Sarah and Cyrus: part 3

UPDATE May 31, 2021: timeline revised to include “1864” in the dates of enlistment for sons Albert Byron Clark, Charles E. Clark, and Albert Byron’s brother-in-law Francis Rasey.

“The other Clarks” from Mequon to “the other Madison”

Today’s post is the third in a series of several focused on early Mequon settlers Cyrus Clark his wife, Sarah A. Strickland. You know, these folks:

If you missed it, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and an earlier related Map Day post. You might want to take a minute to look at those posts first.

New families, new documents, new understandings

Because I’d spent less time researching Cyrus Clark’s and Sarah Strickland’s families than those of Jonathan Clark and Mary (Turck) Clark, I had a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, I have been helped along the way by descendants Steven Clark Van Slyke and Lynette Thompson who have generously shared their notes and documents (and photographs!)

Inspired by their work, I have given Sarah and Cyrus the Clark House Historian “full treatment” (at least the pandemic-restricted, online-only version). So my Sarah Strickland and Cyrus Clark knowledge is definitely a work in progress, but it’s one that has yielded many new facts and sources that will help guide further research.

With that in mind, today’s post is less of an essay and more of a timeline, documenting what we know about this family, and what we don’t. We’ll focus on Sarah and Cyrus’s time in Mequon and the years afterward elsewhere in Wisconsin, before they “settled” in Madison, South Dakota.

Cyrus and Sarah in Wisconsin, a rough draft:

1830s–1840s

  • By mid-1836, Sarah Strickland was with her father Daniel Strickland and family in Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin Territory. See note 3, here
  • 1839, Cyrus Clark arrived in Wisconsin (according to Cyrus’s 1905 Madison, South Dakota, obituary)
  • June 1, 1840 (official date), Daniel Strickland family—presumably including daughter Sarah—enumerated on federal census for Washington county, Wisconsin Territory; Roll: 580; Page: 123; Family History Library Film: 0034498.
  • June 1, 1840, not sure where Cyrus Clark is for the 1840 census.
  • March 1, 1841, Cyrus Clark marries Sarah Strickland. Marriage license recorded in Washington county’s parent county, Milwaukee Co. Marriage performed by neighbor Barton Salisbury, likely in Town of Mequon, Washington Co.
  • March 29, 1842, son Albert Byron Clark born in Potosi, Grant Co., Wisconsin. See his biographical sketch in Soldier’s and Citizen’s Album of Biographical Record [of Wisconsin…] Grand Army Publishing Co., Chicago, 1888, 561-562
  • June 1, 1842 (official date), Cyrus Clark family on the Grant County, Wisconsin Territorial Census, 2 White males (presumably Cyrus and Albert B.), 1 White female (presumably Sarah). DGS no. 7,897,817, Item 3, Grant Co., page 9, line 10. And although we discussed the Jonathan M. Clark family in 1842, we haven’t seen any pages from the 1842 Wisconsin territorial census in Grant county, so here is the Cyrus Clark family, in the Western Division, Grant Co. Wisconsin Territory in mid-1842:
Click to open larger image in new window.
  • March 3, 1843, Cyrus Clark buys 40 acres of federal land in Mequon. SW 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Sec. 11, T9N-R21E, patent no. 8145
  • March 3, 1843, Sarah Allise Clark buys adjacent 40 acres of federal land in Mequon, SE 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Sec. 10, T9N-R21E, patent no. 8146
  • March 3, 1843, “Cyrus Clark” obtains 3 federal land patents in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, all in Sec. 34 of T7N-R20E, patent nos. 7716, 7717, 8145. This land may be owned by the same Cyrus Clark as our Mequon Cyrus, but more research is needed
  • c. 1844, son Charles E. Clark born in Wisconsin (calculated from 1850 census)
  • June 1, 1846 (official date), Cyrus Clark family enumerated in Mequon, Washington Co., Wisconsin territorial census as 3 white males, 2 white females (image and discussion here). The three males are presumably Cyrus, Albert and Charles. The females are presumably Sarah and… who? Perhaps an unknown daughter? If so, it seems she did not live long.
  • c. 1847, daughter Mary born in Wisconsin (calculated from 1850 census)
  • October 12, 1849, son Edwin Lester Clark is born in Mequon, Washington Co., Wisconsin

