A familiar sight: St. Peter’s Church, 1839

I had a fine day last month walking through our state’s wonderful outdoor living history museum, Old World Wisconsin, where I enjoyed this familiar view:

Photo credit: Reed Perkins, 2022.

There among the trees stood Milwaukee’s old St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, a building that was certainly well-known—at least on the exterior—to our Clark and Turck families.

The church was built in 1839, two years after young Mary Turck arrived in Wisconsin Territory with her parents, Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck and her six siblings, and the same year that Jonathan M. Clark and the Bonniwell family first appeared in the Milwaukee-Mequon area.

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Back to School, 1831: JMC in Stanstead?

In an earlier post I wrote: I’m still on the hunt for the elusive parents and kin of Jonathan M. Clark. Based on what we know so far, we are looking in the area of Derby, Orleans County, Vermont and its northern neighbor Stanstead Township, Lower Canada, circa 1800-1830 or so.

Well, the hunt continues, and today I thought I’d share with you another Back to School tidbit, a “hot tip” that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. The tip—and its source—comes from Clark-Turck family descendant and Clark House Museum supporter Liz Hickman1, who kindly gave me a copy of this fascinating book:

Kathleen H. Brown’s comprehensively researched and encyclopedic Schooling in the Clearings: Stanstead 1800-1850 is devoted to the early history of public and private education in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and, in particular, Stanstead Township. That might seem like a highly specialized corner of North American history on which to focus, and I suppose it is. But Ms. Brown’s heroic labors in the archives are now a readable and invaluable resource for those of us trying to learn more about the early settlers in the Eastern Townships and their children including, possibly, the earliest record of Jonathan M. Clark known to date.2

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Back to School, 1842!

I hope you liked our recent re-post of Back to School, 1839! And since I’m still working on a number of new but not-yet-ready projects, I thought you might also enjoy a revised and expanded version of a related post that was first published September 2, 2020.

It’s “Back to School” time for many of us, so I thought you might be interested in this transcription of the earliest known school records of old Washington/Ozaukee county prior to 1845, published on page 328 of the History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin […] Illustrated. Western Historical Co., Chicago, 1881:

Click to open a larger image in a new window, and see which of the early settler families had school age children, that is, children between the ages of 4 and 16, in 1842 and 1843. (Current Washington and Ozaukee county readers: do you have any kin listed in this summary of early school censuses? Let us hear from you via the Leave a Reply box, below.)

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Back to School, 1839!

It’s that time of year again! And since I’m still working on a number of new but not-yet-ready projects, I thought you might enjoy this lightly-revised “Back to School” post from September 9, 2020.

Currier & Ives. God Bless Our School. United States, ca. 1874. New York: Published by Currier & Ives, 125 Nassau St. Library of Congress. This image first appeared on Clark House Historian as part of our 2021 post Caroline M. Clark’s classroom & curricula, 1858-1860

Daniel Strickland hires “the first teacher

There are a number of conflicting claims to the title of “first teacher” in Mequon. One of the first was Mary Turck Clark. She led classes for her siblings and four neighbor children in the loft of her father’s cabin in the summer of 1839.

The History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, relates a number of other “firsts” for area schools and teachers. Among them is this story of how the school committee,1 led by Daniel Strickland (father of Sarah A. Strickland Clark), hired its first teacher.

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Alfred Bonniwell documents – part 7: landowner, 1845

When the extended Bonniwell family arrived in Wisconsin Territory in May, 1839, youngest son Alfred T. Bonniwell was not quite two months past his 13th birthday, and his brother Walter was only two years older. Because of their youth, neither Alfred nor Walter were able join their mother and brothers as they purchased government land and established what became known as Mequon’s Bonniwell Settlement.1

That changed for Alfred on June 7, 1845, when his mother, Eleanor (Hills Bonniwell) Hyde, gave him the eastern 80 acres of her original federal land patent.

Hyde, Eleanor (grantor) to A. T. Bonniwell (grantee), deed for 80 acres, June 7, 1845. See note 2 for source and details. Click to open larger image in new window.

Alfred would buy and sell several other properties in the 1850s and ’60s, but he held on to this parcel until his death, fifty years later. Let’s see what he got…

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Caroline Clark – public school teacher

Leaving High School – August, 1860

As we discussed earlier, Caroline M. Clark (1840-1924), the oldest child of Mary (Turck) Clark and the late Jonathan M. Clark, studied for two years at Milwaukee’s first public high school, led by the noted educationist John G. McKindley. McKindley’s second academic “exhibition” of his Seventh Ward High School students took place at Albany Hall, Milwaukee, on August 9, 1861. It was McKindley’s final appearance as Principal of the Seventh Ward High School. I expect that 19-year-old Caroline M. Clark was there also, as the event marked the end of her years as a student in the Mequon and Milwaukee public schools.

After high school: teaching in Milwaukee?

Caroline’s 1893 biographical sketch included this statement:

After two years of study in the Milwaukee high school under John G. McKi[n]dley, famed as a teacher and organizer of educational work, she taught in the public schools of [Milwaukee].

