52 Ancestors: James Alvin Clark (1868-1911)

James Alvin Clark (1868-1911)

Amy Johnson Crow used a weekly blog theme of “52 Ancestors” in her blog post Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Although Amy decided to stop posting on this challenge, Randy Seaver has continued posting his ancestors on Geneamusings.com. I’ve decided to start posting my ancestors on a weekly basis. I’m going to use this as an opportunity to clean my data and sources.

James Alvin Clark is #10 on my Ahnentafel list. He is my paternal great-grandfather. He married Belle Maud Fleharty 1896 in Illinois, USA.

I am descended from him through:

  • #5 Edith Helen Clark (1905-1986), his daughter and my paternal grandmother.
  • #2 William Clark Ditman (1933-1997), his grandson and my father.

James Alvin Clark (1868-1911)

James Alvin Clark (1868-1911)



Name: James Alvin Clark
Sex: Male
Father: Marcus Clark (1830-1894)
Mother: Martha Jane Baggs (1844-1899) [4]

Facts and Events

  • Birth: 09 Dec 1868 in Good Hope, McDonough, Illinois, USA [5]
  • Census: 1880 (age 11);Sciota, McDonough, Illinois, USA [2]
  • Letter: Love letter to Belle Maud Fleharty;9 Dec 1893 [5]
  • Letter: Love letter to Belle Maud Fleharty;Feb. 24, 1894;Santarium [6]
  • Census: 1900 (age 30);Neenah Ward 3, Winnebago, Wisconsin [8,13]
  • Census: 1910 (age 41);Pasadena, California [9]
  • Death: 10 Nov 1911 (age 42);Pasadena, Los Angeles, USA [10]
  • Occupation: 1900 Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd Universalist Church [11,12]

Marriages and Children

  • Belle Maud Fleharty (1872-1957)
    • Marriage: 19 Nov 1896, Galesburg, Knox, Illinois, USA [7]
      • Children:
        • Delta Sigma Clark (1897-1989)
        • Theda G Clark (1900-1986)
        • Mary Elizabeth Clark (1902-1984)
        • James Alvin Clark, Jr. (1904-1975)
        • Edith Helen Clark (1905-1986)


[2] 1880 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints© Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.  All use is subject to the limite), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1880; Census Place: Sciota, Mc Donough, Illinois; Roll: T9_228; Family History Film: 1254228; Page: 22, Dwelling #202, Family # 199; Enumeration District: 168; Image: 0167. Birth date:  abt 1869  Birth place:  Illinois  Residence date:  1880  Residence place:  Sciota, Mc Donough, Illinois, United States.

[3] In the 1880 United States Federal Census, the Marcus Clarke family was enumerated on 11 Jun 1880 residing in Sciota, McDonough, Illinois, USA. The household included:

  • Marcus Clarke, male, head, age 49;born in Indiana;Farmer;father born in Kentucky;mother born in Kentucky;
  • Jane Clarke, female, wife, age 35;born in Illinois;father born in Kentucky;mother born in Kentucky;
  • Lizzie Clarke, female, daughter, age 15;born in Illinois;
  • Freddie Clarke, male, son, age 14;born in Illinois;
  • James Clarke, male, son, age 11;born in Illinois;
  • Burtie Clarke, male, son, age 3;born in Illinois;
  • Calvin Harvey, male, boarder; age 44;born in Illinois;Laborer;

[4] Unknown Author, Note to James Alvin Clark, undated. [The original handwritten letter is in the possession of Kimberly Joy Ditman. This note details the genealogical lines that James descends from.]

The transcription of this note follows:

Your Mother’s great grandfather’s name was James Guthrie; he was one of the Early settlers of Jefferson Co Ky. and your Mother’s grandfather’s name was James Guthrie. I do not know what his wife’s name was; they both died when your grandmother Guthrie and sister Mary, now Mrs. Mary Glover, were small, then then their Aunt Elizabeth Guthrie raised the two girls. She was living then in Louisville, Ky. Fred Baggs and Martha Guthrie were married in Indiana, then moved to Columbus Adams Co, Ill. where she died leaving Martha Jane and Charles Baggs. When small, your father and mother were married when your grandfather was living near Blandinsville, Ill.

[5] James Alvin Clark, Letter to Belle Maud Fleharty, 9 Dec 1893. [The original handwritten letter is in the possession of Kimberly Joy Ditman.]

The transcription of this letter follows:

Miss Fleharty:

I sometimes write poetry
As I think you’ll find out
And the object of this
I will tell you about.

