UPDATED, June 30, 2021 to add an endnote.
What we do — and don’t — know about the Clarks’ only son (part 4)
This is the fourth in a series of posts about Henry Clark, his life, and his possible military service.
• Part 1: Meet the Children: Henry M. Clark
• Part 2: Henry Clark and the Civil War draft
• Part 3: Henry Clark – Civil War draftee
• and a related tidbit: Avoiding the draft, 1862 style
In our previous post, we discovered that Henry M. Clark was drafted for Civil War military service on November 10, 1863. Today we will look at the existing evidence recording Henry’s death and burial in April, 1866, aged 23. So far, we lack reliable documentation for Henry’s life during the 28 months between those dates; we’ll continue the search for Henry’s possible Civil War service in a series of upcoming posts.
The question remains: why did Henry Clark, only son of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark, die so young? Milwaukee death records for the 1860s are uneven and incomplete; it’s not surprising that no death certificate exists. I have not been able to find a death notice in the Milwaukee newspapers. But we do have two contemporary sources that can shed some light onto the mystery of this Clark family loss.
Densmore W. Maxon’s 1866 diary
On April 2, 1846, Mary Turck Clark’s younger sister Elizabeth Turck (1828-1913) married an ambitious young settler, Densmore W. Maxon (1820-1887). Maxon began his Wisconsin years as a surveyor, and eventually rose to prominence as a businessman and politician. He laid out the village of Cedar Creek, Town of Polk, Washington county, about 18 miles north and west of the Jonathan Clark house in Mequon. Densmore and Elizabeth Maxon lived in Cedar Creek for the next 41 years.
The lives of the Maxons, Clarks and Turcks are deeply intertwined from the 1840s onwards. For at least one year, 1866, Densmore Maxon kept a pocket diary. These pages contain his notes on the final days of nephew, Henry Clark: