History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts- Champ Clark

Pulaski County Missouri History and Heroes

James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark was the namesake of Clark National Forest in Missouri. A portion of this National Forest was located within the boundaries of Pulaski County, Missouri. In 1973 CNF was “administratively combined” with Mark Twain National Forest. In 1976 Clark National Forest was absorbed by Mark Twain National Forest. 39,177 acres of MTNF are located inside Pulaski County.

“Champ” Clark as photographed by Fred Hartsook circa 1915. Retrieved via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division.

1. Clark was expelled from Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) after firing a pistol at one of his roommates in self-defense during a quarrel. Two years later he was invited to return but he chose Bethany College instead. He graduated first in his class in 1873
2. Clark fervently believed that a good speech needed to include information from literature and history. “The wealth of his biographical material, his quotations, and his historical allusions, as well as the manner in which he adapted them to his speeches” earned him the title the “Leather-Bound Orator.”
3. In 1911, while representing Missouri’s Ninth District in the United States House of Representatives Clark was elected Speaker of the House. Clark has been described as “a fiery orator, a challenging foe in debate, and a witty, but nonetheless perceptive spokesman for the Democratic party.” He remains the only Speaker of the House from the Show Me State.
4. Clark was a shoe-in for the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination (and most likely the Presidency) until he wasn’t. Clark never received the two-thirds majority at the Baltimore Convention. After forty-six rounds of voting the nod went to Woodrow Wilson who was elected the twenty-eighth President of the United States.
5. Clark’s residence in Bowling Green, Missouri, nicknamed Honeyshuck, is a National Historic Landmark.


History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.

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