1863-1868 Diaries of Edwin Jonathan Clark
The following diary transcriptions were supplied to me by Leon Burnap, curator of the Town of Norfolk Historical Museum and Norfolk Town Historian. Leon can be reached at:
Edwin Jonathan Clark was the son of Joseph and Rizpah Field Clark. He was born in 1832 in New Hampshire and died in November 1868. His family moved to Raymondville in the town of Norfolk, St. Lawrence County while Edwin was small. The family is shown in the 1850 census as consisting of his parents, Joseph and Rizpah Clark, his older brother Joseph and sister Helen, his younger sister Rizpah, and his younger brothers, William, Silas and Charles. There were also two older siblings who had already left home, Amos and Lucena, plus a brother Moses who died in 1849.
Edwin was in the civil war from 1863-1865. The first of the diaries below begins in July 1863 with the entry: “RECEIVED NOTICE THAT I WAS DRAFTED INTO THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMEY” and the diaries follow his service with the Union forces through the close of the war. As the war ended he was in City Hospital in Washington DC with a wound to his ankle. He was still in the city when Abraham Lincoln was shot and describes his visit to see the “corps” of the late president.
After the war he returned to St. Lawrence county in June 1865. On May 5, 1866 he married a civil war widow, Mrs. Almira Blatchly. On August 29, 1866 he left St. Lawrence County to go to California. He and his brother Silas left the Port of New York on September 1st , arriving in Panama September 9th, then resuming the voyage on September 10th to San Francisco, where they arrived on September 24th, 1866. He stayed in California for two years, leaving to return to New York late in September 1868. He arrived back in New York on October 29th, 1868. He died less than a month later, on November 14th, 1868.
Diaries of Edwin J. Clark
1863 Diary – Joins Co. C of the 92nd NY Volunteers
1864 Diary – Serving in the Civil War
1865 Diary – End of Civil war, assassination of Lincoln, return to NY
1866 Diary – Marriage to Almira Blatchly, departure to California
1868 Diary – Working in California, return to NY (died November 14th)