Mountain Tom Clark….Did You Know

By  | May 12, 2018 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

One of the most notorious outlaws in the Tennessee Valley moved to Lauderdale County in late 1862 or early 1863. He was known as Mountain Tom Clark because he was known to have been from the “mountain counties.” This moniker helped to distinguish him from another man also named Tom Clark living in the same Blackburn area that he moved into. Reportedly, Mountain Tom had left his home with his wife and small child to avoid the being conscripted into the Confederate army.
This evasion was to no avail as the conscript officers found him in his new home and took him into the Confederate army. He soon deserted the Confederate army and enlisted in the Union army. Later, after running afoul of army discipline, he deserted that army as well. It was then that he took whole heartedly to his life of crime. He joined in with a group of men who had likewise deserted both armies and were then engaged in robbing, raping, and murdering in and around Lauderdale County.
Mountain Tom was credited with many crimes in the surrounding area, some of which he may have committed. Some of the crimes which formed the legal case against Clark were the Wilson plantation murder, the torture and robbing of several Florence citizens, and the murder of Mr. Howell.
Clark was eventually arrested in Jackson County and extradited to Florence. In October of 1872, a mob of outraged citizens in Florence stormed the jail and drug Clark -bdaabc33bfc70aa8along with to others out to be lynched. One person among the mob remembered that he had once boasted that “nobody will ever run over Tom Clark.” According to legend, the mob decided it would be fitting to bury Mountain Tom Clark under the street so that he would forever be run over by the town he had terrorized during and after the Civil War.

The people of Florence dedicated a memorial plaque to mark the grave, the inscription of which reads:

“The notorious outlaw gang leader who boasted that no one would ever run over Tom Clark lies buried near the center of Tennessee Street where now all who pass by do run over him. In 1872, Clark, who terrorized helpless citizens during the Civil War, confessed to at least nineteen murders, including a child, and was hanged with two companions. Although graves were already dug in a nearby field, outraged townspeople interred Clark beneath Tennessee Street thus bringing his boast to naught.”

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