Rothstein, Arthur, photographer. Detour sign, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1940, Library of Congress (public domain).
I know, I know. Clark House Historian blog posts have been sparse lately.
It’s not for lack of material. I have a big backlog of Clark House history, with many interesting maps, images and documents to write about and share with you. But my history research—and writing—have taken a bit of a detour over the last few weeks…
Hello, readers! Sorry for the long blog silence. I hope you are well.
It’s been a busy summer at my house, filled with the usual demands of job, summer garden chores, lots of behind-the-scenes history research and, alas, an unexpectedly large number of mundane but unavoidable tasks, most of which are now behind me.
I have a backlog of half-written posts to finish and share with you. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this photo.
Cedar Creek, looking north from the Columbia Road bridge, Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Photo credit: Reed Perkins, July, 2022.
The view looks north along Cedar Creek from near the historic Cedarburg Mill, about two miles north of the Jonathan Clark House. Turn off the electric lights, and this is a view that the Clark family would have known well.
It’s a New Year (yikes!—we’re already three weeks into the New Year!), and I thought I’d take a break from researching and note-taking for quick look back at our 2021 year of blogging at Clark House Historian. The blog is about to celebrate its seventh anniversary (on March 29), and 2021 was our most productive year so far, sharing more posts, documents, and historic maps and images with our readers than ever before.
The author, hard at work. For full photo credits, see below. Click to open larger image in new window.
Time flies. After over a year of regular, thrice-weekly blog entries, it’s been a month since I’ve posted anything new here. So let’s catch up a bit…
Bad driving: not just a modern invention
If you recall, our previous post began with “I’m still preoccupied with non-Clark House matters, and new posts continue to be delayed.” The reason for the delay? Two words: bad driving.
Unidentified artist, A Crack Team at a Smashing Gait, hand-colored lithograph, 1869, Smithsonian American Art Museum, transfer from the National Museum of American History, Division of Graphic Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Public domain, CC0 license. Click to open larger image in a new window.
Lupton, Thomas Goff, Artist, and George Henry Harlow. Portrait of a young man pondering what to write with quill in hand and paper set before him, painted by G.H. Harlow ; engraved by Thomas Luhton i.e. Lupton, circa 1820–1870. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window.
One of the really neat aspects of researching and writing about Clark House history on this site is the feedback I receive from blog readers. I love hearing from you, whether you have a comment or a question about the topic at hand, or perhaps there is something else that you want to know more about.
[Occupational Portrait of a Salesman], Three-Quarter Length, Seated, Displaying His Wares. Daguerreotype, between 1850 and 1860, cropped and lightly color-adjusted. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window.
History is never “done.” No one can know it all. There are always new sources with fresh information, and new ways to look at well-known material. A question or a new bit of information from a reader will often prompt additional research or a correction to previous statements. The result is that this blog—and our knowledge of the Clark family, their neighbors, and their era—is constantly evolving.
Chambers, Thomas. Storm-Tossed Frigate, oil on canvas, mid 19th century (c. 1836-1845). National Gallery of Art, gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. Public domain. Click to open larger image in new window.
Well, I haven’t actually gone fishing, but I am taking another short break, and I thought I’d illustrate this with a historic drawing or lithograph of some Clark-era folks fishing. A little play on words. Just for fun and all.
The best I could do today—alas—was this 1848 political cartoon:
N. Currier. The Presidential fishing party of. United States, 1848. [New York: Pub. by Peter Smith i.e., Nathaniel Currier, 2 Spruce St., N.Y]. Library of Congress. Click to open larger image in new window; this is the only way to view the text clearly, by the way.
Like all political cartoons of the era it is heavy-handed, visually busy, and full of long-winded text, explaining some now-obscure but highly-contentious issue of the day in the most tedious manner possible. (This is why I usually avoid using 19th-century political cartoons to enliven the discussion here at Clark House Historian.)
What’s it all about?
Anyway, 1848 was an important year for the nation, and for our Mequon settlers. The war with Mexico ended, Wisconsin attained statehood and—closer to home—the Jonathan M. Clark house was built. This cartoon, verbose as it may be, actually covers some key issues of the 1848 U.S. presidential race. Here’s a helpful explanation from the staff at the Library of Congress (I’ve added a few paragraph breaks for easier reading):