1850s

  • June 1, 1850 (official date), Cyrus Clark family on federal census for Grafton, Washington Co., Wisconsin; Roll: M432_1008; Page: 227B; Image: 460. Cyrus (age 34, born in Massachusetts), C. A. (sic for Sarah A., age 27, born in Nova Scotia), presumed children: Byron A. (8), Charles (6) Mary (3), Lester (1)
  • June 1, 1853, Rev. Woodworth records: “June 1. Mr. C. Clark’s child was burried (sic), and he requested me to make a few remarks at the grave. Did so, and read the burial service.” My surmise—and it is only a surmise—is that this child is daughter Mary Clark (b. about 1847), or the possible “mystery daughter” discussed above with the 1846 census, as neither appears to be counted in the family’s census of 1855
  • June 23, 1854, Sarah’s father and Washington/Ozaukee pioneer, Daniel Strickland dies, possibly at Sugar Creek, Walworth Co., Wisconsin
  • about 1854, son Frankie born, presumably in Grafton, Ozaukee Co., or in Waldwick Town, Iowa Co., Wisconsin. Birthdate calculated from inscription on his 1862 grave marker that notes age at death of “8 yrs.” see his findagrave.com page
  • June 1, 1855 (official date), Wisconsin state census for Waldwick Town, Iowa Co., Cyrus Clark and family of 5 White males, 1 White female, presumably Cyrus, sons Albert, Charles, Edwin, and Frankie and wife Sarah.
  • sometime after June 1, 1855, and before sometime in 1862, birth of son Clarence (he’s not on 1855 census)
  • sometime after June 1, 1855, and before August 11, 1862, birth of son Eugene (he’s not on 1855 census, either)
  • November 10, 1855, Cyrus Clark buys federal land in Iowa County, Wisconsin, NE 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Sec. 14, T4N-R5E, patent no. 16753
  • June 1, 1858, Cyrus Clark buys second parcel of federal land in Iowa County, Wisconsin, the NE 1/4 of SE 1/4 of Sec. 13, T4N-R5E, patent no. 28618

1860s

  • April 10, 1860, Cyrus Clark elected one of two supervisors in first town meeting for Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin.
  • June 1, 1860 (official date), for some reason, the family cannot be found on the 1860 decennial federal census, but from a number of contemporary events and documents, we know that when the census was enumerated in mid-1860, Cyrus—and, presumably the family—were living in the newly-declared Town of Moscow (formerly Waldwick), Iowa Co., Wisconsin.
  • April 27, 1861, son Albert B. married Carrie M. Rasey
  • May 1, 1862, Cyrus Clark’s letter on the subject of “Sugar from the African Imphee” (a type of sorghum) is published in vol. 14, no. 5 of The Wisconsin Farmer, and North-Western Cultivator magazine. Along with Cyrus’s positive experiences with the crop, he also has this to say about his home:

Having been a citizen of Wisconsin for 26 years, hoping it to be my home for life and the repository of my ashes after death, I feel an interest, and, still further, a pride in seeing the State A No. 1, in every useful and honorable branch of business that nature has fitted her for.

Cyrus Clark, 1862

Cyrus Clark, letter to the editor, Wisconsin Farmer, and North-Western Cultivator, J. W. Hoyt, Hoyt & Campbell, Madison, Wisconsin, Vol. 14, No. 5, 164-165. To read a pdf of the whole letter, click here.

