More on JMC’s path from New York to Fort Howard, 1833
In our post How’d they get here? – JMC to Ft.Howard, 1833., I surmised that new army recruit Jonathan M. Clark mustered in at Ft. Niagara, New York, and then went from there to join his regiment at Fort Howard, Green Bay, Michigan (later Wisconsin) Territory. I’ve since discovered two newspaper items that support that surmise. Here’s one from Spring, 1833, about five months before JMC signed his enlistment papers in Utica, New York:
[Recruits travel from Ft Niagara to Buffalo], dateline Buffalo, May 22, reprinted in [Philadelphia] Daily Chronicle, May 29, 1833, page 3. genealogybank.com. Click image to open image in new window.
On May 22, 1833, ninety fresh U.S. Army recruits marched from the army’s personnel depot at Ft. Niagara to “Tonawanta,” presumably the New York village of Tonawanda, located where Tonawanda Creek, the final stretch of the westbound Erie Canal, meets the Niagara River:
Last time, we illustrated our look at Ft. Howard with this detail from the first widely-available map of Wisconsin—and the first map of the territory based on official surveys—published in 1837:
Detail, Topographical map of Wisconsin Territory / compiled from the Public Surveys on file in the Surveyor General’s office … by Samuel Morrison, Elisha Dwelle [and] Joshua Hathaway, 1837. American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Click the detail map to open a larger version in a new window. Click here for a link to the complete map at UW-M with full bibliographic information.
This detail—showing Fort Howard, Navarino and, at the top, the southern end of Green Bay—was the subject of a Monday: Map Day! post in December, 2020, and gives a good picture of the topography and settled areas along the final miles of the Fox River as it empties into Green Bay. But on closer look, the details of the fort and its layout are very vague, limited to one X-shaped symbol. For a better understanding of Fort Howard in its most active era, we need to look at the actual 1823/1827 federal survey upon which the 1837 map was based:
Private Claims at Green Bay, 1823/1827
Detail, [Title section] of map, Private Claims at Green Bay, surveyed in July, Aug.t & Sept.r 1823; see image of complete map for full citation. Click to open larger image in new window.
Our series of “How’d they get here?” posts is written to illustrate the nuts and bolts of how our early Mequon pioneers travelled from their original homes or ports of arrival in North America to the newly opened federal lands in Wisconsin Territory, circa 1830-1850. Today’s post continues our previous post, a first-person description of 1830s frontier tourism that we called How’d they get here? Detroit to Ft. Howard, 1834 (part 1).
Picking up where we left off…
Wednesday, July 16, arrival at Green Bay
On Wednesday, as the Sun was slowly sinking to its repose in cloud of the most gorgeous and variegated colors, we arrived at the extremity of Green Bay, and about two miles up the Fox river, we landed at Navarino,2 receiving as we passed a salute from Fort Howard, on the opposite side of the river.
Detail, Topographical map of Wisconsin Territory / compiled from the Public Surveys on file in the Surveyor General’s office … by Samuel Morrison, Elisha Dwelle [and] Joshua Hathaway, 1837. American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Click the detail map to open a larger version in a new window. Click here for a link to the complete map at UW-M and its bibliographic information.
This map detail—showing Fort Howard, Navarino and, at the top, the southern end of Green Bay— is from the Topographical map of Wisconsin Territory, published in 1837 and the subject of a Monday: Map Day! post in December, 2020. As a reminder, this 1837 map shows all the lands officially surveyed by the federal government up to the time of publication. In 1837, the territory to the north and west of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers was still reserved for Wisconsin’s Native Americans, so the lands to the north and west of the Fox River are left (mostly) blank on this official map. But this land was not at all “empty.” The Indians, the forests, the wildlife, some of the old Métis and Anglo-American settlers—and the army—were all on the left bank of the Fox River in 1837, as they were in 1834, when the steamboat Michigan and its passengers arrived in Green Bay.
Our series of “How’d they get here?” posts is written to illustrate the nuts and bolts of how our early Mequon pioneers travelled from their original homes or ports of arrival in North America to the newly opened federal lands in Wisconsin Territory, circa 1830-1850. Today’s post looks at another trip to Ft. Howard on the steamboat Michigan, this time in the summer of 1834.
In Monday’s How’d they get here? – JMC to Ft.Howard, 1833, we looked at the likely probability that from October 16 – 30, 1833, Pvt. Jonathan M. Clark left the U.S. Army’s recruiting depot at Ft. Niagara, New York, and traveled the Great Lakes from Buffalo, New York, to his new post at Fort Howard, Green Bay, Michigan (later Wisconsin) Territory. To make that late-season journey the army chartered the new and lavishly appointed steamboat Michigan.
Great Lakes Tourism – Summer, 1834
Less than a year after that October, 1833, voyage the owners of the Michigan announced two special excursions to the “Far West” for the summer of 1834. The first of these was scheduled to leave Buffalo on Thursday, July 10, headed to “the Sault St. Marie (foot of Lake Superior), Michigan and Green Bay, touching at the ports on Lake Erie and at Detroit,” and would “embrace a distance of nearly 2000 miles, during which, passengers will have an opportunity of viewing the splendid scenery of Lakes Erie, St. Clair, Huron, Superior and Michigan, and the rivers, straits and bays connected with them.”
