CLARKE, JOHN HESSIN (18 Sept. 1857-22 Mar. 1945), practiced law and rose through Democratic ranks to the U.S. Supreme Court, after retirement crusading for world peace. Born in Lisbon, Ohio, to John and Melissa (Hessin) Clarke, he attended Western Reserve University, earning a A.B. (1877) and A.M. degree (1880). Admitted to the Ohio bar in 1878, he moved to Youngstown in 1880 after practicing law in Lisbon. In 1882, he became part-owner of the Youngstown Vindicator. Through his editorials, he supported civil service reform and workmen's compensation.
In 1898, Clarke moved to Cleveland. He was counsel for the NICKEL PLATE ROAD (1899-1912), and later for the Pullman Co. Not solely a corporate lawyer, he also fought for a $.02 railroad fare in Ohio. Active in Democratic party politics, Clarke worked for a short ballot in Ohio and, in 1904, at the party's request, ran a hopeless campaign against Sen. MARCUS A. HANNA. Clarke's political ambitions were directed toward the judiciary. Woodrow Wilson appointed him U.S. district judge in the Northern district of Ohio in 1914, and an associate judge of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1916. After retiring from the Court in 1922, Clarke became president of the League of Nations Non-Partisan Assoc. of the U.S. and a trustee for the World Peace Foundation, believing it was vital for the U.S. to join the League of Nations. In 1942, admitting the peace movement's failure, Clarke hoped America would learn from its failure to join the league.
Never married, Clarke died in San Diego, CA. He was buried in Lisbon, Ohio.