Ann Clark was born June 12, 1841, in Moultrie, Georgia to James Clark and Leah Carter Clark (sometimes spelled Lea). At the time of Ann’s birth, a vast majority of Georgia’s black population was enslaved, and it is likely that Ann was born into slavery along with the rest of her family.
Before the Civil War, the Federal Census did not track enslaved people by name. Instead, the Slave Schedule listed a slaveholder’s name and the age and sex of the people enslaved. As a result, it is difficult to ascertain who claimed Ann as property.
The Clark family appeared by name for the first time in the 1870 census. Ann would have been 29 years old at the time but was not listed in her parents’ household. Ann was among the oldest of her ten siblings and was likely living on her own by that time but no unambiguous census record has been found for her in 1870 (or any other decade except 1910 and 1920). The census that year did indicate that her father and mother worked as sharecroppers in Colquitt County. By 1880, the family had moved to neighboring Thomas County where they continued to work as farmers but Ann is again not listed in the household.
The first known document in which Ann appeared by name is her baptismal record. Ephraim Young Moore from Moab, Utah, baptized and confirmed her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 25 November 1903, in Meigs, Georgia. She was 62 years old at the time and was the only member of her family to convert. There is no indication as to what attracted her to the faith but she became the second known black member of the LDS Church in Meigs. Alex James Brooks had converted there three years earlier.
Ann apparently never married. She appears as a single woman on the U. S. census in 1920 living near Thomasville and Moultrie Roads in Merrillville, Thomas County, Georgia. She owned her own home (mortgage free), could not read or write, and did not list an occupation. The census taker wrote “80” for her age, although if the date of birth on her baptismal record is accurate, she would have been 78 at the time of the 1920 census. To date, no death record has been found for Ann Clark.
On 18 and 24 of April 1975 proxy ordinances were performed for Clark in the Manti, Utah temple. It is unlikely that those performing those ordinances were aware of Clark's race given the ongoing proscription against temple admission for people of black-African descent until June 1978.
By Julia Huddleston
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Record of Members Collection. Southern States Mission. CR 375 8, box 2189, folder 1, image 195. Church History Library. Salt Lake City, Utah.
United States. 1870 Census. Georgia, Colquitt County.
United States. 1880 Census. Georgia, Thomas County.
United States. 1910 Census. Georgia, Thomas County.
United States. 1920 Census. Georgia, Thomas County.
 United States. 1870 Census. Georgia, Colquitt County.
 United States. 1880 Census. Georgia, Thomas County,
 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Record of Members Collection. Southern States Mission. CR 375 8, box 2189, folder 1, image 195. Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 United States. 1920 Census. Georgia, Thomas County. The 1910 census offers the same basic information.
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