899 Dr. Clark was married to Miss Clara T. Neef, a daughter of Herman and Mary (Brennelsen) Neef. Her father was an early settler of Jefferson City, where he engaged in business as a hardware merchant. He was born in Alsace, France, but left his native country during the revolution of 1848. Dr. and Mrs. Clark have two daughters: Helen, who was born May 14, 1901, and is now attending the Academy of the Sacred Heart of St. Louis; and Mary Louise, who was born December 23, 1906.
Dr. Clark is very active and prominent in Masonic circles. He has filled all of the chairs from the blue lodge up through the Knights Templar commandery, and he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and with the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of St. Louis he has crossed the sands of the desert. His high position in Masonic circles is indicated in the fact that in 1917 he was elected grand master of the state. Throughout his entire life he has made his activities count as a forceful factor in the accomplishment of well defined purposes, based upon conditions of society, upon public needs and upon office unity for the promotion of public welfare.