Family Stories

Obituary of Richard Albert Clarkson

Richard Albert Clarkson died on the 17th of October 1913 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was sixty-eight years old. In the 100th Anniversary Book of the First Baptist Church of Fort Smith, a brief article and picture appears, commemorating the life of RA Clarkson.

RA Clarkson (1845 - 1913)

Older members recall well the great contributions of brother RA Clarkson, for 22 years superintendent of our Sunday School. Mr Clarkson was born in Charlotte co, Virginia, served under General "Jeb" Stewart in the War between the States, and arrived in Fort Smith in 1887 after a period of residence in Missouri. During his 26 years among us he was vice-president of J Foster and Co, wholesale dealer in dry goods and groceries.

Mrs (Elizabeth Jane) Clarkson survived until 1930 and was one of the founders of the Fort Smith Orphans Home, serving 25 years as its president.

The following story from a Church Herald of 1913 speaks eloquently of the esteem in which he was held:

RA Clarkson Goes Home

On Friday morning October 17, our beloved brother, RA Clarkson went from our church to heaven. All things considered, he was the most religious man I ever knew. Many times I have been to his office when he was busy with problems pertaining to a great wholesale establishment and yet I have never seen him when he was not ready to discuss religious matters. At his funeral I could use a text that no one in Fort Smith could find fault with. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." I pointed out in my talk that he endeavored to live day by day for Christ and to let Christ be the aim and law of his life. For 22 years he was superintendent of our Sunday School. His high-toned Christian character has been felt throughout the entire city. Few men have impressed themselves as a Christian as has our brother. Such a life will live on in its influence. How this pastor will miss his sympathy and encouragement. He never found fault, and in hours of discouragement I have gone to him, only to come away with renewed faith and hope and determination. He will ever live in the heart and life of our Church.
Finley F Gibson