“Steamboat excursion to the Far West,” advertisement, Albany Argus, June 6, 1834, page 3, via genealogybank.com. Click to open larger image in new window.
The second trip would depart Buffalo on August 12th, and would take in all the sights of the July trip, and additional notable points along the south and east coasts of Lake Michigan, including Chicago, Michigan City, “St. Josephs,” and the mouth of Michigan’s Grand River. What could an 1834 tourist to the “Far West” expect on such an excursion? We have a first-hand report from the July trip, which includes an eventful stop at Jonathan M. Clark’s post at Ft. Howard.
Our series of “How’d they get here?” posts is written to illustrate the nuts and bolts of how our early Mequon pioneers travelled from their original homes or ports of arrival in North America to the newly opened federal lands in Wisconsin Territory, circa 1830-1850. Today’s post looks at how Jonathan M. Clark may have made the trip west to Wisconsin in October, 1833. And, in the process, we correct an important, but incorrect, date in the JMC timeline.
Jonathan M. Clark heads west…
Back in June, 2016, I outlined what we knew about Jonathan Clark’s 1833 enlistment in the army and subsequent journey to Green Bay:
After enlisting in the Army in Utica, New York, on September 19 and confirming his enlistment on September 28, 1833, Jonathan was sent to one of the Army’s “general depots.” I’ve not yet established which one he went to; the most likely places were the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, or Kentucky’s Newport Barracks, on the south side of the Ohio River, across from Cincinnati. It’s possible that Jonathan may have reported to another “depot,” perhaps Ft. Niagara, New York, which was the home base of JMC’s recruiter, Capt. Clitz.
In any case, less than a month later Jonathan arrived at Fort Howard, Michigan [later Wisconsin] Territory. Fort Howard was the headquarters of the army’s Fifth Regiment, with easy water access via Lake Michigan to Ft. Dearborn, Chicago and, via the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to Forts Winnebago and Crawford.
Now that we know more about early transportation routes from New York to Wisconsin it seems unlikely that JMC reported to either the Jefferson Barracks or the Newport Barracks before arriving at Fort Howard. Yes, it would have been relatively easy to travel from Utica, New York, to either the Jefferson or Newport barracks via the Erie Canal to Lake Erie, and then the Ohio canals and Ohio river. But Fort Howard was one of the army’s northernmost posts. If JMC had been shipped to one of the main personnel depots in Kentucky or Missouri, the northward trip from either place to Green Bay and Ft. Howard would have been needlessly long and difficult.
I now suspect that Jonathan Clark mustered in to service at Fort Niagara, New York.2
Map detail, showing western New York state, including Ft. Niagara, the Erie Canal, and Buffalo, from Poussin, Guillaume-Tell, Travaux d’ameliorations interieures projetes ou executes par le Gouvernement General des Etats-Unis d’Amerique, de 1824 a 1831 … Atlas. Paris, Anselin, Libraire, pour l’art militaire, les sciences et les arts, […],1834. Imprimerie de Lachevardiere, rue du Colombier, No. 30. Credit, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, non-commercial use permitted under Creative Commons license. Click image to open larger image in new window.1
Big News! I’ve found a photograph of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark’s eighth and final child, Jennie Marietta Clark, at the age of about 25 years old. This is one of only a handful of photos we have of any members of Jonathan and Mary Clark’s family and (to the best of my knowledge) the first image we have of Jennie:
Jennie Clark Morrison (“Mrs. F. S. Morrison”), detail from “Class of 1882, University of Michigan School of Dentistry; UM_DDS_1882.” Public domain, courtesy of University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed: September 15, 2021. Click to open larger image in new window.
Dental College, Class of 1882
Our portrait of Jennie is a detail taken from this composite portrait of the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry, Class of 1882:
UPDATED, September 17, 2021, to add a few details about the Morrison children, Jennie’s dental practice in the 1880s and ’90s, and the date of her divorce from second husband A. G. Widger.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I won’t be blogging much this week. (Let’s just say that the cause of my hiatus has inspired today’s post, featuring a brief introduction to the life of the Clarks’ youngest child, Dr. Jennie M. Clark, D.D.S.)
Unknown photographer, [Dentist], daguerreotype with applied color, circa 1855. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment. CC0. si.edu. Click to open larger image in a new window.
Clark House dentists
I’m not sure who Mequon’s first dentist was, or when he set up shop. It’s entirely likely that the Jonathan Clark family did not visit a dentist until they moved to Milwaukee (and they still may not have seen a dentist once there). But Mequon’s Jonathan Clark House plays an important part in the lives of two Mequon/Milwaukee area dentists.
Fitz Henry Lane, painter (American, 1804-1865), Becalmed off Halfway Rock, 1860, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. Public Domain. Click to open larger image in new window.
Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.
Labor Day is often celebrated with parades and festive “end of summer” get-togethers in parks or at the beach. This year, with the continuing rise in Covid-19 cases, I think I’ll avoid the large gatherings. But a peaceful picnic with the family might be just the thing:
Tracey, John M. [Untitled—Picnic Scene], circa 1870. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mary Glancy Bragg, CC0. Click to open larger image in new window.