When I woke up this morning
It was first striking five,
And I said to myself
“Well, I’m glad I’m alive”

But what terrible weather!
How it comes I can’t say
’cause I wanted it lovely
On this my birthday

How aged I feel
At twenty five years,
I may see a hundred-
But I have my fears

You’re just sweet sixteen
So some one tells me.
But who was it told me?
Whom do you think it could be?

There! The point of this rhyme
I [?] not forget
And why I’m writing this
I’ve not told you yet.

At a place called Randall
Out east of the city
Is a lot of poor heathen
Whom I think we should pity

So I ask you to come
And go with us tonight
For I know you’re quite apt
As a teacher of right

And with one protege

Why not take up some more
And help out us “theologs”,
We need it, I’m sure.

Please answer this missive,
If you choose with your pen
I entreat you, don’t be formal,
As you sometimes have been.

Now with this injunction
I shall bid you adiu
And thus say no more
Till I chance to see you.

I shall call at seven
If it is agreeable be
And until then –
Good bye, yours J.A.C.

December 9th, 1893

[6] James Alvin Clark, Letter to Belle Maud Fleharty, 24 Feb 1894. [The original handwritten letter is in the possession of Kimberly Joy Ditman. This letter was written from the Sanitarium. Was he at a Sanitarium as a pastor or was he recovering from an illness?]

The transcription of this letter follows:

Sanitarium, 11.45 P.M. Feb. 24, 1894

Of all the beautiful pictures
that hang on memory’s walls,
Is one of a charming young lady
that seemeth the best of all

Not for her singing and dancing,
though in them she might excel,
Not for her charms and graces
though which she might weave love’s fell.

But like the sweet singer of old,
who played in poetical act.
She strives modern [?]
And sings us the songs of the heart

The ballad is most to her liking
And with it she wields a great power
And makes us poor men quite beneath her
And women above us to tower.

Ah me! How she paints their good graces,
as she works in this rhythmical art,
I wonder if she ever thinks
that a man might perhaps have a heart?

Yes we poor insignificant creatures
would be charmed with a live from her pen,
Perhaps she’ll come down from the steeple,
Someday with as much as a thought for us men

But first let me paint you her picture
As she sits over there in her chair
Looking pleasant and happy of course
without a burden or vestige of care.

Her hair not uncommon, appears black,
her eyes seem to be the same hue,
But when I look to discover the color,
I can’t tell for my life – Say can you!

And her cheeks! Do they sometimes have roses
that blush all times of the year?
Well of course, I don’t date tell it all
because she is sitting so near.

For if she should tell me to stop
you see I would have to obey
So that would finish it all
And we couldn’t go on with the play

Nor must I tell all her good graces
for they would fill up a book
Besides she might think, I would flatter
And settle me with one charming look.

So you just remember to ask me
sometimes when she’s not around
And I’ll tell you all about her
E’en her ballads so profound.

But while were on this subject
I’ll tell you one thing more;
She quarreled with me last night
Perhaps she’s done so before.

To be sure it wasn’t serious
but yet it might have been.
And when she gave me a reproachful look
I couldn’t stand it, then.

So I took my hat and left.
And have not seen her today,
Yet I suppose she’s still alive
As it wouldn’t affect her anyway.

She’s such a peculiar [?]
that what’s in her mind You can’t tell.
Say I’m going to stop right here –
Please I don’t know her well.

[7] “Illinois Marriages, 1815-1935,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2GR-STP : accessed 23 January 2016), James Alvin Clark and Belle Maude Fleharty, 19 Nov 1896; citing Galesburg, Knox, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,412,058.

The transcription of the marriage abstract follows:

Name James Alvin Clark
Spouse’s Name Belle Maude Fleharty
Event Date 19 Nov 1896
Event Place Galesburg, Knox, Illinois
Father’s Name Marcus Clark
Mother’s Name Martha J Baggs
Spouse’s Father’s Name William H Fleharty
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Elizabeth A Terrell

[8] 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004 citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Page 20, House #526, Dwelling #415, Family #424; Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

In the 1900 United States Federal Census, the James A Clark family was enumerated on 16 Jun 1900 residing in Neenah, Winnebago, Wisconsin. The household included:

  • James A Clark, male, age 30;born Dec 1869, in Illinois;married 3 years;father born in New York;mother born in New York;Pastor, Universalist Church.
  • Bell M Clark, female, age 29;born Oct 1872, in Illinois;married 3 years;1 child born, 1 child living;father born in Ohio;mother born in Ohio.
  • Delta S Clark, female, age 2;born Oct 1897, in Illinois;single;

[9] 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006; Page 10B, Dwelling #55, Family # 56; citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.

