El Dorado County
ELI D. CLARK
Eli D. Clark, the owner of the New El Dorado Hotel at El Dorado, California, is a native of the state of Iowa, born on the 15th of December, 1854. Rufus B. Clark, the father of the above-named gentleman, was a “Forty-niner.” He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1795, and passed the greater part of his life in the middle sates. After his arrival in California in 1849 he at once engaged in placer mining in El Dorado County, and met with signal success. In 1852 he returned east and made up a company which he brought back with him to this state, he having charge of this party while en route, as he also did of the first company with which he crossed the plains. He resumed mining in El Dorado County, which he continued uninterruptedly until 1860. That year he brought his family to California. He had married, in 1848, Miss Elizabeth Merritt, of Iowa, and two children were born to them in that state, one of whom is now Mrs. Lucy Margaret Levy, a resident of San Francisco. Another child, a son, was born to them in Lake Valley, California. Mr. Clark also had three children by a former marriage.
The winter of 1860-1 Mr. Clark and his family spent at Suisun, and in the spring he went up to the summit below Lake Tahoe, on the western side, and built what became known as Clark’s Station. It was afterwards called the Teamsters’ Home, and later Philips Station. Subsequently Mr. Clark purchased the Van Sickle Hotel, to which he removed, and still later went to Lake Valley, purchased a ranch and built a hotel, which became known as the State Line House. He also speculated in mining operations and in a large ice plant at Virginia City. In the fall of 1867 he engaged in the hotel business at Shingle Springs. He remained there, however, only a short time, removing thence to Puget Sound, where, though then advanced in years, he was prominent and active in the movement which tended to the growth and prosperity of Seattle. He died in Seattle in 1870 at the age of seventy-two years. His widow survives him and is now a resident of Sacramento, where she enjoys the esteem of a large circle of old acquaintances. Of Rufus B. Clark it may be said that he was a thorough pioneer. New scenes and new enterprises had for him a fascination, and he had the pluck and courage to carry through whatever he undertook. Up to the very close of his life he was active and progressive. He was patriotic and he reared a family of patriotic sons, two of whom, Mason and Sylvester, enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War and served until the conflict was ended, each receiving then an honorable discharge. Mason is, and has been for years, a resident of Seattle, where he is operating in timber lands. He is surveyor.
Eli D. Clark was educated in Shingle Springs and at Placerville, During the time when teaming was such a profitable business he took advantage of the tide and made considerable money in hauling goods from Sacramento City to Placerville, and over the mountains to Bodie, Virginia City and Carson. In this freighting business he drove a six-horse team. Afterward he was variously employed. For some years he was in the saloon business in El Dorado. He conducted the Ivy House in Placerville and three years ran the Depot saloon at that place. In 1895 he built the New El Dorado Hotel, at El Dorado, which is the leading hotel in the town and which he has conducted the past five years. He also has other property interests here, owning the post office building and a livery stable building.
Mr. Clark was happily married on the 16th of May, 1884, to Miss Hattie Fitzgibbons, a native of El Dorado, and the union was blessed in the birth of two children, Jessie Leola and Hattie Anneta. Mrs. Clark departed this life December 11, 1899. She was a member of Placerville Parlor, Native Daughters of the Golden West, and was a woman whose many estimable traits of character endeared her to her circle of friends.
Mr. Clark is a member of the Foresters of America, Court Confidence, No. 117, and is also a Druid, affiliating with California Grove, No. 1. Politically he is an enthusiastic Republican.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.