Secretary of State
Statement on the Passing of Dr. Thomas Clark
"Nancy and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a great Kentuckian and friend, Dr. Thomas Clark. His passion for Kentucky, our people, and our history is unmatched and serves as a great example to us all. Kentucky has not only lost a great scholar, historian, and friend, but it has also one of its greatest ambassadors and role models.
My family has been fortunate enough to be touched over the years by Dr. Clark. My mother was afforded the opportunity to take one of Dr. Clark's classes while attending the University of Kentucky. She spoke fondly of the intellectual curiosity that he possessed and instilled in his students.
In 1998, I had the pleasure of attending a Shakertown Roundtable featuring Dr. Clark and other state historians. This event helped to spark my own passion for Kentucky history that continues to this day. There are usually several Kentucky history books on my nightstand, and I am proud of my autographed copies of Dr. Clark's masterpiece, Kentucky History.
Similarly, the highlight of most Leadership Kentucky classes, including my own in 2002, was his visit -- a half hour talk, delivered without notes, in complete paragraphs, that held the audience's rapt attention.
Dr. Clark shared a passion for historical records, including those maintained in our Kentucky Land Office. In fact, just a few short months ago, he met with Kandie Adkinson, our office’s ‘resident historian’ and director of the Kentucky Land Office, to research some items for a book he was writing at his death.
Just the opportunity to watch his craft in action and to glean but a small portion of his knowledge has forever instilled in me the importance of preserving our history and sharing it with others. He was so pleased with our efforts to place these historical treasures online. His endorsement not only validates the important work that we are pursuing but gives us even greater encouragement in our efforts."
Dr. Clark inspired us to be proud of Kentucky -- warts and all -- and to learn from our past successes and failures. With his passing, there will simply be a void in our hearts that can never be filled. We share in the family’s grief and pain and express our deepest condolences to the entire Commonwealth as we face the loss of this legendary Kentuckian."
-Secretary of State Trey Grayson
“Dr. Clark was a researcher who ‘went to the source’ to ensure the accuracy of his projects.
For his project on Kentucky land, he reviewed hundreds of warrants and surveys filed with the Kentucky Land Office. He then matched the records to various Acts of the Virginia or Kentucky General Assembly. It was such a pleasure witnessing his exuberance as he researched Daniel Boone’s surveys and George Rogers Clark’s military warrants. During one of his visits to the Land Office, Dr. Clark shared his passion for research with me when he said ‘Not a day passes that I don’t learn something new about Kentucky History.’ Dr. Clark’s quest for knowledge, even past his 100th birthday when others might say ‘enough,’ serves as our challenge to preserve and present Kentucky’s land records to researchers around the world.”
Kandie Adkinson, Director of the Kentucky Land Office