d.23 May 1714 Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States
m. Abt 1637
m. Abt 1660
m. Feb 1666/67
Facts and Events
Walter Clarke (1640–1714) was an early Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the first native-born governor of the colony. The son of colonial President Jeremy Clarke, he was a Quaker like his father. His mother was Frances (Latham) Clarke, who is often called "the Mother of Governors." While in his late 20s, he was elected as a Deputy from Newport, and in 1673 was elected to his first of three consecutive terms as Assistant. During King Philip's War, he was elected to his first term as Governor of the colony. He served for one year in this role, dealing with the devastation of the war, and with the predatory demands of neighboring colonies on Rhode Island territory during the aftermath of the war.
While voted out of office in 1677 by the "War Party," he was soon back in office as Deputy Governor, serving continuously in this capacity from 1679 to 1686, until once again being elected Governor. His time in office was very short, because the new English king, James II put most of the American colonies under a single Royal Governor, Edmund Andros, and Rhode Island fell under the Dominion of New England for three years. The flight of King James II to France in 1689, and the subsequent ouster of Andros from New England, brought about the restoration of Rhode Island's government under the Royal Charter of 1663, but Clarke refused to serve as governor. Eventually, following the death of Governor Caleb Carr in 1695, Clarke once again accepted the governorship.
His final two years as governor were marred with jurisdictional issues from the crown, and following the threat of impeachment, he resigned as governor in the spring of 1698, being succeeded by his nephew, Samuel Cranston. Always with public service in his heart, he nevertheless became Deputy Governor of the colony in 1700, and served in this capacity every year until his death in 1714.