Random blog stuff, FWIW:
• I’m still getting the hang of WordPress’s blog platform and features. I create the posts on a Mac desktop, and I’d love to know how the blog looks and performs on various platforms: smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, Mac and PC, and such.
• So far, I’ve transcribed a few original documents and posted them as WordPress block quotes. The block quote tool is limited in its formatting choices, and often does weird and unpredictable things to indents, spacings and font sizes. And the dark-ish gray font on the light gray block quote box could pose readability problems for some readers. Question for you readers: would it be better if I posted black and white pdfs of word-processed transcriptions (which would also allow more precise transcription of the original document format), or are the block quotes OK?
My previous blog post focused on the earliest records we have—yet—of Jonathan M. Clark in old Washington County, Wisconsin: his 1840 marriage license and marriage certificate.
Today’s featured item is the earliest document (that I’ve seen so far) of the life of Jonathan M. Clark, and it has a great deal of interesting personal information. It is the official copy of JMC’s enlistment in the United States Army.
Jonathan M. Clark’s U.S. Army enlistment papers, September, 1833. From NARA Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, Entry 91 A: Series I Enlistment Papers (1798-1894). Courtesy Liz Hickman
This document is probably the earliest record we have of Jonathan M. Clark in old Washington County, Wisconsin. It is the handwritten marriage license that Jonathan obtained in early 1840. Transcribed, it reads:
To whom it may concern Marriage Being intended Between Jonathan M Clark and Mary Turck and application being made to me for a Marriage license by the above named Clark I therefore being satisfied by the oath of the party applying of the legality of
said the aforesaid marriage union do hereby license and authorise the same
Granvlle March 13 1840
Andrew Smith Justice peace
Jonathan Clark House, Mequon, Wisconsin, July, 2015. Photograph by Reed Perkins
Where are we? Well, if you’re looking at this handsome stone house in real life, you’re standing by the front door of the Jonathan Clark House Museum, looking northward. On a modern map you can find it at 13615 N. Cedarburg Road—on the intersection with Bonniwell Road—Mequon, Wisconsin. If you’d like to visit the museum, click here for more info.
But “Where are we?” is never a simple question when it comes to historic places, because the answer often changes over time. Along with “Where are we?” we need to ask “When are we?” The answer to “Where are we?” is surprisingly varied—and useful for further research—throughout the lives of Jonathan and Mary Clark.
Jonathan M. Clark. Photograph courtesy Liz Hickman.
There he is. Jonathan M. Clark, builder and first owner of the handsome stone home that is now the Jonathan Clark House Museum in Mequon, Wisconsin. He was probably born in Vermont, possibly on November 28, 1812, and he died in September, 1857. Before coming to Mequon, he served in the United States Army at Fort Howard from 1833 to 1836. He married Mary Turck, eldest child of Mequon pioneer Peter Turck, on March 15, 1840. They had a large family. We even have a photograph of JMC as an adult. In some ways, we know quite a bit about Jonathan M. Clark.
Mary Turck Clark. Photograph courtesy Liz Hickman.
It is a commonplace of genealogical and historical research that women and their stories are the “forgotten fifty percent.” In most North American societies it was, and in many places remains, the custom that upon marriage the woman took her husband’s surname. Some documents that recorded marriages, births and deaths might include a place for the woman’s surname, and sometimes the names of her parents, but this information was often left blank. After a generation or two, the woman’s name and those of her parents and grandparents would be completely forgotten, even by her closest descendants.