Jefferson County, NY Pioneers

Genealogical and Family History of the County of Jefferson,New York   Vol 1

New York Chicago - the Lewis Publishing company - 1905
Transcribed by: Kathaleen Smith
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CLARK families from pages V1 293-295, 647-648 and from pages V2  1343-1345
CLARKE families from pages V2 800-804, 1177-1178


Those of this name in Jefferson county have been men of probity and intelligence, and have borne an important part in the clearing of the wilderness and the development of civilization.  Not all appear to be of one family, but it is probable that a successful tracing of their ancestors would lead to one common parent in the dim past of the colonial period.

(I) Among the early English immigrants is found record of John Clark, who settled in Middletown, Connecticut, and later removed to the adjoining town of Haddam, where his descentants are still numerous. His son, William (II), was born there in 1651, and died in 1688. (III) Nathaniel, son of William, was the father of Jabez (IV), who was born in Haddam in 1717, and died in Chatham, April 25, 1765. He settled in Chatham about 1742, locating on what is still known as Clark's Hill.

(IV) Five brothers, William, Aaron, Moses, Ebenezer and John Clark, received a grant of land in the northern part of the town of Chatham, in consideration of their building the first bridge over Little River in Middletown. Of the last two little is known, except that Ebenezer moved to New York, in which he died. All were born in Middletown.  Moses was born in 1718, and died October 12, 1801; Aaron, born 1721, died in 1800. William, the eldest, was born in 1713, and died September 26, 1812, almost one hundred years old. After the grant of land was made to the five brothers, William settled upon it, and chiefly supported his family by hunting and fishing. By trade he was a shoemaker. His wife, Mary, was born in 1721, and died February 18, 1797. They had two sons, Stephen and Samuel.

(V) Stephen Clark was born June 25, 1754 in Chatham and served with distinction in the struggle of the colonies for independence.  He always lived on Clark's Hill, and died there October 3, 1852, in his ninety-ninth year.  He had a large family.

(VI) William Clark, son of Stephen, was born July 3, 1783, on Clark's Hill, in Chatham, Connecticut, and died in Champion, New York, in 1850.  He came here in 1835, with his son, J. Hayden Clark, and together they cleared nost of the seventy-five acres of land which they took up, on Martin Street, where the grandson and great-grandson of William Clark now reside, on lots 2 and 5. William Clark was a Whig in politics and a Unitarian in religion. He was married May 8, 1809, to Sophronis Post, who was born October 14, 1785, in Chatham, and died in 1870, in Champion. Her parents were Joel Post, born March 25, 1753, and Keturah Jones, January 20, 1763, and they were married May 30, 1782. They died in Trenton, Oneida county, New York, the former October 14, 1819, and the latter July 19, 1855, over ninety years of age. William Clark's children are noted as follows: William Henry, born November 12, 1810, lived and died in the town of Pinckney, Lewis county. Thomas Nelson, July 26, 1812, lived in Pinckney and Champion, dying in the latter town July 1, 1893. Sophronia Maria died when nineteen days old, and the second of that name born September 22, 1816, married Orson Stewart ( see Stewart ).

(VII)Jedediah Hayden Clark, third son of William, was born February 2, 1814, on Clark's Hill, and was just of age when he came to the town of Champion. The land purchased by his father had a small clearing and his first undertaking was the clearing of the balance and the development of a farm. He cared for his parents in their last days, added six acres to the estate, and carried on general farming until his death, August 23, 1897, when he was over eighty-three years old. When he became a voter he allied himself with the Whig party, and was among the founders of the Republican party. Both he and his wife were Universalists in religious faith.

He was married January 3, 1841, to Maria, daughter of James and Sally (Choat) Fulton (see Fulton ). Maria Fulton was born February 15, 1817, in Champion, where she died February 10, 1857. In 1857 Mr. Clark married Susan (Waldo), widow of John Gates, who died in March, 1865.  His third marriage occurred in October, 1867, when Lydia M. Southworth became his wife. She was born April 5, 1823, in Rutland and still survives, residing on the homestead.

