The Clark Family

Clark Family
Parents of Frederick Albert Clark



John Clark
Born Nov 13, 1828
Place: Gunthorpe, England
Died Sept 11, 1902 Mpls, MN.
Burial: Lakewood Cemetery

Frederick Albert Clark

Esther Palmer
Born July 29, 1830
Place: Exeter, RI
Died: Jan 2, 1911 Mpls. MN.
Burial: Lakewood Cemetery

John 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.

John and Esther (Palmer) Clark
Probably taken ca. 1860's in Illinois.

Ella and Walter Clark. Photo probably
taken the same day as their parents above.

In 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 Ave.

John opened a Carriage Making shop on the corner of 3rd Ave. and 3rd Street in 1870. The 1872-73 Minneapolis City Directory listed John Clark as follows

John Clark- res. corner 14th & Henn. Ave.
(John Clark and C. H. Palmer) Manufacturers
of carriages, wagons, and sleighs of every description.
Light work a specialty; repairing promptly done;
Corner of 3rd St. and 3rd. Ave. So

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"

Also in this book, on page 529, the following biographical write-up appeared:

(Note: The date of John's birth is incorrect, he was born in 1828, not 1827. He came to America with his parents in 1836, not 1834, and the Clarks came to Minneapolis in 1868, not 1867. The town of Kishwaukee is now known as New Milford, IL).

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.

1329 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis

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 life.

She not only kept a diary, but wrote long detailed accounts of her childhood and important events in her life. One of the stories told of their journey to Florida in 1875. In the first paragraph She wrote:

"The last winter we spent in Minneapolis was very severe and John and myself thought we never could endure another like it.  We had talked of going to Oregon but when we began to hear the praises of Florida we concluded that was the very place we ought to go" (The entire account is about 4 pages long)

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.

On 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 Hennepin Ave.

9 North 15th Street Minneapolis

Close up
From left to right: Esther P. Clark, Claudia, Milo, Ella,
Virginia and Leon Crockett ca. 1886

Hennepin Carriage Works
1502 Hennepin Ave.

Close up
Pictured left to right, John Clark, and sons Fred and Luther Clark. Little boy is John's grandson, Leon Crockett, son of Ella and James W. Crockett.



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.

226 W. 28th St. Minneapolis ca. 1890-1900

Close up
Picture, left to right; Mable Clark,(daughter of Luther Clark), Edith Olson (the housekeeper), Edna Clark (little girl on porch, daughter of Luther Clark), and Esther. Standing by the horses are Walter and Charley Clark.

226 W. 28th St. in 2001.

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.:

Esther P. Clark - age 79 - Head of household
Charles P. Clark - age 48 - son
Fred A. Clark - age 51 - son
Esther L. Clark - age 22 - granddaughter (my grandmother)
Fred A. Clark - age 19 - grandson
Arthur C. Ringer - age 12 - great-grandson
Raymond Ringer - age 10 - great-grandson

The census was taken in April of that year (1910) and Esther P. Clark died the following January.

The 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 Crockett).

"Uncle Charley married a widow lady from South Dakota who had a son from a previous marriage. I can't remember her name, but Mother never liked her. While everyone was attending Uncle Charley's funeral, the widow lady had a used furniture salesman come in and she sold every stick of furniture in the house. Grandma had some beautiful pieces she had for many years. All of it was gone, the house was emptied, and when we returned from the funeral the widow lady and her son had disappeared".


Family Tree