WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
HENRY CLIFFORD CLARK
(Silver Reef gambler)
BIOGRAPHYHenry Clifford Clark was born March 13, 1853 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
By 1870, Henry was living with his parents and brother James in Grass Valley, California. His father was a carman, James was a quartz miner, and Henry worked in the quartz mill. His sister and her family lived next door; his brother-in-law was also a quartz miner. The Clark family followed the rough mining districts east to Pioche, Nevada and then to Silver Reef in the Utah Territory.
Henry became a very well-known gambler. His young life came to an end during a card game in the faro room of Cassidy's Saloon in Silver Reef on Sunday, December 1, 1878.
It appears that there had been a grudge between Sykes Griffen, the dealer, and Henry Clark for some time. On this occasion, the trouble was caused by Sykes refusing to receive "jawbone" bets from Henry. While it is not exactly clear what happened, it appears that Sykes drew his pistol and fired at Henry. Henry was hit and fell dead almost immediately. Sykes fell on top of him and Jimmy Clark (Henry’s brother) onto Sykes. While the parties were down, Sykes was shot in the ankle and hip and his skull fractured by blows from some kind of weapon. He lived for part of the day on Sunday, but was not not sensible from the time of the occurrence until his death.
Several parties were present during the fracas, but they declined to say anything about it, claiming that there was so much powder-smoke in the room that they could not see who inflicted the injuries on Sykes. Supposition was that, as both of the Clark boys were unarmed, Jimmy took away Sykes' pistol and did the business. Jimmy Clark was arrested and held under $1,500 bail.
Henry was buried in the Silver Reef Catholic Cemetery. His Dad had a handsome monument erected and enclosed his son's grave in a beautiful iron filigree rectangle, shipped from Russia.
REFERENCESThere is a lot of "legend" about his murder, but the only source document is an eyewitness account
by Alex Veitch on Page 1 of the Reno Gazette-Journal of December 11, 1878
Saga of Three Towns: Harrisburg - Leeds - Silver Reef
by Marietta M. Mariger
Panguitch: Garfield County News, 1951
See pp. ??-??
Paragraph about Henry Clark and his grave
in an article, "Ghosts of Silver Reef" by Earl Spendlove
Desert Magazine, May 1966, pp. 6-7
Silver, Sinners & Saints: A History of Old Silver Reef, Utah
by Paul Dean Proctor and Morris A. Shirts
Palmer, Inc., 1991
See pp. ??-??
Leeds Historical Events in Bits & Pieces
by Wilma Cox Beal
See pp. ??-??
Saloon Shootout Leaves Two Dead
by Michael D. Empey
Washington County Historical Society Newsletter, Spring 1997, Page 2
Henry Clifford Clark
A research report by Elaine Young, PhD.
Find-A-Grave entry for Henry C Clark
Find-A-Grave entry for John Richard Clark
Find-A-Grave entry for Esther Clifford Clark
Death certificate for Esther Clifford Clark