History of the Clarkes

The Murphysboro Clarkes Vintage Base Ball Team started forming in 2004. The charter nine took the field for the first time on May 21, 2005 as part of General John A. Logan Days. During the Logan Days celebration, the Clarkes hosted the St. Louis Unions and the St. Louis Perfectos at Longfellow Park, the team's home field. Since their inaugural appearance, the Clarkes have taken the field against the Aviston Conductors and the Trenton Mains and multiple times against their shepherds, the Unions and the Perfectos. The team has notched victories against the Wichita Bulldozers and the Eagles from Washington, Missouri.

Why the Clarkes?

The team is named for a man who was significant in the development of Murphysboro in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is interesting that, at this time, we are unsure exactly which of two Mr. Clarkes we are honoring. One account tells us that the early Clarkes team was named after the park where the team played, which was in turn named after the park’s owner, a Mr. Clarke, who was an official on the M&O (Mobile & Ohio) Railroad. During the years of the early Clarkes’ tenure, however, there were two Mr. Clarkes in Murphysboro and both were connected with the M&O Railroad. We know that Horace W. Clarke was a well known citizen of Murphysboro, who in 1890 became an M&O Superintendent. He was interested in the Clarke and Logan Addition to the City of Murphysboro and was also a stockholder in the City National Bank. It is said of Mr. Horace Clarke that he devoted himself untiringly to his work, and that he was pleasant and genial in his manner, winning him popularity and a wide circle of warm friends.

Also we learn that in January 1888, after holding a number of positions with several railroads, James C. Clarke, became a Vice President with the M&O Railroad. He held that position until April, 1889 when he was made President of the M&O, and served as the railroad’s General Manager. As with Mr. H. W. Clarke, Mr. J. C. Clark was connected with the Clarke and Logan Addition to the City of Murphysboro and was also a stockholder in the City National Bank. We note that Mr. J. C. Clarke was also a very hard worker who rose steadily in the transportation industry. While our efforts to learn which Mr. Clarke we are honoring continue, we think either would be just fine.