Champ Clark
Champ Clark was born on March 3,1850 near Lawrenceburg Kentucky, the son of Aletha Jane Clark (born in Kentucky) and John Hampton Clark (born in New Jersey). He had two sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret (who died in infancy). James changed his name to Champ at the recommendation of one of his law school professors who said that James Beauchamp was a common name.
John Clark was a dentist and a buggy maker when his health failed. He taught singing. The senior Clark always had an interest in politics. His wife, Aletha Jane, died at age 27 when Champ was three years old. Champ Clark was raised on a farm, worked on neighbors arms, and always remembered and was proud of his farming background. Champ was educated at Kentucky University, Bethany College of West Virginia (where he graduated with highest honors in 1873) Cincinnati Law School.
At the age of 15, Champ began teaching school and by 1873-74 he was president of Marshall College, the first normal school in West Virginia (located at Huntington). Champ Clark moved to Pike County, Missouri in 1875 and he served as principal of Louisiana High School for one year. He opened a law office with David Ball. It was difficult to make a living in law at the time (there was an abundance of attorneys in Pike County in the late 1800s) and in 1879-1800, Clark worked as an editor for the Riverside Press (later to become the Press Journal). Clark changed the newspaper from an independent publication to a Democratic one.
He served as city attorney for Louisiana for 25 months, and city attorney for Bowling Green for one year, and county attorney for four years. His political career began in 1893 when he entered Congress as a representative for the Ninth District. He lost the election in 1894 but returned to Congress in 1897 and won several consecutive terms and remained in office until 1921.