Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, he moved to Providence where he studied under a private teacher. He graduated from Brown University in 1809, studied law, admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Providence in 1812.
He was clerk of the supreme court of Providence County in 1813 and proprietor of a distillery in Cranston until 1824 when he became a cotton manufacturer in Providence, Pontiac, and Woonsocket. Clarke was elected as a Whig to the United States. Senate and served from March 4, 1847, to March 4, 1853. He resumed his former manufacturing pursuits and died in Providence in 1870.
Interment was in the North Burial Ground.
Member Rhode Island House Member United States Senate (Whig) from Rhode Island, 1847-1853</td><tr><td class="label_burgverd11px"><b>Death</b></td></tr><tr><td> Died Providence, November