Computers and such…

It’s been a hectic few days here at Clark House Historian. Some of our essential technology was getting to the end of its useful life, so we’ve spent the last few days upgrading and updating some critical—but now outdated—hardware and software.

The Bonus division where the many clerks figure the amount of the bonus each veteran is entitled to / [Between 1909 and 1932] Photograph. Library of Congress.

Which reminds me, that not too long ago the word computer was a job description, and not a device.

But that’s not all

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Holiday Fun in NYC, 1864

It’s the week after Christmas. Perhaps you have family or friends visiting from out of town. If you have children, they’re home from school. How to keep them entertained? If you lived near New York City in 1864, you were in luck. Barnum’s American Museum was ready with spectacular and unique holiday exhibits for the whole family, all for the low, low, price of 25 cents for adults, 15 cents for children under age ten!

Barnum’s American Museum. Christmas and New Year holiday bill, 1864. [New York: Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, Book and Job Printers, 113 Fulton St. N.Y], Library of Congress. Click to see larger, easier to read, image.

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Another family portrait! Caroline (Clark) Woodward, c. 1890s

UPDATED – October 9, 2021, with clarification that “NWCTU” means, indeed, the National (and not Nebraska) WCTU.
UPDATED – October 8, 2021, to correct typos in the date range of the photo. Correct (maximum) date range is 1889 to 1900. Also removed a few randomly duplicated words in the first paragraph.

More Big News! It was only a few weeks ago that we presented a previously unknown photo of the youngest child of Jonathan M. and Mary (Turck) Clark, Dr. Jennie Clark Morrison. Today we have another great find, a professional photo portrait of the Clark’s eldest child, Caroline Mary (Clark) Woodward (1840-1924):

Townsend Elite Studio, [Portrait, Caroline M. (Clark) Woodward], inscribed “Mrs. C. M. Woodward, Supt. Work among Railroad Employes, N.W.C.T.U.”, photograph, circa 1889-1900. Photo courtesy Frances Willard House Museum & WCTU Archives, Evanston, Illinois. Click to open larger image in new window.

Clark family descendant Liz Hickman and I have been gathering information about Caroline for many years. Spurred on by this new photo of Caroline in her prime, I think it’s finally time to assemble the sources, line up the facts, and begin to share more of what we know about Caroline’s remarkable life as a teacher, wife, mother, and social activist. There is a lot of material to work with, so today let’s stay focused and just take a closer look at this new-to-us photograph.

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A family photograph! Jennie Clark Morrison, 1882

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:

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Labor Day

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.

U.S. Dept. of Labor

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.

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Marking out the roads

Infrastructure Week Fortnight Month continues…

It’s been a busy few weeks here at the Historian’s (actual) house, and I’m (very) slowly transcribing handwritten documents and making maps to illustrate the work of Jonathan M. Clark and his fellow road supervisors as they mapped and built old Washington County’s first roads in early 1841. While you’re waiting for those posts, check out our previous installments in this series — County Government – Early Records and Monday: Map Day! — for some interesting background, maps, and first-hand records.

Jonathan Clark – surveyor?

What did Jonathan Clark know about surveying and road building? Probably quite a bit. Like most farmers—then and now—Jonathan would not have been successful without a good understanding of maps, distances, land boundaries and how to best use and navigate the fields, forests and wetlands of his property.

If you recall our earlier posts detailing JMC’s military service (starting with Fort Howard, October 1833 (part 1) and including Ouisconsin Territory, 1836), you’ll remember that his unit, the U.S. Army’s 5th infantry regiment, was responsible for laying out and cutting the new military road that would ultimately connect Ft. Howard in Green Bay, Ft. Winnebago near Portage, and Ft. Crawford at Prairie du Chien. Jonathan’s Co. K was involved in this work for the better part of his final two years of service (1835-1836). This assignment would give him hands-on experience in surveying, map-making, grubbing out roads and building serviceable bridges with the materials at hand. By the time he arrived in Mequon, in late 1839, it’s possible that Jonathan Clark was the most experienced road builder (and one of the better surveyors) in early Washington/Ozaukee county.

A surveyor and his tools…

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It’s our Blog Birthday!

Clark House Historian is 5 years old today!!

Jonathan Clark House, Mequon, Wisconsin, July, 2015. Photograph by Reed Perkins. Click to open larger image in new window.

Our very first post, announcing the new blog, went live on March 29, 2016. The information in that post has now been revised and expanded into the About and Disclaimers sections of the blog.

The first posts with historical content followed in April, 2016. I still link to one of those posts—Where are we?—when I need to explain the evolving place names and political geography of the Mequon area.

Since the first Clark House Historian posts in 2016 we have learned a lot more about the Clark house, its occupants and their families, friends and neighbors. If you’re new to the blog—or the Jonathan M. Clark House—here are some good places to begin reading (and be sure to click the links in each article):

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Erie Canal – Macedon, New York

As a follow up to our look at the Erie Canal and our Turck and Clark families, I’ve been researching and writing about some other early Mequon settlers and their migrations to Mequon from Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New England and New York. It’s taking longer than I expected.

Until those posts are ready, here’s a photo of one of the historic Erie Canal locks, near Macedon, Wayne County, New York. Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck lived nearby from sometime around 1828 until they went west to Buffalo, New York to begin their steamship journey to Milwaukee in July or August, 1837. A large number of other early Mequon immigrants, including the Bonniwell and Woodworth families, also would have passed through this lock (or its predecessor) on their way their new homes in Wisconsin.

Historic Erie Canal Lock No. 60, near Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, looking to the west. Photo by Reed Perkins, 2011. Click to open larger image in new window.

This is the expanded, second version of this lock. When it was built in 1821, as part of the original canal, it was Lock 71. As a nearby marker explains:

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“…hear them discourse most excellent music”

The Beethoven Society, part 1

In our previous post, I teased a first look at the Town of Milwaukee’s first concert organization, the Milwaukie (sic) Beethoven Society. The first mention of the society that I can locate is this announcement in the February 8, 1843, edition of the local newspaper:

Milwaukee Weekly Sentinel February 8, 1843, page 2. Click to open larger image in new window.

This was an ambitious undertaking in a collection of villages that would not unite and become the city of Milwaukee until another three years had passed. In fact, when the Wisconsin territorial census was enumerated in 1842, the combined population of the “Town of Milwaukee”—comprising the West Ward, East Ward, Walker’s Point and adjacent lands—came to a mere 2,730 men, women and children. How was such a musical society—and concert—possible only one year later?

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