(VIII) Chauncy Hayden Clark, only child of Jedediah Hayden, was born February 2, 1843, on the farm where he now resides, and where he grew up.  He attended the local district school and the Carthage and Gouverneur public schools, continuing during the winter season until he attained his majority.  In 1865 he bought the farm adjoining the paternal homestead on the west, and subsequently acquired the farm on the opposite side of the road, which he still retains. The Yankee propensity for trade seems to have been well developed in him, and he was engaged, profitably, in several lines of business. At one time he traded a farm for a livery business at Gouverneur, which he operated a few months and then disposed of, returning to the home farm. For a period of four years he operated a grist mill at Great Bend, and has been twice engaged in butchering for the local trade. During the construction of the paper mill at Deferiet, he catered to the demand for meats in the vicinity two years. He has always dealt largely in cattle of all kinds, and operated a dairy of twenty to twenty-five cows. He has bought and sold lands extensively, and is now the possessor of nearly fifteen hundred acres. He is a member of the Great Bend Grange, in which he has held some of the offices, but is not now a regular attendant. He embraces the Universalist faith, and is an active promoter of the interests of the Republican party, believing them to mean the best interests of the country. He has served two years as collector of the town, and was re-elected to the second terms as assessor in November, 1903. Mr. Clark was married to Gertrude Buck, who was born September 3, 1844, in Champion, daughter of Theodorus and Harriet (Carter) Buck, who lived and died in that town. Mr. and Mrs. Clark are the parents of two sons, Jay H., and Fred B., both residing with their parents and assisting in the cultivation of the farm.


Few citizens of Antwerp are more thoroughly and justly esteemed in every relation of life than is Alexander B. Clark, who is the proprietor of a general store at Ox Bow village. He was born in Rossie township, St. Lawrence county, New York, July 7, 1848, a son of Robert and Margaret (Dickson) Clark, and grandson of Robert and Margaret (Black) Clark.

Robert Clark was born at Jedburgh, Scotland, in 1801. During his early years he was deprived by death of a father's care and protection, but his mother did all in her power to rear and educate him so he would be able to lead a life of usefulness and activity.  In the year 1818, when he was seventeen years old, he accompanied his mother to the United States, settling in the town of Rossie.  In 1822 he was united in marriage to Margaret Dickson, daughter of James Dickson, and immediately afterward commenced farming on land leased from George Parish, a large land owner in the town of Rossie, which vicinity was largely settled by Scotch families. The land was very rough and rocky, thus making it extremely difficult to till and cultivate, but being imbued with a spirit of perserverance and pluck he stuck to his task, and in due course of time was enabled to accumulate sufficient capital to purchase a farm, and from the proceeds of this he purchased several more farms in the same vicinity, thus being at the time of his decease a large land holder.  He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian church at Ox Bow, which opened for divine services October 22, 1837, and from that time until his death he served as elder.  He filled several township offices, performing his duties in a highly creditable and conscientious manner.  His political affiliations were with the Republican party.  His wife, Margaret (Dickson) Clark, whose family also came to this country in 1818, bore him ten children, all of whom are now deceased with the exception of Alexander B. and John H., of Denver Colorado.  Another son, George, left a daughter, now Madge Sutherland, a missionary in Burmah. A daughter, Jeannette, married Andrew Black, and died in Coburg, Ontario, Canada.

The common schools of his native township afforded Alexander B. Clark a good opportunity to acquire a practical education in the rudimentary branches, and for a period of time after laying aside his school books he turned his attention to farming on the homestead. In 1885 he engaged in the mercantile business at Ox Bow, which he has since followed, and in which he has achieved a fair degree of prosperity. His store is stocked with a general line of goods, and by his prompt and courteous treatment of his patrons he has retained their trade from year to year and is constantly adding new ones to his list. When sixteen years old he joined the Presbyterian church, and has held membership in the same ever since, serving in the choir for a quarter of a century, and as superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. Politically he is a Republican, and fraternally a member of the order of Free and Accepted Masons of Antwerp, New York.

Mr. Clark was married January 2, 1877, to Florence Hinsdale, only daughter of George and Harriet A. (Hamlin) Hinsdale. George Hinsdale was born in Antwerp, New York, November 11, 1819, a son of Ira Hinsdale ( see Hinsdale, VII ).


a worthy farmer and esteemed citizen of Pierrepont Manor, traces his descent from New England ancestors, his great-grandfather, John Clark, having been a resident of Rhode Island, and one of the patriotic soldiers of the Revolution, and lived to be more than a hundred years old. He left three sons, John, Jesse and Nathaniel, all of whom emigrated from Rhode Island to New York, and were among the pioneer settlers of Lorraine township.

