Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    More than a century ago Washington said: "Agriculture is the most useful as well as the most honorable calling to which man can devote his energies;" and this is as true today as when uttered. No one line of business has contributed so largely to the general prosperity of the world as farming; and it is a fact that the majority of men who have become most prominent in public life have been those who spent their early life upon a farm. John Clark, residing on section 25, Monroe township, is a worthy representative of the agricultural interests of Miami county. He was born on what is now known as the Hollingsworth farm, a mile and a half south of Tippecanoe City, on the 4th of September, 1831, his father being John Clark, Sr., whose birth occurred in Frederick county, Maryland, near the city of Fredericksburg, in 1797, his parents being Thomas H. and Peggy (Blickenstaff) Clark. He was the only child and his father died during his infancy. In company with his mother, when thirteen years of age, he came to Ohio, the journey being made by team. They traveled with a company composed of several families, and on reaching their destination the mother and son located on a tract of land near Colesville, where they erected a log cabin. John Clark worked at anything which he could get to do that would contribute to the support of himself and mother. In 1817 he married Harriet Jenkins, and the young couple began life in a very primitive style. His possessions consisted of one horse and about fifty cents in money. Soon afterward he built a flatboat at the mouth of Honey creek, which streams flows into the Miami river. He would secure pork and flour and loading it on his flatboat would take it to the New Orleans market, where he would sell these products and then walk back to his home in Ohio. In that way he got a start in life, and the capital which he acquired he invested in land, becoming owner of the farm now owned by Dr. Crane, on the west bank of the canal, about a mile south of Tippecanoe City. He there erected a log cabin in the midst of the forest and began clearing away the heavy timber. The next farm which he owned was the one upon which our subject was born. About 1830 he began investing in land in the Miami valley, on what is now known as Clark's island, and at one time owned all but about fifty acres of that island, his possessions aggregating more than one thousand acres. This was covered with a heavy growth of walnut, hickory and oak trees.

    Mr. Clark resided upon the Hollingsworth farm until 1838, when he purchased the land upon which Tippecanoe City is now located, then known as the Robert Evans farm and comprising a tract of one hundred acres. In 1839 he took up his abode thereon and in 1840 he laid out the city, clearing the land from Dow street to Walnut street, on the north, and from Canal to the railroad east and west, the tract covering about two blocks north and south and about six blocks east and west. He first laid out Main street, then north First street and afterward Second street. He built a home on the southeast corner of First street, and in 1850 erected the residence in which his grandson, S. C. Clark, now resides. There in that dwelling the founder of Tippecanoe City died in March, 1857. At the time of his death he owned about twelve hundred acres of land in Miami county, and was recognized as one of the most prominent, influential and respected residents in this section of the state. In 1840, during the William Henry Harrison campaign, he was a recognized leader of the Whig party, and was a man of marked influence in public affairs. As long as Tippecanoe City shall stand his name will be honored as its founder, and no history of Miami county would be complete without the record of his life. He was one of the honored pioneers who looked beyond the exigencies of the present into the future and recognized possibilities that are seen by the few. He built not for his own generation alone, but for future ages, and in the establishing of Tippecanoe City he laid the foundation of one of the enterprising centers of the state.

    Mrs. Clark was to her husband a faithful companion and helpmate, and with him she experienced all the hardships and privations of his early life. Her capable management and unflagging industry contributed in no small degree to his success in later years. She long survived her husband, dying in 1885 at the advanced age of eighty-four years. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Levi, deceased; Issachar, who died in Kansas City, Missouri; Mordecai, who served two terms as county commissioner, and afterward filled out an unexpired term in the office; Elizabeth, deceased wife of Dr. H. H. Darst; Asa, deceased; John, of this review; Harriet, wife of J. H. Long, a real estate agent of Dayton, Ohio; and one child who died in infancy.

    Reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life, John Clark has been familiar with the history of Miami county and of Tippecanoe City through many years. He was a lad of nine summers when his father came to the farm which became the site of the city and here he was reared and married, obtaining his education in the public schools. When twenty-four years of age he began farming on his own account, and was thus engaged until after the inauguration of the civil war, when, on the 9th of August, 1862, he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting as a private in Company D, Ninety-fourth Ohio Infantry. He then went to Tate's Ferry, Kentucky, where a skirmish occurred. Later he participated in the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Resaca, the Atlanta and Chattanooga campaigns, including the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the various engagements which led up to the surrender of Atlanta. He also took part in the battle of Jonesboro and the celebrated march to the sea under Sherman, the battle around Savannah and the last important battle of the war at Benton, North Carolina. His regiment formed a part of the Fourteenth Army Corps. He went to the front as a member of the regimental band and served in that capacity for a year, when the organization became a brigade band. During much of his service he was on detail duty during the engagements, assisting the surgeon in the field hospital, and after the surrender of Lee he received an honorable discharge in May, 1865. Returning to Tippecanoe City, Mr. Clark resumed farming, although he made his home in the town until 1881, when he removed to a farm on Clark's island. There he resided until the winter of 1884, when he removed to the farm upon which he now makes his home. He owns two hundred and twenty-seven acres of valuable land on Clark's island, all of which is under a high state of cultivation and yields to him a golden tribute in return for the care and labor which he bestows upon it.

    On the 4th of September, 1885, occurred the marriage of Mr. Clark and Miss Amanda Kimma, of Frederick county, Maryland. They now have four children: Charles Sumner, who is living in the old home in Tippecanoe City where he is engaged in the livery business; Ward Beecher, who died in 1863; Grace, widow of Frank Rhodehamel; and John F., who is living in Colesville, Miami county. Mr. Clark has taken quite an active part in public affairs, and for nine years he served as trustee of Monroe township. He was also a member of the city council of Tippecanoe, and has been a member of the school board. Politically he is a Republican, and socially is connected with the Royal Arcanum and D. M. Rouzer Post, G. A. R. As a veteran of the civil war, as an industrious business man, and as a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Miami county, he well deserves representation in this volume. Through sixty-nine years he has witnessed the growth and development of Miami county, and has ever supplemented its progress by his well directed efforts.

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