Once she finished her high school studies, Caroline would have been qualified to teach Primary, Intermediate, or—perhaps—Grammar school classes in Milwaukee’s public schools. And she did.

Caroline got a job!

Annual Report of the Board of School Commissioners of the City of Milwaukee, to his honor the mayor and the common council of Milwaukee, for the year ending September 1, 1861, Milwaukee, 1861, p 15-16, via GoogleBooks.

“Miss Caroline M. Clark” was hired as an Assistant teacher in the Grammar Department of the city’s Ninth Ward school, for 8 of the 12 months of the academic year beginning September 1, 1860. For those eight months, she was paid a total of $250. (Why did she only work for eight months? More on that, below.)

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Caroline M. Clark’s classroom & curricula, 1858-1860

Before laptops and iPads…

Currier & Ives. God Bless Our School. United States, ca. 1874. New York: Published by Currier & Ives, 125 Nassau St. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window.

This colorful lithograph was published in 1874, but the books, maps, globe, slates for writing on, inkwell and dip pen, and other classroom supplies are very consistent with the materials that Caroline Clark would have encountered in her Seventh Ward High School classroom between 1858 and 1860. Her Clark siblings would have used similar materials during their time as students in the Milwaukee public schools during the 1860s and ’70s.

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Caroline Clark – from student to teacher

We’re looking into the life of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark’s first child, Caroline Clark. If you need to catch up, you might start with some pivotal dates and events in the lives of Caroline and her Clark family in:

Then check out these previous posts in our current Caroline (Clark) Woodward series:

The biographical materials we looked at in those posts were a good introduction to Caroline’s life (through 1893), but lacked some key information about her youth, and especially her transition from a scholastic “prodigy” in rural Mequon to—supposedly—a teacher in Milwaukee’s public schools. And in order to examine her time as a Milwaukee public school student and teacher, we had to take a deep dive into the life and work of her esteemed high school principal, Caroline Clark’s mentor, John G. McKindley.

Walling, Henry Francis. Map of the county of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. New York: M.H. Tyler, 1858, Library of Congress, (inset showing Cross’ Block).

View of Cross’ Block circa 1858, home of the Milwaukee School Board until destroyed by fire on December 30, 1860.1, 2

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Caroline Clark’s mentor, John G. McKindley

In today’s post, we continue our examination of the life and work of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark’s oldest child, Caroline Mary (Clark) Woodward (1840-1924). In our earlier post, Caroline M. (Clark) Woodward: a closer look at that 1893 biography, we came across this passage:

Caroline was the oldest daughter. She attended the district school in a log house till seventeen years of age. To that was added one year of study in German in a private school. At the age of eight years she was considered quite a prodigy in her studies. At the age of seventeen she began to teach. After two years of study in the Milwaukee high school under John G. McKidley [sic, McKindley], famed as a teacher and organizer of educational work, she taught in the public schools of that city.

Photo of Caroline M. (Clark) Woodward courtesy of Frances Willard House Museum & WCTU Archives, Evanston, Illinois. Text: Willard, Frances E., and Mary A. Livermore, editors. A woman of the century ; fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches […], Buffalo, 1873, page 779.

Think back…

Imagine this: You are now more than 50-years-old. You have achieved statewide and national prominence as an organizer for the largest women’s social and political organization of the 19th-century. You and your spouse manage a family farm, continue to raise your several adopted and foster children, and you have a successful business of your own, selling insurance. And when you are asked to provide the details of your life for inclusion in a major biographical dictionary of leading American women, you make sure to include, by name…one of your high school teachers?

That’s exactly what Caroline (Clark) Woodward did in 1893, when she highlighted her two years of study with John G. McKindley at the Milwaukee public high school. And that prompts a few questions: who was J. G. McKindley? why is he cited in Caroline’s 1893 biography? when would he have worked with Caroline? was he really “famed as a teacher and organizer of educational work”? and how big a deal was “high school” in Wisconsin in the 1850s and ’60s, anyway?

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Caroline M. (Clark) Woodward: a closer look at that 1893 biography

Today, as we continue to explore the life of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark’s eldest child, Caroline Mary Clark—later usually known as Mrs. C. M. Woodward—we’ll take a fact-by-fact look at the biographical sketch of Caroline that was published in 1893, re-printed unchanged in 1897, then abridged and reprinted in 1912. For a full discussion of these three publications, see last Monday’s Caroline M. (Clark) Woodward: first steps toward a biography.

Willard, Frances E., and Mary A. Livermore. 1893. A woman of the century ; fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life ; ed. by Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore, assisted by a corps of able contributors, title page and page 779.

Today’s post will be less of a fully-formed essay, and more of a running analysis, commentary, and proof-reading of this 1893 biographical sketch. We’ll take one portion at at time, starting at the beginning. The source text will be presented as a shaded quotation, followed by my commentary and corrections in simple black text on white background, with highlighted links to additional sources and explanations and, of course, a few footnotes, too. Here we go…

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