Thomas Clayton Calk

Thomas Clayton, first son of Elijah and Mary “Polly” Calk, was born in Clarke County, Alabama, November 21, 1820. Polly was Elijah’s second wife. The name of his first wife is unknown but between the years 1789 and 1818 they had eight children. Six of these children were living in 1820, so Thomas was born into a large family of step brothers and sisters.

Clarke County, Alabama, is a fertile wooded part of the state. The country website describes the area as “diversified with hills and valleys” with rich soil along the banks of the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers which form its boundaries. Since this was farming and timber country more than likely Elijah’s family depended on the land for their livelihood.

Early in the 1840’s, Thomas met and courted Mary Elizabeth Larrimore. They married February 4, 1847, in Clarke County. Thomas was twenty-six years old and Mary was seventeen. Just over one year later on December 6, 1848, their first son Early Jackson was born.

Marriage record for Thomas C. Calk and Mary Larrimore.

Thomas and his fast growing family remained in Clarke County for eight more years and during that time four more children were added to the fold – William Matthew (1850) Thomas (1852) Anna (1854) and Elijah Clayton (1856).

By the time of the 1860 United States Federal Census, Thomas and his family had moved to Red River, Sevier, Arkansas. The name on the record is incorrectly listed as “Cork.” Thomas and Mary’s family had grown by one – a one year old daughter, Sarah.

We do not know how long the Calk family stayed in Sevier County, Arkansas, but it is believed that in about 1862 Mary gave birth to another daughter named Molly before their departure.


Another Calk family researcher by the name of Wayne Calk shared this bit of family lore with me.


The story is passed down in my line was that Thomas C. family left for Texas in a wagon train and that Mary and the youngest child died on the trip to Texas. It was said that both died during childbirth. I accepted this as fact because I have never found Thomas or any of this children on the 1870 Texas (except William) census and I knew they were there in 1868 because of a marriage record I found. I finally found a newspaper [article] in an Oklahoma newspaper that mentions William Calk and sister Mollie who were meeting after not seeing each other for over 50 years. I finally found a husband for her by the name of George Danner (or Dammer). I’ve never found anymore info on them.


I have not located the marriage record mentioned by Wayne Calk nor have I found Thomas Calk on the 1870 United States Federal Census. So there is little we know about him during the years between 1860 and 1880. Of course, we have to remember that the American Civil War occurred from 1861-1865 and certainly affected the lives and livelihood of all people. I have not found a military record for Thomas and none of his sons would have been of an age to serve.

We do know from the 1880 census that Thomas was married Minerva Fitzgerald Collins Ray and they had four more children, Jerry W. (Jerry Walter), Iry Del (Ira Dell), Alonzo E. (Alonzo Evans), and Thurmenta (Lula Samantha). Also living with the family were children by Minerva’s previous two marriages – Columbus Anderson and Sarah E. Ray. The family was living in Frio County, Texas, and Thomas’ occupation was “farmer.”

Before his death Thomas and Minerva had one more son named John W., born in about 1884. Thomas died December 28, 1893 in Lytle, Atascosa, Texas. He and his second wife, Minerva, share a grave marker in the Benton City Cemetery in Atascosa County.

Grave marker for Thomas and Minerva Calk.

Sources 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Ind., 2009. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Ind., 2009. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Ind., 2009. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Ind., 2009. Web: Texas, Find A Grave Index, 1761-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

Calk, Wayne, Calk family stories, email correspondence, May 13, 2011.

Dodd, Jordan R., comp.. Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920 (Selected Counties) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, July 2014

Thomas C. Calk Pedigree Chart (click link) Thomas C. Calk Pedigree Chart

Thomas C. Calk Family Group Sheet (click link) Thomas C. Calk FGS – Document

Thomas C. & Minerva Calk Thomas C. & Minerva Family Group Sheet (click link)