  • 1862, son Clarence dies and is buried in Moscow Cemetery, Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin. See his findagrave.com page
  • August 6, 1862, son Frankie dies and is buried in Moscow Cemetery, Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin. See his findagrave.com page
  • August 11, 1862, son Eugene dies and is buried in Moscow Cemetery, Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin. See his findagrave.com page
  • August 20, 1862, daughter Ida Estella born in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. The village of Blanchardville is partly in southern Iowa county, and mostly in northern Lafayette county, Wisconsin. Information from Steven Clark Van Slyke and Lynette Thompson states Ida Estella was born in the Lafayette Co. portion.
  • June, 1863, son [Albert] Byron Clark registers for the Civil War draft, as required by law
  • March 19, 1864, son Charles E. enlists as Corporal, Co. C, 37th Wis. Inf.
  • March 24, 1864, son Albert B. and his brother-in-law, Francis H. Rasey (both of Moscow, Wisconsin) enlist as Privates in Co. C, 37th Wis. Inf.
  • June 17, 1864, two family members are wounded in the Second Battle of Petersburg: son Charles E. Clark, and Albert B. Clark’s brother-in-law, Francis H. Rasey. Private Francis Rasey dies of his wounds later that day (or early on June 18, sources differ)
  • July 17, 1864, Corporal Charles E. Clark dies of his wounds at the army hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • about 1867, son Byron born. Not to be confused with eldest sibling, Albert Byron Clark

1870s

  • July 4, 1870, federal census for 1st Ward, City of Oshkosh, Winnebago Co, Wisconsin enumerates Albert B. and Carrie Clark
  • July 28, 1870, federal census for Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin; Cyrus (age 55, born in “Connecticut”–should be Massachusetts), “Mary” (surely this is Sarah, age 45, birthplace “Connecticut” is incorrect, too), children Ida (8, born in Wisconsin) and Byron (3, born in Wisconsin).
    Not a good day for the enumerator, though I wonder if Cyrus had a pet name for Sarah such as “Sary” (rhymes with Mary), and that was the source of some confusion?
  • September 23, 1874, Edwin L. Clark married Mary “Mollie” Phoebe Fullerton in Clayton, Winnebago Co., Wisconsin.
  • June 1, 1875 (official date), Wisconsin State Census for Moscow, Iowa Co., Wisconsin with head of family C. Clark, 2 males Cyrus and… Albert? young Byron?), no females. Sarah (and Estella) appear to be in Oshkosh
  • June 1, 1875 (official date), Wisconsin State Census for 5th Ward, City of Oshkosh, Winnebago Co., enumerates “Mrs. S. Clark” as head of household for 5 White males and 8 White females. I’m reasonably sure this is Sarah, and I think she might be living with son Albert and his family, or possibly running some kind of boarding house. Compare to her 1880 federal census, below
  • 1875, Matilda (West) Strickland, Sarah’s mother and southeast Wisconsin pioneer, dies in Sugar Creek, Walworth Co., Wisconsin
  • 1876, Cyrus Clark’s first known listing in Oshkosh City Directory, “farmer”
  • 1876, Albert B. Clark, mason, in Oshkosh City Directory, living at corner of Walter and Irving streets
  • 1879, Cyrus Clark in Oshkosh City Directory