In the 1910 United States Federal Census, the James A Clark family was enumerated on 3 May 1910 residing in Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, USA. The household included:

  • James A Clark, head, male, white, age 41;married 14 years;born in Illinois;Mason;Store and cement;father born in Indiana;mother born in Illinois;
  • Belle M Clark, wife, female, white, age 37;married 14 years;born in Illinois;father born in Ohio;mother born in Iowa;
  • Delta S Clark, daughter, female, white, age 12;single;born in Illinois;
  • Theda G Clark, daughter, female, white, age 9;single;born in Wisconsin;
  • Mary E Clark, daughter, female, white, age 8;single;born in Iowa;
  • James A Clark, son, male, white, age 6;single;born in California;
  • Edith H Clark,daughter, female, white, age 4;single;born in California;
[10] Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. citing California Department of Health and Welfare. California Vital Records-Vitalsearch (www.vitalsearch-worldwide.com). The Vitalsearch Company Worldwide, Inc., Pleasanton, California.
The transcription of the death index record follows:
Name: James A Clark
Birth Year: abt 1869
Death Date: 10 Nov 1911
Age at Death: 42
Death Place: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death was cited by the family as having a wall he was building fall on him and kill him. I have not been able to prove this yet.
[11] Bunn’s Neenah Directory, 1900. The Ralph M Burtis Co., Neenah, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. [document online] http://www.kimberlyblack.com/james-alvin-clark-1868-1911/. Neenah Library, Neenah Winnebago, Wisconsin.
The transcription of this Directory is as follows:
Church of the Good Sheperd – Rev J A Clark, pastor
Danish Lutheran – 306 Bond, Rev H P Jensen, pastor
Danish Lutheran – 520 Division, Rev H P Jenson, pastor
Danish Methodist – 300 Caroline, Rev H J Week, pastor
Danish and Norwegian Lutheran – 325 Washington, Rev J P Naarup, of Oshkosh, pastor
First ME – 215 E Wisconsin av. J D Cole, pastor
First Presbyterian – 215 Church, Fev John E Chapin, pastor
German Evangelical – Bond st, Rev J Schneller, pastor
German Lutheran – 122 Bond, Rev August Kleinhaus, Pastor
German Lutheran – 118 Oak, Rev Albert Froehlke, Pastor
Norwegian Lutheran – 508 South Commercial, Rev Mikel Mikelson, pastor
Seventh Day Adventist – 513 Henry, Rev J C Nielsen, pastor
Universalist – 526 North Commercial, Rev Calvin Clark, pastor
[12] Church History. Compiled by Mrs. Helen Clark Ritger. University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Universalist Church
The Universalist Church, also known as “The Church of The Good Shepherd,” had its own church building on the Island, near the dividing line on North Commercial Street, erected in 1867. The church had numerous pastors; a well-remembered one, Mrs. Mary J. DeLong, served for many years. A pew in the Washington, D.C., Universalist Church is dedicated to her memory.
The church needed remodeling and repairs, and for some time meetings were held in the “little white church on the island,” corner of East Forest Avenue and Second Street, where Roosevelt School now stands.
The former church building was rededicated in April, 1896, and Rev. Eddy served for several years.
Due to its declining membership, the church building was sold in 1904 to Samuel A. Cook, who tore it down and built the present S.A. Cook Armory on the same site.
[13] East Forest Avenue Historic District Preservation Plan April 2012. Neenah Wisconsin Landmarks Commission. http://www.ci.neenah.wi.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Ord-2012-7-Exh-B-East-Forest-Ave-Hist-Dist-Plan.pdf
Note: This document contains references to historic homes in Neenah, Wisconsin. Two of the homes that are noted were occupied in 1900 by neighbors of my great-grandfather, James Alvin Clark. The neighbors were notable members of the elite of Neenah, Wisconsin. On the 1900 census, Henry Spencer Smith and family was living in the next listing below James Alvin Clark at the former address of 532 E Forest Avenue, Neenah, Wisconsin. The address is now 706 East Forest Avenue, Neenah, Wisconsin. Below the Smith home, also on the 1900 census, was Frank B Whiting and his family, which is now 711 East Forest Avenue and across the street from the Smith home.  Since James Clark and family were interviewed before the Smith family and before the Whiting family, I can surmise that the address James Clark lived at was the current address of 803 or 804 East Forest. The buildings currently at 803 and 804 East Forest Avenue were not built until 1923 and 1942 and it is unknown what stood there previously in either case. James Clark was a Universalist Pastor and was renting the house in 1900.

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