Meet the Children (part 1)

Jonathan M. Clark married Mary Turck in old Washington county—possibly in Mequon—Wisconsin on March 15, 1840, and their daughter Caroline was born almost eight months later, on November 7, 1840. Caroline was the first of eight Clark children, one born about every two or three years between 1840 and 1857:

Caroline Mary, born November 7, 1840, died November 20, 1924, age 84.

Henry M., born February 21, 1843, died April 21, 1866, age 23.

Elizabeth Rachel (“Libbie”), born February 25, 1845, died March 26, 1887, age 42.

Persie A. (“Precious,” “P. A.”), born October 5, 1847, died January 15, 1916, age 68.

Mary Theresa (“Sarah,” “Tresa”), born May 9, 1850, died February 18, 1914, age 63.

Laura Mandlena Marcelleau*, born May 24, 1852, died after October 12, 1886, age unknown.

Josephine M. (“Josie”), born October 26, 1854, died November 20, 1877, age 23.

Jennie Marietta, born May 25, 1857, died February 17, 1937, age 79.

In making this list, I have given what I believe to be the most up-to-date information on birth and death dates and the proper names and favorite aliases for each of Jonathan and Mary Clark’s children. Some of the sources give conflicting spellings or dates; in those cases I have chosen what I believe to be the correct name, spelling or date based on assessment of all the documents.

Some of the Clark children appear to have been consistently called by the same first name during childhood and adult life, for example, Caroline, Henry, Laura and Jennie. Some appear to have used various nicknames on a variety of documents at various times of life, such as Elizabeth (“Libbie”), Persie (“Precious,”  “P. A.,” “Percie”) and Josephine (“Josie”).

And one child, the daughter born in 1850, was referred to by more names, in more documents, than any. On the 1850 census she is “Mary.” In 1860 she is enumerated as “Sarah,” and in 1870 as “Tresa” or “Fresta” (the handwriting is difficult, and the enumerator may not have heard clearly). A “Family Record” page (more on this, upcoming) recording Clark birthdates lists her as “Teresa.” In later life, she appeared to use “Theresa” most of the time, at least on official documents.

Two of the children, Henry and Josephine Clark died, unmarried, at the age of 23, Henry in 1866 and Josie in 1877. The other six children lived into adulthood, married (some more than once), and raised families. I have gathered and compared a large number of (sometimes conflicting or inaccurate) sources documenting the lives of the Clark children and their families, and in upcoming posts we will have more to say about the varied and interesting lives of each. There will be a tragedy or two, more entries in our History Mystery—Help the Historian series, and even a scandalous divorce that made the national newspapers. Stay tuned.

Sources consulted include the Clark “Family Record” (more on this, soon), the U.S. federal censuses of 1840 through 1930 (excepting the destroyed 1890 census), and various marriage certificates, marriage announcements, obituaries, death certificates, online state death indexes and images of family gravestones found at I’ll provide more detailed source information as part of future posts on the individual Clark children. 

*UPDATE: 17 May 2020. For some reason, I had in my database that Jonathan and Mary Clark’s sixth child, daughter Laura, had a middle name of “Mandlena.” This—unless I’ve overlooked some important but now lost evidence—is nonsense. It’s the sort of mistake that creeps into historical writing via random error; I don’t know how I managed to make this particular honker. So for the record, the Clark’s sixth child was Laura Marcelleau Clark.

I’ve also seen her middle name spelled “Marcellean” in a record or two, but in my opinion, these are derivative, mis-read or mis-transcribed records. The records I’ve seen, for example, Laura’s marriage record with Benjamin Bleyer, has “Marcelleau” written clearly, but perhaps the cursive can be mis-read as “Marcellean.” I’m convinced that Marcelleau is correct. Now, you may ask, where does “Marcelleau” come from? Beats me, but I’m working on it.

FYI, I’ve also added a link to the Clark “Family Record,” above.

UPDATE: 22 Jan. 2021: Corrected spelling of daughter Elizabeth Clark’s first name. It’s Elizabeth with a “Z.”


One thought on “Meet the Children (part 1)

  1. Pingback: History Mystery! No. 2 | Clark House Historian

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