1880s

  • 1880, federal census for Moscow, Iowa, Wisconsin; Roll: 1429; Family History Film: 1255429; Page: 190A; Enumeration District: 157, Cyrus is living with son E. L Clark (30), his wife Molly (Fullerton, 26)), their children: Almer (5), Leroy (3), Ethel (5/12). Also a servant (and presumed sister of Molly) A. Fullerton (22). Also, a farm laborer, Geo. Smith and, on following census page, “Clark, Ida, White, Female, age 18, relationship is (oddly), “teacher,” she is single, and her profession is “Teacher.” This is certainly Ida Estella Clark as all details (except relationship to head of household) are correct.
  • 1880, federal census for Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin enumerates Albert Byron Clark with wife Carrie, mother-in-law Mary Rasey, plus a servant and a boarder.
  • 1880, Sarah (with incorrect birth location of “Nb,” presumably New Brunswick, Canada) enumerated on the federal census for Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin. She is living at 172 Height (or High?) St. and appears to be running a boarding house with five single boarders, male and female, the youngest is 7 months old, the oldest is 22 years old. A 21-year-old woman boarder works in a match factory, the other older boarders are “at school,” and the 7-month-old and 3-year-old are just listed as “boarder.” What’s up with that, do you think?
  • 1883, Edwin L. Clark graduates from the Bennett Medical College in Chicago
  • 1884, Cyrus Clark residing and daughter Ida E., “teacher,” boards, at 548 High st. in Oshkosh City Directory
  • 1886, according to Sarah Clark’s obit (1891), this is the year when Cyrus and Sarah (and presumably Ida Estella) moved to Madison, Lake Co. South Dakota
  • July 3, 1888, Ida Estella Clark married Frank R. Van Slyke in Madison, Lake Co., South Dakota
  • March 13, 1889, Albert B. Clark dies in Oshkosh, Winnebago Co., Wisconsin
  • 1889, Cyrus Clark in Oshkosh City Directory

A few thoughts

Sarah (Strickland) Clark’s obituary stated she was the mother of eleven children. I have found names for nine, and we are missing birth or death dates and locations for many of the other children. Knowing these facts would be satisfying for the descendants, but would also help us understand more about where the Cyrus and Sarah Clark family was during the decades of the 1840s and ’50s and what they were doing during that time.

I had assumed that Cyrus had come to Mequon sometime before he bought land there in 1843, and then just started farming there. But his obit mentions “In the days of his activity he was engaged in farming loggin[g] on the Mississippi river and mining in the lead mines of Wisconsin.” Based on the obit, his land purchases (some of which need further investigation), and the various locations of his early 1840s censuses and son Albert’s birth, I’m starting to believe that Cyrus—and Sarah—spent the early years of the 1840s on the move, checking out various places to live, work and invest in.

Also, if you go beyond this timeline’s collection of names and dates, you’ll realize the 1860s were a horrible decade for this family. Imagine: three young sons, Frankie, Clarence, and Eugene, died in one year, 1862. Only two years later, in fierce Civil War fighting, another son, Charles, died of his wounds and Albert’s brother-in-law died on the battlefield, four hours after being “shot through the bowels.” Albert participated in some of the most intense action of the war, including the Battle of the Crater. Later that fall, Albert was “slightly wounded” in action on September 30th, 1864, at Poplar Grove Church.

Speaking of the 1860s, as you look at the birthdates of the nine known Clark children, remember that Sarah Clark was born in 1823. She was 39-years-old when Ida Estella was born, and about 44-years-old when her last known child, Byron, saw the light of day.

And somewhere between the late 1860s and the mid-1870s, the family began a relationship with Winnebago county, and its county seat, the city of Oshkosh. Edwin L. was married near Oshkosh, and Albert B. and his wife Carrie (Rasey) Clark made their home there. Cyrus and Sarah appear to have traveled back and forth between Clark family homes in Oshkosh and South Dakota for many of the last years of their lives. I wonder, did Cyrus and/or Sarah own property there and maintain control of that property even once they had “moved” to South Dakota?

There is still much work to be done regarding the Cyrus and Sarah A. (Strickland) Clark family history, both before and after their—rather brief—Mequon/Cedarburg years. I have omitted dates of births of grandchildren and other less-central events. I haven’t had time to look at all the possibly Oshkosh city director listings for Cyrus, Sarah, Albert, Carrie and Ida. And, I’m sure, I’ve made more than one typo. So use this timeline as a start, and follow up by checking everything, as always.

Breaking News!

