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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head‑and-shoulders photograph of a man in early middle age with a handlebar mustache and an open air, somewhat earnest and with a trace of a smile. He wears a plain military uniform, of which only the jacket is visible, with a low rising collar and 4 double rows of brass buttons; epaulets can be made out. He is Dillard Hazelrigg Clark, a West Point graduate and United States Army officer whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Dillard Hazelrigg Clark

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Sixty-first Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 11, 1930.

 p103  Dillard Hazelrigg Clark
No. 2496 Class of 1873
Died March 12, 1926, at his home at Point Loma,
San Diego, California, aged 78 years.

Dillard Hazelrigg Clark was born on July 27, 1847 in Kentucky and when a mere lad was left to struggle for a livelihood, an orphan in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The boys was industrious and ambitious, however, and displayed an ability and aptitude for overcoming handicaps that attracted the attention of a wealthy man of standing in the community who took the boy into his own home and there young Dillard had the opportunity he craved, that of acquiring an education.

Large and robust for his age, he entered the Union Army as a private of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry in August, 1862 when but 15 years old. After a war service of a year, he again resumed his schooling and later entered the University of Kentucky as a student.

While at the University, he obtained an appointment at the U. S. Military Academy and, graduating four years later, was assigned to the 15th Infantry. Nearly all of his active service was at frontier stations and in the field in New Mexico, Colorado and the Dakotas. In the late 80's he served a tour of duty as Military instructor at the University of Kentucky.

In 1891 he was retired as a Captain for physical disability, but later recovered his health sufficiently to accept a detail as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Kentucky where he had been a student before going to West Point. Later, he served in the military departments at Pennsylvania State College, also at the University of Florida; at the Oklahoma University Preparatory School.

In the World War Major Clark, as was to be expected, sought active service and was given Post Quartermaster duty at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, and later was assigned more important duty of a similar nature at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where he performed his last active duty and was then returned to the retired list, the only officer in the World War — it is believed — who served in the Civil War.

As a young graduate of West Point, Dillard Clark traveled abroad in France and Germany and often recounted in his later life the great pleasure of his association with numbers of struggling young American artists, among whom were William Chase and Frank Duveneck, both of whom became noted American artists. Dillard's  p105 portrait was painted at this early period in Munich by Frank Duveneck. Major Clark took great satisfaction in telling the incident of the Duveneck portrait. He (Clark) was sitting in the studio one morning when Duveneck entered, and seeing him, said "Don't move, keep that pose Clark and I'll paint your picture." The portrait was painted then and there, one sitting only being necessary; this portrait is now a highly prized one in the American Artist group in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C.

[image ALT: The painted portrait of a man in his thirties or forties. His face is long and somewhat triangular. He look straight at the viewer although his head is nearly three-quarters left; he has an earnest, serious expression, appearing maybe slightly pensive or worried. He wears a large coat with a very wide collar, which can, however, just barely be made out. He is Dillard Hazelrigg Clark, a West Point graduate and United States Army officer whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Dillard Hazelrigg Clark, by Frank Duveneck

Painting, and photograph of it, in the public domain.

Among his classmates Clark claimed the distinction of being the oldest, the tallest and the first promoted.

Possibly the lives of but few graduates of the academy have been marked by such contrasts as fell to the lot of Dillard Clark. As a lad, life was a struggle for existence and for an education; when hardly out of his boyhood he served his country as a trooper in the Civil War. Later, at the University of Kentucky, at West Point and in travel, he overcame the hardships of his early struggles and his neglected early education.

After eighteen years service, mainly on the frontier he was retired for disability on the pittance of a Captain's pay, to resume the struggle — with a small family — against adversity as best he could. To help in his efforts for betterment and to reduce living expenses, he had traded in his town property in Oklahoma for a farm in the country and had moved his family there. Afterward came the discovery of oil in his door yard and he moved again; this time without considering the expense.

Major Clark was twice married and has living a son and a daughter by his first wife, another son (Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Edwin Howard) graduated from West Point in 1918, went overseas for service with the A. E. F. and died as a result of that service after returning home.

The widow of Major Clark is still living at their beautiful home on Point Loma, San Diego.

Dillard Clark was a good soldier, a genial companion and a true friend.

As recorded in a letter from the Chief of Staff of the Army, "Major Clark was at all times a conscientious and able officer and his death is regretted by his old army friends and associates."

He was a devoted Mason and was the recipient of the highest honor of that society, the 33rd degree.

Interment was with military honors in Arlington.

W. D. B.

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Page updated: 14 Jul 14