The Robert D. Clark Letter

The following is a transcription of an old white-on-black "photostatic" copy of a 12-page letter from Robert Davis Clark (1844-1933) to Ira Winans which I found among Warren E. Carey's family history papers. Winans had jotted his own extensive comments on the original. For the most part, I've omitted Major Ira's notes for sake of continuity, except where he has pencilled in answers to Clark's questions. Those comments will be in blue. All pages are stamped on the back "Photostated from material in the Rochester Public Library".

Robert Clark seemed to be trying to cram as much information as possible into one letter via abbreviations. I hope you'll be able to follow his style of writing. I'll add my own comments via footnotes at the end of the letter. I won't footnote, or index, the people whom I can't identify, nor the various spouses' ancestors he mentions who aren't a part of our line.

Much of my information on these Clarks is based on the research of two Clark descendants:

Some of Clark's letter discusses my own direct ancestors, while other parts may be of more interest to my distant cousins. We should all find something of value here.

Mount Pulaski, Ill.
Sept. 25, 1922

Dear Mr. Winans,

Your favor of July 24 received and I was pleased to hear from you but I am sorry I cannot answer many of the questions you ask but will answer such as I can.

I expect soon to renew the search for the ancestors of David Clark m. Sarah Scudder1. In my outline to you I gave David as David. This was meant to be temporary only while I am hunting for his ancestors. I think it is very doubtful if we are ever able to find the first Clarks in America. I think we are entitled to be designated Old Settlers. By the way my father first proposed an old Settlers society in Logan Co and was the first president and for many years held that position. I am the present secretary but we have not had a meeting for some years. I got the b. date of Sarah Winans as Oct 25 from Early settlers of Sangamon Co Ill. The bible record of her father is without a doubt correct. On the stone at the grave is this: "Sallie wife of David Clark2 and dau of Samuel Winans3 died Dec 3 1843 in the 56th year of her age". No middle name is given, just "Sallie". While I do not know, I have no doubt but all the chn of David Clark and Sarah Scudder were born in or near Rahway, N.J. I sent Albert Clark4 the Phoebe Clarke -- Geo Cary5 sketch (the one he spoke of as the original) which he sent to you. I remember writing the wrong name which I did not erase, but simply drew a line through it and corrected.

You can rest assured that the name of the husb of Sarah Clark6, dau of Isaac Clark7, was Almarian6. I visited half bro Wm Clark8 a few years ago and he told me his name was Almarian. When the question arose I wrote to one of her nieces in Fulton Co who knew her well and I have her letter saying his name was Almarian. My parents always called him by that name when speaking of him. Sarah was my mother9's step-sister, also my father's cousin. I visited one of her sons a few years ago. We went to the same school when we were boys. He was then staying with his Aunt Elizabeth Jewel10 in Logan Co, Ill. My father9 has Geo Carey as the husband of Phoebe Clark. She was his aunt.11 If Sarah Clark was ever m the second time I never heard of it. My parents always called her "Sal" Carey.

I have the chart which Albert Clark sent to which and which [?] contains your contributions in red ink. Albert sent it to me after getting it back from you. I had previously received it from Prof S. R. Winans and sent it to Albert and he in turn sent it to you. Yes I know that Adelaide12 wf of Albert was a Winans descendant. My father as a J.P. married her parents Nov 1, 1866. I have known Albert and his wf from their earliest childhood days. Albert's place of birth was about a mile east of Addie's. We always called her Addie.

They are related thus:
Sarah Clark13 --- bro & sister --- Isaac Clark14
m Norman Norton13   m Emma Jewel14
| |
Georgianna Norton15 --- 1st cousins --- Albert4
m W. E. Whitney15
Nov 1, 1866
| |
Adelaide12--- 1st cousins once removed ---|

My father David W. Clark9 was a bro of Sarah W13 and Isaac14 above. They were all the chn of Jno W. Clark11 and Ann Isgrig11. Nancy was a nickname for my gnma. She told me so herself. My father has it so in his notes and it is Ann on the stone at the grave. Some of her gnchn never knew her given name as nearly every one not in the family called her "Aunt Nancy". I think Mary Harding16 a gndau gave her name as Nancy to Prof. S.R. Winans. Albert Clark had no Clark records other than what I sent to him except in his own family.

Albert's wf Adelaide wrote me under date of Nov 15, 1913 saying among other things, "I want to ask a favor of you. Will you please have a copy made of the genealogy of the Clark family which you have and send to me. The girls are desirous of joining the Daughters of the American Revolution and I want this to see whether they are eligible, and I would love to have it for my own benefit. I often think how Uncle Ward9 used to read them to me and then I didn't appreciate it as I would now."

I have written many letters to the descendants of James, David, Isaac & John Clark17 to try to find out if records were left by any of them. James' bible was lost in a fire which burned his gndau's house in Yankeetown some years ago. I can find nothing left by Isaac. I am hunting for my gnfa John11's bible. Olive Baker18, Albert Clark's sister, wrote me Aug 30, '22 in answer to my inquiry. "If my father left any notes of the family they were burned when the old house burned down as we had his and most of mother's things still stored there." If my gnfa John left anything it was probably in that same house at the time. David Clark did leave some notes. I spoke about it in a former letter to you. I asked a descendant who visited in Iowa where they are to let me know what they contained but on her return she said she didn't think there was anything except what I already had. I think there is, however.

If you will write to Miss May Harding19, Rockwell City, Iowa, she might tell you what he had. She has 3 bros living there but May being the oldest probably has them although she is unmarried and about 55 yrs old.

I have nothing in the Clark line back of David1 who m Sarah Scudder1 and I had nothing in the Winans line until I wrote to Prof. S.R. Winans in 1904.