John Clark, mentioned above as one of the three sons of John Clark of Revolutionary fame, was born in Rhode Island, and came to this county in the early part of the last century, finding his way from Rome by means of marked trees. He was one of the first settlers of the town of Lorraine, where he took up a large tract of land. He and his son James took part in the war of 1812. Mr. Clark was a man of influence in the township. He married Eliph Caulkins, and they were the parents of ten children, all of whom lived and died in the vicinity. Mr Clark, while not equalling his father in longevity, lived to be a good old age, dying at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

Datus E. Clark, son of John and Eliph (Caulkins) Clark, was born September 18, 1809, on his father's farm in Lorraine township and was all his life engaged in agricultural pursuits. He lived on the homestead until 1850, when he moved to the town of Ellisburgh, and became the owner of three other farms in that township. He occupied himself chiefly in dairying and the raising of stock, in which branches of industry he was eminently successful. For his services during the French Creek trouble he received a warrant for 160 acres of land. His political affiliations were with the Democratic party, and he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He married Caroline, born December 22, 1816, daughter of Isaiah and Lucy (Carpenter) Bateman, the former a farmer of Sandy Creek. Mr. and Mrs Clark had two children: Brayton S., mentioned at length hereinafter; and Lucy Ambrosia, who died October 28, 1869, at the age of eighteen years. The death of Mr. Clark occurred July 22, 1893. He was a man who had been greatly prospered in worldly matters, but whose best legacy to his descendants was the memory of an honorable and useful life. His widow is still living at an advanced age.

Brayton S. Clark, son of Datus E. and Caroline (Bateman) Clark, was born December 29, 1845, on the old homestead in Lorraine township, and was educated in the common schools. On reaching manhood he decided to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and become a farmer for life. His subsequent career has abundantly proved that his abilities as an agriculturist are in no wise inferior to those of his forefathers. He now owns the old home farm of two hundred and fifty-seven acres, situated just east of the village of Pierrepont Manor, which he continues to devote, as his father did, to dairying and stock raising, making a specialty of the Durham breed. He is a member of the Grange. In politics he is a Republican, and takes an active part in the affairs of the organization. He and his wife are members of the Baptist church of Mannsville.

Mr. Clark married, September 12, 1869, Celestine Jennings. They have no children. Mrs. Clark is the daughter of Elias Jennings, a native of Massachusetts, who came in early life to New York state and settled in Jefferson county, making his home in Lorraine. He married Betsy A., daughter of Jesse and Virtue (Perkins) Clark. The former is mentioned above as one of the three sons of John Clark, Sr. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings were the parents of two sons and three daughters. Celestine, who was the youngest, was born October 25, 1845, in Lorraine, and became the wife of Brayton S. Clark, as mentioned above. Mr. Jennings died May 3, 1863, at the age of fifty-six, and his wife passed away December 29, 1885, being then seventy-six years old. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jennings are remembered by their friends and neighbors with the respect and affection inspired by their many estimable traits of character. They were members of the Baptist church, of Mannsville.

JOHN CLARKE, who died at his home in Watertown, April 12, 1865, was one of the most prominent lawyers of northern New York, a man highly respected for his integrity and ability and, therefore, trusted with great interests, and he never betrayed a trust. From a long line of New England ancestors he inherited those traits which have distinguished the American people, both individually and as a nation.

(I) John Clarke, a native of Great Mundon, Hertfordshire, England, came to America in 1632 and settled first at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Four years later he removed to Hartford, Connecticut, and in 1646 to Saybrook, where he became an extensive landholder. In his old age he removed to Milford, where he had a brother, George Clarke, and died there in 1673. In the company with Captain Mason, under the authority of the general court, he built the fort at Saybrook. His wife is suposed to have been a Coley, and their children were: John, Joseph, Elizabeth and Sarah. The second son was lost at sea. The elder daughter married William Pratt, of Saybrook, and the younger became the wife of William Huntington.

(II) John, eldest child of John Clarke, married Rebecca Porter and lived in Saybrook.

(III) Major John Porter Clarke, son of John and Rebecca (Porter) Clarke, was born in 1655, at Saybrook, and died in 1736. He married Rebecca Beaumont, and had a numerous family --- Abigail, Rebecca, John, Joseph, Nathaniel (a graduate of Yale), Temperance and Samuel.

(IV) Samuel, youngest child of Major John P. and Rebecca (Beaumont) Clarke, was born in 1702, and when twenty years of age married Mary Minor. Their children were: Samuel, Joanna, Stephen and Titus.

(V) Samuel, eldest child of Samuel and Mary (Minor) Clarke, was born in 1723, and died in 1798. He married Patience Pratt, who died early in 1761, and before the close of the year he married Azubah King, who died in 1810. He had a large family of children, namely: Patience (born in 1748, died young), Minor (died in infancy), Rebecca, (died young), Samuel (who was drowned in 1786), Mary, Patience, Ezra, Azubah, Rufus, a son unnamed, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, and another son unnamed.

(VI) Ezra, son of Samuel Clarke (2), was born and lived and died in Saybrook. He married Betsey Whittlesey.

