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Mr. Clarke's Books

  » Thunder At
        Meridian

  » Bloody Kemper

  » He Saw the
        Elephant

  » The East End Tea
        Room

  » War Stories from
        Mississippi

  » Mississippi Blood

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About the Author

Author Hewitt Clarke Photo

Hewitt Clarke and SCV brothers at a recent Confederate Memorial Day observance.  Clarke is a past Commander and Colonel of Granbury's Texas Brigade

 

Hewitt Clarke, the much acclaimed and highly respected researcher and author of east Mississippi history, began his journey in a Deep South town in the hills of East Mississippi.  The area has strong ties to the old code of chivalry inherited from their fierce Scotch Irish ancestors and a deep respect for their culture and heritage.  As William Faulker would have said, "In Meridian, the past is not dead, Its not even past."

Clarke's family roots go back to a time when Lauderdale County was new and fresh having not too long before, been the home of only Choctaw Indians and a few brave, adventurous explorers. His ancestors arrived in the area about 1870 and were as much a part of the history of the region as were the railroads and, perhaps, even the piney woods themselves. As a small child he can recall living in one of the few buildings in Meridian that had survived Sherman's Meridian Expedition in 1864, a building that would later be purchased by a benevolent organization and called Merrihope. He shares memories of the region with many of the home folks that he has interviewed in the course of his research and because of this can better understand, interpret and ferret out the truth.

Clarke was born in Montgomery, Alabama but his family soon returned to his beloved east Mississippi. He is a graduate of Meridian High School where he exercised his writing skills as a reporter for the school newspaper "The Wildcat."

After high school he attended the University of Mississippi earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree before entering the U. S. Army where he trained as an Intelligence Officer. He served in the far east as a special agent in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, collecting information about the Communist party and its' activities around the world.

Following his military career, Clarke pursued an exciting and rewarding career in the insurance industry moving around the U.S. a number of times until he reached his present home in Houston, Texas where he has lived for 35 years.

As impressive and exciting as his career, his private exploits are legend. An accomplished mountain climber he has scaled peaks in both the United States and Central America, hiked ancient Indian trails across the county and, even run with the bulls during the nine day festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain. The running of the bulls was featured in one of Earnest Hemingway's novels "The Sun Also Rises."  In fact, when the locals of Pamplona learned that Clarke was a writer, many  began addressing him as "Papa" as they had learned that another bearded writer, "Papa" Hemingway, had liked to be called.

Always the champion of southern culture, Clarke's research is thorough and precise. The investigation leading to the publication in 1995 of his first book "Thunder At Meridian" took more than twenty years to complete. When researching another book "He Saw the Elephant" (2000), a Confederate Naval Saga of LT Charles "Savvy" Read, he actually followed the voyage of the Confederate Ram Arkansas himself, alone in a small, inflatable boat over 150 miles down the swift Yazoo River in Mississippi.

Clarke continues to be active in a number of organizations, and supports the tenants of our rich southern heritage. He is a Colonel and the former Commander of Granbury's Texas Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  He also serves as an Admiral in the Republic of Texas Navy. He supports his community as a continuing education instructor of Texas History at Montgomery College near Houston.

Author Hewitt Clarke and Granddaughter at Confederate Heroes Cotillion Photo

Hewitt Clarke and granddaughter at the January, 2008 Confederate Heroes Day Cotillion.

Author of five well-received books on the history of the east Mississippi region, his first book Thunder at Meridian (1995) remains the definitive work on east Mississippi history.  Beginning late in the seventeenth century the book tells the story of the Choctaw Indian, the French, Spanish and English settlements and excursions into Mississippi territory and continues to track the development of the area well into the second half of the twentieth century.  It is both interestingly told and enlightening for area residents.

In his second effort, Bloody Kemper (1997), Clarke once again mesmerized readers with the true story of Kemper County, Mississippi during it's sometimes tumultuous past.

As previously noted, He Saw the Elephant (2000) was the true story of a Confederate Naval Officer, LT Charles "Savvy" Read, that dashing young man who shocked the Union with his brilliant naval exploits and captured the attention of the world.  He and his beloved wife Nebraska are buried in the Confederate mound at Rose Hill cemetery in Meridian.  Nebraska having the distinction of being the only civilian interred there.

Next came the humorous and tragic tale of a group of "good old boys" and an old gas station converted to a latter day honkey tonk, The East End Tea Room (2002) explores the lives of several Lauderdale County men whose trials and tribulations lead to the tragic deaths of three civil rights workers and the end of the Ku Klux Klan in east Mississippi.  The much told tale is given new life by Clarke's in-depth research efforts.

Last came the stories of east Mississippi's heroes, that generation that NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw called a Band of Brothers who fought and died for liberty in World War II and beyond.  War Stories from Mississippi (2004) shares the stories gleaned from veterans across east Mississippi about their sacrifices and suffering.

In his most recent effort, Hewitt Clarke has documented a more recent story of east Mississippi.  His newest book, Mississippi Blood explores the murder case of Larry Tiffee.  The headline grabbing drama that filled the pages of the Meridian Star for months in the early 1980s and was carried across the south.  It's sure to be a winner and well worth the read, but, a word of warning, be careful when you start reading, you may not be able to put it down.

 

 

   

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