Silas Moorhead Clark






Section B. Lot 52

Silas M. Clark, a descendant of local pioneer settler Fergus Moorhead, was one of Indiana County’s leading citizens. His name still resonates within the Indiana community, chiefly because of the prominence of his Italianate red-brick home two blocks south of Philadelphia Street. The structure is listed on the National Register. or many years, this home served as the headquarters of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County.
Silas Clark was born in Plum Creek Township, Armstrong County on January 18, 1834. He was the son of James Clark and Ann Moorhead, a granddaughter of Fergus Moorhead. The family moved to Indiana during Silas’s infancy. He attended Indiana public schools and enrolled in the Indiana Academy at 14. Upon completing studies at the Indiana Academy, Clark entered Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. He was so well-prepared that he was placed immediately in the Junior Class. After graduation, Clark returned to Indiana, where he taught at the Academy between 1853, and 1856. While teaching, he began to study law in the office of William M. Stewart and was admitted to the Indiana County Bar in 1857.
Clark distinguished himself as a lawyer and forged a strong reputation throughout the state. But he remained rooted and active in Indiana community and political affairs. He served as an Indiana Borough Councilman; the Chairman of the Indiana County Democratic Committee; an Indiana School Director and Board Secretary; the Secretary and President of the Indiana Normal School Board of Trustee; a Delegate to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention; and a Delegate to the National Democratic Convention. He also served as resident of the First National Bank of Indiana, and President of the Indiana Agricultural Society. Most importantly, Clark was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on November 7, 1882.
Stephenson’s History of Indiana County notes that, as a jurist, Silas Clark was “highly esteemed.” His opinions were succinct, direct, and easily read by both layperson and lawyer (IV:332). Silas Clark died on November 20, 1891. All Normal School activities were cancelled in his honor. A number of Pennsylvania and local dignitaries attended Clark’s funeral, including Governor Robert Pattison and Chief Justice Paxson, both of whom served as honorary pallbearers. Silas Clark’s grave is marked by simple stone, inscribed with “S. M. Clark.”

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