Jonathan & Mary & ? on the 1840 Census
Introducing a new feature on the blog: History Mystery! In which you, the reader, are invited to Help the Historian solve one of the many persistent mysteries surrounding Jonathan M. Clark, his family, and related bits of local history. History Mystery! No. 1 seeks to answer the question: Who was that older guy living with newlyweds Jonathan and Mary Clark in June, 1840? Here are the clues: Continue reading
The previous post on the first election in old Washington County relied heavily on the 1881 History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties. It’s a useful book, and it’s possible that the author(s) or editor(s) that prepared it for publication spent some time with the historical documents that still existed at that time, or at least talked to some of the older settlers who had personal memories of the events. Still, I like to have primary or more contemporary secondary sources whenever available, so I went looking and found a few. In the process, I’ve cleared up some dates and details surrounding the first election and the early organization of the county. Continue reading
Really early returns, from Mequon’s first election in 1840.
In an earlier post, I outlined some of the key moments in the settlement and changing political boundaries of early Washington/Ozaukee county. Originally attached to Milwaukee County for all civil and judicial matters, old Washington County got it’s civil independence by act of the Territorial Legislature on February 19, 1840. And sometime later that year the first election to chose county officers was held at the Mequon home of Taylor Heavilon. Continue reading
This document is probably the earliest record we have of Jonathan M. Clark in old Washington County, Wisconsin. It is the handwritten marriage license that Jonathan obtained in early 1840. Transcribed, it reads:
To whom it may concern Marriage Being intended Between Jonathan M Clark and Mary Turck and application being made to me for a Marriage license by the above named Clark I therefore being satisfied by the oath of the party applying of the legality of
said the aforesaid marriage union do hereby license and authorise the same
Granvlle March 13 1840
Andrew Smith Justice peace
Jonathan Clark House, Mequon, Wisconsin, July, 2015. Photograph by Reed Perkins
Where are we? Well, if you’re looking at this handsome stone house in real life, you’re standing by the front door of the Jonathan Clark House Museum, looking northward. On a modern map you can find it at 13615 N. Cedarburg Road—on the intersection with Bonniwell Road—Mequon, Wisconsin. If you’d like to visit the museum, click here for more info.
But “Where are we?” is never a simple question when it comes to historic places, because the answer often changes over time. Along with “Where are we?” we need to ask “When are we?” The answer to “Where are we?” is surprisingly varied—and useful for further research—throughout the lives of Jonathan and Mary Clark.
Jonathan M. Clark. Photograph courtesy Liz Hickman.
There he is. Jonathan M. Clark, builder and first owner of the handsome stone home that is now the Jonathan Clark House Museum in Mequon, Wisconsin. He was probably born in Vermont, possibly on November 28, 1812, and he died in September, 1857. Before coming to Mequon, he served in the United States Army at Fort Howard from 1833 to 1836. He married Mary Turck, eldest child of Mequon pioneer Peter Turck, on March 15, 1840. They had a large family. We even have a photograph of JMC as an adult. In some ways, we know quite a bit about Jonathan M. Clark.
Mary Turck Clark. Photograph courtesy Liz Hickman.
It is a commonplace of genealogical and historical research that women and their stories are the “forgotten fifty percent.” In most North American societies it was, and in many places remains, the custom that upon marriage the woman took her husband’s surname. Some documents that recorded marriages, births and deaths might include a place for the woman’s surname, and sometimes the names of her parents, but this information was often left blank. After a generation or two, the woman’s name and those of her parents and grandparents would be completely forgotten, even by her closest descendants.