John Alexander Clark was born 28 February 1871 in Farmington, Davis County, Utah, United States to Ezra Thompson Clark (1823-1901) and Susan Leggett (1838-1902) and died 8 February 1895 in Haifa, Israel (State of Palestine) of smallpox. Ancestors are from the United States, the United Kingdom.


Elder John Alexander Clark died while on a proselyting mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Palestine (now Israel). 90 years later his gravestone there would play a key role for the LDS Church to win official recognition from the Israeli government.

By the time he was 23 he was teaching school in Minersville, Utah, but he felt impressed that he needed to serve a mission. When the call came to serve in Palestine, his parents begged him not to go because they were afraid of having him go to such a remote place, but he insisted. He began his mission and reported that he had learned the language very easily and never spoke English anymore, except in his own thoughts. He contracted smallpox while visiting a home where everyone was sick and died just a few days later. Although both young men gave their lives while serving God, their deaths were to change history almost a century later. Their graves proved the church had been in the country prior to Israel’s formation.

Meridian Magazine

We want to share information about one of your ancestors. An article was published on today by Mark Albright entitled, “Missionary Moment: Missionaries in Palestine”. I will endeavor to give you the condensed version –


This is a photo of the headstone in Haifa marking the grave of John Alexander Clark.

Elder John Alexander Clark' was born Feb 29, 1871, the fifth child in a family of ten, to Ezra Thompson Clark and Susan Leggette Clark, in Farmington, Utah. (Ezra is the great great grand-father of Roxey Steadman.) Elder Clark’s death (being exposed to a family with smallpox) was a great shock to the members of his family. He died while working in the Muslin area of Haifa, Palestine. Up until his death, Elder Clark was cared for by Brother and Sister Hilde and other kind friends. Sadly, just three years earlier, Elder Adolph Haag of Stuttgart, Germany, died August 3, 1892 of Typhus. Elder Haag was also buried in Haifa, Palestine, now Israel. The two graves of these missionaries are located near each other in the same cemetery. (at the foot of Mt. Carmel, Palestine)

“Other than beloved family members, most members of the church would probably not know of Elder John Alexander Clark and Elder Adolph Haag, but for some interesting developments which occurred in the Holy Land in the mid-1970’s. David B. Galbraith, a BYU professor, was appointed in 1972 as the resident direct of BYU’s Study Abroad program in Israel. He was called that same year to serve as the first branch president of the Church in Jerusalem. In these assignments, he oversaw the experience of thousands of students who came to the Holy Land through BYU.

In the mid-1970’s, the Church determined that it should seek formal recognition by the government of Israel as a church legal entity with certain legal rights, including the right to be a land owner...The Church was interested in acquiring some land for the construction of the BYU Jerusalem Center, and needed to obtain this formal recognition. ...were met with great resistance. The Jewish leaders argued that the LDS Church should not be allowed to construct a building on the selected site when it had never had a presence in the Holy Land previously. But then an important miracle occurred. It was discovered that two Mormon missionaries were buried in a cemetery in Haifa. The had died while establishing the LDS Church in the Holy Land some 90 years earlier., in 1892 and 1895, respectively. (Their headstones’ inscriptions confirmed the existence of the Church)...and the Articles of Association sailed right through the complex approval process without complication.

It now became clear that one of the important purposes of the Lord in sending these two young men on missions to Palestine was to assist in establishing the Church in the Holy Land a century later. They had not died in vain.


Offspring of Ezra Thompson Clark and Mary Stevenson (1825-1911)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ezra James Clark (1846-1868) 29 March 1846 Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, United States 14 July 1868 Fonda, Montgomery County, New York, United States
Timothy Baldwin Clark (1847-1924) 21 November 1847 Winter Quarters, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States 14 February 1924 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Lucy Augusta Rice (1850-1928)

Mary Elizabeth Clark (1849-1904)
William Henry Clark (1852-1854)
Joseph Smith Clark (1854-1957)
Hyrum Don Carlos Clark (1856-1938)
Edward Barrett Clark (1859-1955) 7 April 1859 Farmington, Davis County, Utah, United States 16 September 1955 Farmington, Davis County, Utah, United States Wealthy Richards (1861-1940)
Alice Randall (1863-1938)

Charles Rich Clark (1861-1933)
Wilford Woodruff Clark (1863-1956)
Amasa Lyman Clark (1865-1968)
David Patten Clark (1868-1869)

Offspring of Ezra Thompson Clark and Susan Leggett (1838-1902)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Seymour Thompson Clark (1863-1893)
Annie Vilate Clark (1864-1942)
Sarah Lavina Clark (1866-1955)
Susan Alice Bell Clark (1869-1961)
John Alexander Clark (1871-1895) 28 February 1871 Farmington, Davis County, Utah, United States 8 February 1895 Haifa, Israel (State of Palestine)
Eugene Henry Clark (1873-1931)
Nathan George Clark (1875-1956)
Marion Flanklin Clark (1877-1878)
Laura Blanche Clark (1880-1985)
Horace Wells Clark (1882-1936)


Footnotes (including sources)