(VII) John Clarke, son of Ezra and Betsey (Whittlesey) Clarke, was born May 1, 1799, in Saybrook, where he grew up. He attended the village school until sixteen years old, was early put to work, being employed in a store. His thirst for knowledge was not easily quenched, and he prepared for college by studying during every leisure hour and reciting at night, after his duties at the store were over, his preceptor being Parson Hotchkiss, a learned man of Saybrook. In 1820, having attained his majority, he went to Ovid, New York, where he taught school. Late in that year he came to Watertown, where his elder brother, Charles E. Clarke, has established a law office, and began the study of law with his brother. In the meantime, to support himself, he taught in the Factory District school during part of the year 1821-2. Near the close of the last-named year he went to new York city and entered the law office of Fessenden & Ketcham, and was admitted to the bar in 1824. In the autumn of that year he started for Savannah, Georgia, in a sailing vessel, to establish himself in practice. Through unflagging industry and rigid economy he had secured a small stock of law books, clothing and other necessities, all of which were swept away in the wreck of the vessel near Darien, Georgia, in a terrific storm. But the measure of his misfortunes was not yet full, and he was seized with an attack of yellow fever. After a partial recovery, acting under the advice of his physician, he made his way back to New York. Here were friends to welcome and aid him in a new start in the world, and he set resolutely to work to obtain a new footing. Being blest with a sound constitution, and having recovered his health, he soon repaid those who had aided him, and rapidly established himself in a lucrative practice. He came to Watertown and became a partner of his brother, and his close application to the duties of his office and the interest of his clients brought him a brilliant professional reputation in all courts. He was thorough in research, and had an immense capacity for work, and his kindness of heart and fine mind and character won and retained friends. Though somewhat abrupt and brusque in manner, his warm heart and genereous nature were apparent to all who were privileged to know him well. he continued in active practice until his death, April 12, 1865. At the time of his funeral the city was draped in mourning on account of the death of President Lincoln.

Mr. Clarke was a regular attendant of the First Presbyterian church, and was active in establishing and supporting the Jefferson County Orphan's Home, and in the general promotion of education. He was a stern opponent of slavery, being a lover of justice, and was in succession a Whig, "Knownothing." Abolitionist and Republican. While loyal to the last-named, he was conservative, and did not believe the cival war necessary. During the last ten years of practice he was a partner of Delano C. Calvin. He was attorney for large land owners of this section in the early days, and defended many persons accused of participation in or aiding the prosecution of the "Patriot" War. In February, 1840, he was appointed surrogate, to fill a vacancy, and served subsequently by election until 1844. His successor died before the close of his term, and Mr. Clarke again fulfilled the duties of the office until a new election. At one time he was considered by the Democretic leaders as a candidate for judge, because of his well-known ability and conservative character, but he did not desire the position, preferring the emoluments and honor of a successful practice. In 1840 Yale College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws.

John Clarke was married, October 5, 1830, to Elizabeth Smith, who was born in 1809, in Watertown, a daughter of William and Ellice (Nash) Smith, of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She died April 25, 1840, survived by three of her four children. Elizabeth, the eldest of these, resides in Watertown, unmarried. Mary Louise is the wife of Levi A. Johnson (q. v.). Juliet died at the age of fourteen years. Francis Grace became the wife of George W. Knowlton, and died in 1868 ( see Knowlton ).

In 1841 Mr. Clarke married Cornelia Catherine Ranney, who was born at Adams, this county, a daughter of Butler and Orra (Heath) Ranney, natives of Connecticut. She died October 14, 1892, aged eighty years, and her memory is as dearly cherished by her foster children as by her own surviving child. The younger, Helen Minerva, died at the age of one year, and the elder, Cornelia, is the wife of Frederick M. Seymour, of Watertown.

(VII) CHARLES E. CLARKE, was a native of Saybrook, Connecticut, born about 1789. Shortly after his graduation from Yale College he began a course of study in the law in Greene county, New York, continued the same in Jefferson county, and was there admitted as an attorney in 1815. His career as a lawyer was distinguished by sterling character, a display of comprehensive knowledge of the law, and a steady devotion to the best interests of his numerous clients. Having a command of language that was truely remarkable, and being specially endowed with a vast store of wit, humor and eloquence, he achieved success in his chosen calling and gained a prominent position at the bar. Subsequent to the year 1825, when his brother, John Clarke, was admitted to the bar, a copartnership was formed by the two brothers under the name of C. E. & J. Clarke, and this connection continued until about the year 1848.