Remember last time, where one of the lingering mysteries was who were Cyrus Clark’s parents, and was he related to the builder of the Clark House, Jonathan M. Clark? I wrote:

There are a few poorly-sourced internet family trees that suggest Cyrus may have been the son of Kellogg and Charity (Rice, possibly neé Simmons) Clark of Sandisfield, Berkshire county, Massachusetts. […] but I have not been able to find any birth or baptismal records for this family that would connect this Sandisfield lad to Mequon’s Cyrus Clark.

Well, guess what? We’ve found the missing documents! Lynette Thompson contacted researchers from the New England Historic Genealogical Society via their site, americanancestors.org, and managed to locate the 1866 will and probate file for Kellogg Clark of Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. And the documents confirm that Kellogg Clark had a son named Cyrus Clark, and that in 1866, son Cyrus was in Wisconsin. Other information in the documents list siblings of Cyrus Clark, including a brother, Alexander Clark, who was previously known. We are now convinced that Kellogg Clark and wife Charity of Berkshire County, Massachusetts were the parents of Mequon settler Cyrus Clark.

And, since every clue we have about Jonathan M. Clark indicates that his family lived in either Derby, Orleans County, Vermont or nearby Stanstead, Lower Canada (later Province of Quebec), I am quite convinced that Cyrus Clark is not (closely) related to Jonathan M. Clark. For now, I will hedge my bets with that “closely” modifier—there are, after all, a whole lot of Clark families in New England and they moved around a lot in the 1800s and who can tell who is related to whom—but I don’t believe Cyrus and Jonathan are related, or knew each other before coming to Wisconsin.

Next Time

Next time, a first here at Clark House Historian: photo analysis! In which we make an attempt at dating these Cyrus and Sarah Clark family photographs. We’ll discuss photographic processes, evolving costume and hair styles, and biographical and other clues. Plus, more historical photos!

________________

Some of the above facts about Cyrus Clark—and other details not in this timeline—are from the following books, which are available online as free, downloadable and searchable pdfs:

  • History of Iowa County, Wisconsin […] Illustrated. Western Historical Publishers, Chicago, 1881.
  • Holland, Bjorn and others, History of the Town of Moscow from 1848 to 1919, Hollandale, Wisconsin, 1919.
  • Wisconsin Farmer, and North-Western Cultivator, J. W. Hoyt, Hoyt & Campbell, Madison, Wisconsin, Vol. 14, No. 5, 164-165.

Albert Byron Clark’s biography is found in

  • Soldier’s and Citizen’s Album of Biographical Record [of Wisconsin…] Grand Army Publishing Co., Chicago, 1888, 561-562. For edited transcription pdf click here.

UPDATES, August 21, 2020 (if you’ve read the post before, be sure to refresh your browser to see the updates):

Added comments to timeline regarding the 1860 federal census. For some reason, the family cannot be found on the 1860 decennial federal census, but from a number of contemporary events and documents, we know that when the census was enumerated in mid-1860, Cyrus—and, presumably the family—were living on their farm in what was the newly-declared Town of Moscow (formerly Waldwick), Iowa Co., Wisconsin.

Also added info about Sarah (and Ida Estella?) on the 1875 Wisconsin state census in Oshkosh.

Also uploaded a pdf of my transcription—with editorial comments and corrections—of Albert Byron Clark’s biographical sketch from the Soldiers and Citizens Album cited above. Click here to read the pdf.

9 thoughts on “Sarah and Cyrus: part 3

  1. Reed, thanks so much for all of this. I have not only learned more about my ancestors but also more about how to do genealogy properly.

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    • Thanks, Steve!

      It’s been a pleasure researching Cyrus Clark and Sarah Strickland Clark and chronicling their wanderings in early Mequon/Grafton, followed by southwestern Wisconsin, Oshkosh and South Dakota.

      And I wouldn’t have taken on the project without the excellent photos from your family collection. Thanks again for sharing with me and our Clark House Historian readers.

      Tomorrow’s Monday: Map Day! should be of interest, and then I’m going to take a crack at something new: dating photos. Should be fun and, I hope, informative.

      All the best,
      Reed

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