Alexander Clark


Jean Varnum has a hand-copied obituary [Tom Varnum is going to send me a copy] which adds these details to what is shown above: ran a dry goods store in Orrville, OH (which is near Wooster in Wayne County), then a grocery store, and still later an eating house at the Penn.RR Depot. He was also a livestock dealer and one of the first to ship livestock via the RR to Pittsburgh. Had first arrived in Orrville in 1849, but did not settle as news of the Gold Rush lured him to California [my guess is that his young family remained in Dalton] where he pushed a wheelbarrow between 1850 and 1852 [no indication of whether this advanced his fortune or not]. As might be guessed from the RR connection, he was one of those 19th-century Americans whose personal progress and development closely paralleled that of his community. He was also a prolific reader and well-versed in civic affairs. Living to age 83, he was the town's oldest resident at the time of his death, was respected and venerated, and still apparently quite sharp. He had continued to stay current on town business, and was reading a book when he had a stroke which paralyzed his left side but left him lucid until death. I don't believe the obituary named his parents, which is unfortunate because that's one more angle on this American Success Story: Alexander Clark's parents (or at least his father) migrated from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland (according to Charles T. Clark's Bar Association eulogy) to Carlisle, PA (actually not that far from where the McGrew family was doing its multiplying), where Alexander was born. It's not clear whether they were Scotch-Irish, but coming from that part of Ireland (not to mention producing a son with a westward wanderlust) it's a distinct possibility.

Notes from Joe:  Alexander Clark - does his obituary or his tombstone have his actual
birth date? [I still haven't received my own copy, but my vague memory is that the birth date was derived from his age at time of death, which of course would make it approximate.]  His marriage date is correct, but unless there were two Alexander Clarks born in Carlisle in 1820, his parents were Preston and Ann Clark. I think Preston either died or deserted, but an Ann Clark continued in Carlisle - the only Clark who was a Methodist in that era.

Also - where was Alexander between 1820 and 1849?

See notes on Clarissa Goff(e) for a 1911 letter from Charles Clark that adds a couple of interesting items on his father.  It does not, alas, give the names of Alexander's parents, but says with some certainty that they migrated to the U.S. from County Tyrone in 1800, and "all but three of their fourteen children were born at Carlisle or Chambersburg Pa."  Presumably the three oldest were born in Ireland.  With less certainty, Charles gives "about 1825" as the birth date and Chambersburg as the place, and we can just weigh those possibilities against the information above.