About 1830, or later, Charles E. Clarke purchased a gristmill, sawmill and distillery at the Great Bend, the greater part of which was formerly the property of Angel Potter, and in the management and operation fo the same he spent the larger part of his time thereafter. During the terms of the court he came and assisted his brother in the preparation and trial of cases, taking the leading part until after 1848, and assisting in important cases until 1850. He was elected to the assembly in 1839 and 1840, and in 1848 was elected to congress, and in these important offices his record was conspicuously meritous. He enjoyed the confidence of his constituents and the esteem of his colleagues for the energy and fidelity he displayed in contending for the interests of the people. In Watertown, New York, where he resided for many years, he was held in peculiar honor, and there set an example of citizenship which was well worthy of emulation. His death occurred in 1863, at the age of seventy-four years.

(VIII) John Victor Clarke, son of Charles E. and Hannah (Sanford) Clarke, was born November 14, 1859, in Great Bend, New York, and went to Watertown with his mother after his father's death. He was educated in the public schools of Watertown, and set about his own support at an early age. Entering the employ of George B. Phelps, an extensive railroad contractor, he rapidly acquired a knowledge of civil engineering, and in 1886 became a member of the firm of Moffett, Hodgkins, & Clarke, contractors. This included John F. Moffett and H. C. Hodgkins, well known in connection with railroad and other construction contracts. During his connection with this firm it removed headquarters to New York city, where it was dissolved.

Mr. Clarke went to White Plains, where he became interested in the Le Valley Carbon Brush Company, of which he was made president. Through his energy and good business management, it was made a success, and he was cut off by death in the midst of a most useful and promising career, June 9, 1904. He was a valued member of the Larchmont Yacht Club and the Colonial and Knowlwood Clubs, and his kind nature, affable manners and unimpeachable integrity brought to him and retained many warm friendships. A true and worthy representative of a noble ancestry, his demise was a distinct loss to the community at large, as well as to a sorrowing family.

Mr. Clarke was married in 1884 to Miss Lucile Copley, daughter of Hiram Copley ( see Copley, VI ). Mrs. Clarke is a lady of good business qualifications, as well as graceful accomplishments and fine personality, as is shown by her successful management of the business bequeathed to her by her lamented husband. Three children remain to comfort her in her bereavement, namely: John Victor, Copley and Carree Rosalind.

HENDERSON MILLER CLARKE was for a number of years a well known factor in business circles in Watertown, and is a native son of this place, born on the 2d of May, 1860. About forty-five years ago his father, Joseph Clarke, accompanied by his wife, came from England to America. He belonged to an old English family, and in his native country acquired his education through seven years' attendance at the common schools. He learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, and for many years devoted his energies to the art of wood carving, winning for himself an excellent reputation in this particular branch of his trade. Crossing the Atlantic, he settled in Kingston, Canada, where he remained for a year, after which he removed to Watertown, New York, where he won for himself a most enviable reputation and gratifying success in the field of his chosen endeavor. There are many evidences to be found to-day in Watertown of his superior workmanship. Many exquisite designs in wood-carving in the old Paddock mansion are proof of his superiority in his chosen vocation, and have received the highest encomiums of hundreds of lovers of the art, many of whom have come long distances to Watertown in order to obtain new ideas in wood-carving from the work executed by Mr. Clarke. In early manhood in England he wedded Miss Mary Miller, who was about his own age and was likewise of English parentage. She, too, was educated in the English schools. For many years both Mr. and Mrs. Clarke were devoted members and earnest workers in the Methodist Episcopal church. His death occurred when he was seventy years of age, and she survived him for only a brief period.

Henderson Miller Clarke, reared in his parents' home and educated in the public schools of Watertown, entered upon his business career as a meat cutter, and followed that pursuit for a considerable period. He afterward held the responsible position of manager for the Armour Refrigerating Company in Watertown for many years, and as a retail dealer in meats in his native city he gained for himself an enviable reputation for honorable dealing, his uniform courtesy and obliging manner making him popular with his numerous patrons. He, too, is of the Episcopalian faith, being a communicant of Grace church of Watertown. His political allegiance is given to the Democracy.

On the 30th of June, 1890, Mr. Clarke was united in marriage to Miss Julia Pauline O'Leary, the wedding being celebrated at the home of her parents, James and Ellen O'Leary, near Potsdam, New York. Her father and mother, natives of Ireland, are still living upon their farm at Potsdam. Their daughter Julia was born there April 14, 1871. She is of the Catholic faith, and holds membership with the church of the Holy Trinity at Watertown. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke occupy a comfortable home at No. 12 Gothem street in his native city.

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