Frederick Albert Clark
Clark and Esther Palmer were married on December 18, 1852
in Winnebago County, Illinois. John was a blacksmith and
carriage manufacturer by trade and ran a business from
his home in Pecatonica, Illinois, near the town of
Rockford. He had come to America with his parents, James
and Phoebe (Newton) Clark, in 1836 from Gunthorpe,
Norfolk county, England. There were 11 children in his
family, John being the oldest son. See "Index of Surnames" for
information on John's family.
Esther Palmer was the daughter of Roswell Palmer and Abigail Barber. She had moved to Illinois with her family in 1850 from Norwich, CT. Her father was married 3 times and had 15 children. Esther was the oldest child from his first marriage. See "index of Surnames" for information on Esther's family.
1868 John and Esther were encouraged to move to
Minneapolis by Esther's half-sister, Abbie (Palmer)
Woodward and her husband Jasper. They arrived in October
of that year. The 1871 Minneapolis Directory lists John
Clark as "blacksmith, Car Shops. Bds. Milwaukee
House". In 1871 he is listed at Hennepin and Laurel
Clark- res. corner 14th & Henn. Ave.
The C.H. Palmer listed with John Clark was Esther's half-brother, Charles Palmer. Her brother from her father's second marriage to Ann Parker.
From the book "History of Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis", written in 1881 by the Rev. Edward D. Neill, the following appeared on page 418:
"Hennepin Carriage Works, 1502 Hennepin Avenue, were commenced at the corner of Third Street and Third Avenue south, in the spring of 1879, by John Clark. After various changes in the firm name, it was sold, and Mr. Clark worked for other parties until the spring of 1880, when he purchased his present place, which is a two-story frame, 22x40, where he employs two men besides himself"
in this book, on page 529, the following biographical
John Clark, a native of Norfolk, England, was born November 13, 1827. He came with his parents to America in 1834, and located at Genesee, New York; remained there three years, and then removed to Kishwaukee, Ilinois, where he resided until 1867, when he came to this city, and has since lived here, with the exception of eighteen months passed in Florida. While at Kishwaukee he learned the trade of carriage-making and blacksmithing, and has been in that business all his life. He was married in Illinois to Miss Esther Palmer. They are the parents of five children: Ella, now the wife of J.W. Crockett, Walter, Frederick, Luther and Charles.
The City directories from 1871 to
1875 list their address as 1329 Hennepin Avenue.
While John was busy
running his business, Esther enjoyed attending lectures
at some of the local churches, seeing musical events and
performances at the Pence Opera House and Academy of
Music. She especially loved exploring the city of
Minneapolis and writing in her diary, which she began
just before they came to Minneapolis. The diary is full
of detailed descriptions of her expeditions and her daily
So, on October 26, 1875 the Clarks left Minneapolis with a party of 500 people from Minneapolis for Florida. They stayed in Jacksonville for a short time and found there was no work or business to be had, so moved to Tallahassee and rented "The Peeler" Plantation where John made an attempt at farming. Esther wrote a long and very descriptive account of their time spent in Florida, However, after 18 months they were homesick and returned to Minneapolis.
their return to Minneapolis John built a new home for the
family at 9 North 15th St. and in 1880 opened his
business "Hennepin Carriage Works" at 1502
|As the city grew and the
downtown area of Minneapolis moved closer to their home
on 15th St. John and Esther sold the home and moved to
226 West 28th Street. (This home is still standing -
2002). John sold his business on Hennepin Avenue and
opened a new shop on 26th and Blaisdell just a few blocks
away. He operated at this location until he retired.
John Clark died in on Sept 11, 1902 of kidney failure and "the grippe" at age 74. Esther wrote the following letter to John's sister, Margaret (Clark) and her husband William Withers in Jackson, MN telling of John's death LETTER
|After John's death Esther
lived with her sons, Walter and Charley, in the house at
226 W. 28th St. Its' very sad to see how many deaths
occurred in the Clark family in just a few short years and
how it must have affected the family.
My great-grandmother, Lizzie (Erickson) Clark, wife of Fred, died on Feb 26, 1901. John Clark died in Sept. 1902. On February 6, 1904 my grandmother's sister, Eva (Clark) Ringer passed away from Typhoid Fever. She left a husband with two small sons, Arthur and Raymond Ringer. Walter Clark died Dec 15, 1908.
In looking at the 1910 Federal Census, I found the following family members all living at 226 W. 28th St.:
P. Clark - age 79 - Head of household
grandchildren and great-grandchildren eventually all
married or moved out on their own. By 1915 Fred and
Charley lived alone in the house, and as explained on a
previous page, Fred committed suicide that year. His
brother Charley was then living alone. Sometime between
1915 and 1917 Charley married a widow from North Dakota
who had a son from a previous marriage. The following
story about Charley and the widow was told to me by
Kathleen Crockett Van Fleet, (daughter of Ella Clark