Home to Thanksgiving

I’m still preoccupied with non-Clark House matters, and new posts continue to be delayed. But in the spirit of our upcoming national holiday, I thought I’d help your preparations by sharing a few vintage recipes and a nice Currier & Ives lithograph from the period.1

Thanksgiving, 1867

Durrie, George H. and John Schutler, Home to Thanksgiving, ca. 1867, New York, Currier & Ives. National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Public Domain. Click to to open larger image in a new window.

By 1867, when this sentimental lithograph was first published, the Clark family had been living in Milwaukee for about six years. Family patriarch Jonathan M. Clark had died a decade earlier, and his only son, Henry M. Clark, had been dead for about a year and a half. Family matriarch Mary (Turck) Clark was living in a Milwaukee house with her unmarried daughters, Libbie, Persie, Theresa, Laura and Josie.

The Clark’s eldest child, Caroline, had married William W. Woodward in 1861. In 1867 the Woodwards were still living and farming in Granville, Milwaukee County, about nine miles south of the old Clark farm in Mequon.

So in 1867, Mary (Turck) Clark and her daughters would not have celebrated Thanksgiving at the old family farm in Mequon. But a picture like this Currier & Ives lithograph might have stirred fond memories of family and friends gathering for earlier Thanksgiving celebrations at the old Clark place.

And, you might wonder, what did the Clarks and their neighbors eat for Thanksgiving in Wisconsin in the mid-1800s? Glad you asked…

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Veterans Day, 2021

Veterans Day is today. I’m preparing a new post on one of our Clark House veterans, Mary (Turck) Clark’s youngest sibling, Benjamin Turck (1839-1926), but it’s not quite ready yet. For a wider perspective on the day—and our early Mequon veterans—here’s a post originally published at Clark House Historian on November 11, 2016, and revised, expanded and republished on November 11, 2020. I’ve also incorporated a list of Mequon’s Civil War soldiers, originally published here on May 24, 2020.

Armistice Day

One hundred and three 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 World War I, the optimistically named “War to End All Wars.”

In the United States, the commemoration of the war dead and the Allied victory began in 1919 as Armistice Day, 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.

Jonathan Clark, Henry Clark, and the U.S. Army

Jonathan M. Clark (1812-1857) enlisted as a Private in Company K, Fifth Regiment of the U. S. Army, and served at Ft. Howard, Michigan (later Wisconsin) Territory, from 1833 until mustering out, as Sargent Jonathan M. Clark, in 1836. In the 1830s, Fort Howard was on the nation’s northwestern frontier. JMC’s Co. K spent much of the summers of 1835 and 1836 cutting the military road across Wisconsin, from Ft. Howard toward Ft. Winnebago, near modern Portage, Wisconsin.

Fort Howard, Wisconsin Territory, circa 1855, from Marryat, Frederick, and State Historical Society Of Wisconsin. “An English officer’s description of Wisconsin in 1837.” Madison: Democrat Printing Company, State Printers, 1898. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window.

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Caroline gets married – but where?

May, 1861

In a recent post, Caroline Clark – public school teacher, we examined Caroline Clark’s brief tenure as a teacher in the grammar department of Milwaukee’s Ninth Ward School, and concluded:

Caroline Clark’s employment as a Grammar Department teacher began on September 1, 1860. According to the 1861 Report, she taught for eight months. That would mean she left her teaching position around the beginning of May, 1861. Why? One factor might have been her salary […] But the more likely reason for her departure from the Ninth Ward School was that on May 15, 1861, she married Milwaukee county farmer William Wallace Woodward. For much (all?) of the nineteenth century, it was customary for female school teachers to be single; once they married, they were expected to leave the profession and set up housekeeping with their new husband and, eventually, start a family of their own. I think it’s safe to assume that this is what happened to “Miss Caroline M. Clark” in May, 1861.

Finding Caroline’s marriage record

Long before I found Caroline’s 1893 biographical sketch, or her profile and interview in the Omaha Daily Bee (March 30, 1916, page 11), or read her several long obituaries, I was able to determine when—and whom—she married. How? By using the Wisconsin Historical Society’s invaluable—but not infallible—Pre-1907 Vital Records Database (Birth, Marriage, Death). Yes, the interface is a bit clunky, but if you search for “Clark, Caroline,” one of the results you’ll find is:

Seems plausible, right? But how do we know it’s “our” Caroline? And how do we match her with a spouse?

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