Happy Birthday, part 2: Cake!

It was Jonathan M. Clark’s birthday!

Note: this post has been updated twice on November 30, 2020, see below.

This past Saturday was the 208th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan M. Clark. If you missed our special birthday post, click here and catch up on all the new and updated information about Jonathan that we’ve discovered and published here at Clark House Historian since 2016.

One of the highlights of Saturday’s post was this photo of Jonathan’s excellent 200th Birthday cake from 2012, courtesy of Anne Bridges:

Click to open larger image in new window. Photo credit Nina Look.

No doubt about it, that is one fine birthday cake. (Thanks, Anne!) But what if you wanted to bake a cake that Jonathan or Mary Clark, or one of their early Mequon neighbors, might recognize? That calls for another look into the first cook book written and published by an American:

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Happy 208th Birthday, Jonathan!

November 28, 2020, is the 208th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan M. Clark. To celebrate, I’m reposting a revised, expanded and annotated version of one of my first Clark House Historian posts. Since this was first published, on April 20, 2016, we have learned much more about the lives of Jonathan Clark, Mary Turck Clark, their family and their neighbors. Please check out the footnotes and click on the links for some of this newer, more accurate, information.

Happy Birthday, Jonathan! (and thanks to Nina Look for the timely reminder).

JMC: Man of Mystery

CLARK, Jonathan M portrait

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—or Lower Canada—probably on November 28, 1812, and he died on September 20, 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 (above). In some ways, we know quite a bit about Jonathan M. Clark.

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How to stuff and roast a turkey – 1796 style

For today’s post I was hoping to have the beginnings of an annotated map of some of the early settlers in Stanstead, perhaps including the locations of some Clark families. But I’m still wading through pages and pages of images of Lower Canada land documents and experimenting with the right approach to making maps that are easy to read and easy to keep up to date.

So, in the spirit of our upcoming national holiday, I thought I’d help you all with your Thanksgiving preparations:

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“Distressing sickness” – 1811, Lower Canada, edition

Among the unavoidable trials of life in the 1800s were the recurring waves of infectious diseases that frequently troubled cities, towns, and rural settlements. These epidemics and pandemics were made even more disturbing due to the general scientific ignorance of the times.

And although inoculation for the prevention of smallpox1 was practiced in Europe and North America at various times during the eighteenth century, the concept of “germ theory” would not gain widespread acceptance until the second half of the nineteenth century, and routine vaccination to prevent common illnesses would not be in general use until the decades after World War II. Disease was an omnipresent part of life in early America.

Fever ravages Stanstead

In the winter of 1811, a particularly virulent outbreak occurred in the vicinity of Stanstead, Lower Canada, as reported on page 3 of the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Republican Farmer of Wednesday, February 27, 1811:

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Leaders and Associates – the unique land grant system of early Lower Canada

Last time, we continued our search for possible kin of Jonathan M. Clark in Lower Canada by looking at a map found in the Lower Canada land petition archives. Please take a moment to peruse that post and look at the manuscript map of Stanstead Township, Lower Canada from the very early 1800s.

That map was contained in the land petition file of one of Stanstead’s earliest and largest landowners, Isaac Ogden. The Lower Canada Land Petition archives are a tremendous resource for studying the early settlement of the province, but the files are often very large. And, for those of us accustomed to the system of federal land patents used in the United States, the Lower Canada land petition and land grant system is sufficiently different that it may be hard to understand and navigate.

Today’s post will focus on one element of that system in particular, the unique, and often corrupt land petition practice known as the system of township leaders and associates. It has a complicated history, so rather than paraphrasing, let me quote at length from the official provincial report that I discussed in an earlier post, the List of lands granted by the crown in the province of Quebec, from 1763 to 31st December 1890, printed by order of the Quebec Legislature by C.-F. Langlois, Printer to Her Most Excellent Majesty the Queen, Quebec, 1891, beginning on page 7:

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Monday: Map Day!

A very early map of Stanstead, LC, landowners

Sorry for the late post. So much information, so little time to organize and interpret…

I’m back on the hunt for Jonathan M. Clark’s possible kin in Stanstead Township, and in the process also trying to master the land grant system, documents, and archives of Lower Canada in the early 1800s. For background to our search, you may want to read (or at least skim through) these posts:

It’s complicated, I don’t yet have a full grasp of the details, but I didn’t want Monday to pass without a new map to help guide us on our way. Today’s example may not seem like much at first glance, but it’s really quite special:

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Veterans Day, 2020

This is a revised, updated, and expanded version of a post originally published at Clark House Historian on November 11, 2016.

One hundred and two years ago, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, at the eleventh hour—Paris time—the Armistice of Compiègne took effect, officially ending the fighting on the Western Front and marking the end of the optimistically named “War to End All Wars.”

In the United States, the commemoration of the war dead and the Allied victory began as Armistice Day in 1919, by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson. Congress created Armistice Day as a legal holiday in 1938. Starting in 1945, a World War II veteran named Raymond Weeks proposed that the commemorations of November 11 be expanded to celebrate all veterans, living and dead. In 1954 Congress and President Eisenhower made that idea official, and this is what we commemorate today. There are many veterans with a connection to the Jonathan Clark house. We honor a few of them in this post.

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Monday: Map Day!

Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck’s New York, 1829/32

I’m working with one of our young Clark House Museum volunteers to examine the life of early Mequon settler Peter Turck and his large family. Peter Turck was a man of many talents and trades, which we will look into in more depth in future posts. He was also Mary (Turck) Clark’s father and Jonathan M. Clark’s father-in-law.1

The Turk/Turck family is an old Dutch-American family that first came to the New World in the 1660s, settling on the island of Manhattan, then known as New Amsterdam, part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The Turk/Turck family maintained a presence in Manhattan well into the twentieth-century.2 Some Turk/Turck descendants migrated to the Hudson River valley in the 1700s and stayed for many generations.

For our purposes, I thought it would be useful to have a map that gave an overview of the places that Peter Turck and Rachael Gay lived before coming to Wisconsin Territory in 1837:

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