George Rogers Clark, War General and Louisville Founder
In 2008 Louisville will celebrate its 230th birthday.
In this Et Cetera, we honor than man who made it all possible – Louisville’s founder General George Rogers Clark.
At more than six-feet tall, two hundred pounds, and with a shock of red hair, George Rogers Clark was a man hard to forget—not only for his “rugged” good-looks, but for his intelligence, persuasiveness and resourcefulness.
As a teenager, he learned surveying from his grandfather… and at only 19, he became a land-owner.
At 26, General Clark led a military campaign that nearly doubled the size of the U-S. This included his legendary battles at Kaskaskia and Vincennes, in the Illinois Territory of 1778.
It was also in that year that Clark helped settle Corn Island, an outpost at the Falls of Ohio, which later became Louisville.
General Clark retired in 1803 to a small home in Clarksville, Indiana. At that time, the land he lived on was the only thing he held in his own name due to personal debt he incurred during his military career.
Toward the end of his life, Clark was plagued by debt and illness, so he moved back to Kentucky to stay at Locust Grove with his sister Lucy and her husband William Croghan.
George Rogers Clark died at Locust Grove on February 13,1818.
Quick facts about George Rogers Clark:
- George Rogers Clark was given command of the Kentucky militia when he was just 24 years-old.
- In 1778, Clark and his men captured Kaskaskia without the loss of a single life.
- Sometimes George Rogers Clark is confused with his youngest brother, William (18 years his junior), who won fame as a leader of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The Lewis & Clark Homecoming is celebrated yearly throughout Greater Louisville.
- It is rumored that George Rogers Clark’s only formal education as a young boy was alongside two future presidents – James Madison and John Tyler.
- Clark’s brother-in-law, William Croghan, had been his surveying partner in early years.
- Many towns, counties, and schools throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois are named in honor of Clark. However, the most noteable memorial is George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, located in Vincennes, Indiana.
- Originally buried in the family plot at Locust Grove, George Rogers Clark was later reinterred at Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery.
- George Rogers Clark never married and had no known children.
- Program 208
- 25th anniversary of the Humana Building, the historic Henry Clay, vitreography artist Julie May, and a look at Louisville's founder George Rogers Clark. Eileen Blanton of Peace Education Program is our guest. (#208)