PRIVATE JAMES CLARKE
Submitted by Eileen Truesdell
WALCOT SOMERSET ENGLAND
TO HOWE ISLAND ON
James Clarke attested for the 65th Regiment at Bath, Somerset, England, Feb 21st, 1832
at the age of 18 years. He served twenty six years and seven days. His first station was at Portsmouth, England. On August 2nd 1832 he was court marshalled at Portsmouth for being drunk and riotous in barracks, for which he was imprisoned for 30 days. This was the only time, in his army career, he was ever disciplined. James received four good conduct medals during his army career. In 1832, he spent one year in Buttevant, Kinsale, Mallow and Dumanway, County Cork, Ireland. James went back to Portsmouth for two years before going to St. Vincent and Grenada, West Indies. James embarked for North America December 1837 where he spent the next twenty years, mainly in Kingston and Montreal with short spells in Halifax, St. John, NB, and Cape Breton. In 1850 James is shown in Niagara with the Royal Canadian Rifles.
Most likely, James Clarke was with the 43rd Regiment that marched from St. John, New Brunswick to Montreal, leaving on Dec 11, 1839, in 28 to 30 degrees below zero weather. It took eighty men four hours to cross at the river Tobique. Travelling approximately eighteen miles per day, and at night they slept out in the cold or stayed in the six wretched log camps along the way. On December 26th, the unshaven, smoke dried, frostbitten, foul smelling men of the 43rd Regiment, triumphantly entered their barracks in an ancient Jesuit Convent.
James married Mary Bridget Duffy born Circa 1821 in Donegal, Ireland. It is not known where or when, James met Bridget. Their marriage has never been found. James and Bridget, came to St. John, New Brunswick, thence to Quebec, and to Kingston in 1853. Their first daughter, Mary Catherine, was baptized in St. Mary's Cathedral in 1853. The first proof of them in the Kingston area. It was also this baptism, that led to locating his discharge papers. He was discharged in 1857 at Ottawa, ON. At the time of his discharge he was described as forty four years of age, five feet seven inches tall, brown hair, grey eyes, a fresh complexion with no marks or scars, was a labourer and his intended place of residence, Kingston, Canada West.
In 1871, 1881 and in 1891 census James Clarke was on Howe Island, ON., on the family homestead. Bridget died April 6, 1887, on Howe Island and James died July 16, 1899, at the home of his daughter Mary Catherine Mahoney, at 6 Orchard Street, Kingston. Both are buried in St. Philomena's Cemetery, Howe Island.
James was a protestant all his life , belonging to the English Church, but on April 29, 1883, he was baptized in St. John's church. October 11, 1886, James was confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith. In 1901 his son John was on Howe Island, working the farm, with his wife Tiece and family. They lived on Lot 18, in a log cabin, built around 1857, according to an old Kingston newspaper found stuffed in the wall, most likely for insulation. On the north side of the Island. The farm consisted of 170 acres, with a beautiful water front.
Assessment Rolls for Howe Island in 1870 list James Clarke as tenant, with 150 acres, 2 barns, 2 wagons, 1 boat, 2 ploughs, 1 fanning mill, 2 horses over 3 years old, 1 colt or filly, 3 milch cows, 6 other horned cows, 10 sheep, and 1 swine. He had killed or exported, one cow, 3 sheep, and 1 swine. He had 200 pounds of butter, 25 pounds of wool and 26 yards of cloth. There is no evidence of the farm ownership, other than James Clarke and his son John lived there from 1857 to 1909. One normally does not live on a place for over forty years without some claim to the property.
The old homestead was intended as being kept as a heritage site, by the owner a Mr. Clarke, ( not any relation ? ) from Toronto, but in 2002, the log cabin was sold and some of the logs used in reconstruction of a cabin on Cassidy point. James sold 100 acres in 1860 to a Mr. Thompson, keeping the remainder 65 acres, more or less. On October 1887 an auction was held on the Clarke farm , and we have no knowledge of what items were sold. James lived on the Clarke Point farm until after 1891, with his son John William and his wife Tiece Elizabeth Cadieu when James moved to the main land to live with his daughter, Mary Catherine and her husband, James Mahoney. John William Clarke, and his wife, Tiece stayed on the farm until 1909, when it was sold to the Byrnes family and a few years ago, renamed Byrnes Point. When the log cabin was bought by Mr. Clarke from Toronto, they had started to tear down some of the walls, and behind one wall found a Kingston Newspaper dated 1857. Sadly to say the newspaper was disposed of. Although we donít have the old newspaper, we now know that the cabin was built around 1857.
James and Bridget had nine children, James, William, Mary, Sarah, Edward, Anne, John, Elizabeth, and Frances.
Clarke researchers, the late Agnes Oakley, Eileen Truesdell and Ken Menard, have found all but two of the children of James & Bridget. The two missing links are William Clarke born 1851 and Edward Bartholmew Clarke, born 1858.
NEW!! Submitted by Eileen Nov 2006:
I finally found the marriage of James Clarke & Bridget Duffy. They were married in Halifax NS by Wesleyan minister Alex McLeod, Aug 6, 1845. Their son James was born Oct 24 1846 St John's NB baptised 8 Nov 1846 St John's
William John Clarke their second son was born 16 June 1848 at Isle Aux Noix & baptised 2 July 1848. Their daughter Mary born 15 Feb 1853 Kingston ON baptised 25 Feb 1853 St Mary's Cathedral Kingston (Mary's birth we already had)
These entries were registered with the GRO England. No record of marriage or the two sons birth have been found in Canada. As James was a British soldier and his Rank was Private Royal Canadian Regiment of Rifles, his records therefore were held in England.
Ken Menard (my cousin) finally found James & Bridget in the 1851 Census living at Niagara with RCR with James, William, and a daughter we never knew about Louisa born 1850. Louisa must have died as there is no other mention of her.
There is one thing that seems odd, is one son was named William John Clarke and my grandfather born 1863, was named John William Clarke. So there is definitely a William & a John in their ancestry!