Mrs. Mary Harding16 mother of May19 and a gndau of David Clark2 about 12 years before had sent Prof. Winans some Clark data which were a part of her gnfa's notes now in the possession of May but I do not know how much there is. Am I right in this:
Samuel Winans20 --- bros --- Conrad Winans21
m Zeniah . . . . . ?20   m Sarah Palmer21
| |
m Tho Clark22
--- cousins --- Jonathan23
m Susana Mills23
| |
Abraham24 --- 2" cousins --- Sarah1
m David Clark1

If the above is correct Abraham the signer24 was a 2" cousin of my Sarah1 through the Winans marriages but I do not know if he was of the same Clark family. I do not know the name of the child of David2 and Rachel Rutter2 who d in infancy. David Clark who m Mary Ann Winans could not have been a descendant of David1 who m Sarah (Winans) Scudder1 as their only sons who ever married were David2, James17, John W.11, and Isaac7. Neither David nor James had a son David. David W9, the son of Jno W, was my fa, m Hanna Stought9. David25 the son of Isaac m Nancy Flowers25 in O., and if he were m a 2" time I do not know it.

If Albert Clark of Crawford Co, Penn, was related to our family he must have been a descendant of some one back of David1 m Sarah (Winans) Scudder1 or a descendant of Isaac's chn in O. Eliza Ann Trimmins Clark26, dau of Jno26, James17, David1 m Sarah Scudder1, and his w Permelia Price26 (not Harris as you have it) m Wm Webster26. Their son Charles d bfr Oct 16, 1882. Of their other chn, their ages in years at that date were Richard 16, Milnetta 14, Frank 11, George 8, Jennie 6. Will Webster and wife "Trimmy" moved to Kan Feb 1883. They both d there. Wm had a brother Joseph Coe Webster27 was Co Clerk of Logan Co Ill for many years. He helped my father with his books when he -- my father -- assessed all of Logan Co. I suppose you have the Websters as Winans' descendants. (Yes I see you have.) Will Webster and "Trimmy" Clark were m in Yankeetown formerly a part of Laenns Township, but now in Aetna Twp., in 1864, Aug 18.

I visited the grave of my gt gn father Thomas Royal a short time ago. The marker is a two piece granite only about 2 ft high. The inscription reads:

"Thomas Royal,
Served in war of 1777"

The date 1758 is not correct. I have a letter from Rev. Stanley O. Royal now deceased saying he has a certificate of the registrar of the parish where he was born, with a copy of the entry of his christening. He was christened in the Parish Church, Cheadle, Cheshire, England on March 27, 1752.

I loaned the letters of Rev. Royal to the Historical Society, Springfield, Ill. They made a copy of them, and I then loaned them to a descendant of Royal in Springfield and am expecting them back in a few days. These letters contain a list of all his chn and a copy of the marriage certificate to his first wife Hannah Cooper in Philadelphia, June 29, 1782. Also notes left by his son Rev Wm Royal who went to Oregon 1853, and other facts of interest, at least to his descendants.

I gave Albert the name Margaret Cole as our gt gn ma. The name probably was Coles as I have understood my gn ma Clark was a cousin of Edward Coles, the 2" Gov of Ill. The historical society gave me a book containing a sketch of the public career of Gov Coles but it gives but little in regard to his family. However my gt gn fa, Wm Isgrig who m Margaret Cole (or Coles) came from England.

I do not know the P.O. address of my mother's mother at the time of her marriage. I think her father died in Miami Co, O. My gn ma, Sarah (Royal) Stought28, m Isaac Clark7 in Miami Co, O, May 7, 1821, and they lived there when my parents were married.

I do not know of any chn other than Matthias1 born to Sarah Winans and 1st hus Scudder.

I enclose record of family of Jno W Clark11 & wf Ann Isgrig. I knew quite well every one of their chn and all their gn chn except those dying in early infancy.

I also knew all but one of the chn of James17 m Jennie Seaburn29.

I knew 8 of the chn of Isaac Clark7 who came to Ill.

I knew all the chn of David Clark2 by 2" m to Sarah Winans, except his dau Sarah H Clark24 who m John Riddle30, I knew some of her chn, one of whom lived on a farm adjoining mine. One of Sarah's gn sons Frank L Tomlinson d 1909 while Mayor of Mt Pulaski. I succeeded him as Mayor. I have not the b date of David Clark1 m Sarah (Winans) Scudder.

If any of the Clarks of Ind and Ala which you mention are related to our family they are the descendants of some one back of David1 m Sarah Scudder or of chn of Isaac Clark7 who (the chn) never came to Ill.

I saw Mrs. Eliza Rupp31 a few days ago and she said she was copying the records left by David Clark but she didn't say whether or not she had the originals in her possession. I do not think so but I do not know how she could copy them otherwise. She is a sister of May Harding19 and said would loan me the notes after she had them copied. It might be well for you to write to May for them if you wish.

I think Albert4 mentioned the name of Annie Israel in writing to you. She had 1 bro David M. Dec Oct 18, 1892, and 3 sisters. They certainly have some Clark blood in their veins. 3 of their great gn fathers were brothers -- James, David and John Clark.

Ossian M. Ross b Aug 16, 1790 in N.Y. d 1837, Jan, m Mary Winans, b April 1, 1793 in Morris Co, N.J., d Jan 20, 1837, July 7, 1811, in Waterloo, N.Y. O.M. Ross was in war of 1812. To Alton, Ill 1820. To Fulton Co, Ill spring of 1821. Laid out the town of Lewistown, named for son. Lucinda Ross child b in Lewiston, Ill, 1821, Oct. 27, m Judge William Kellogg of Peoria, b Oct 17, 1821. Descendants of O.M. Ross living in Lewistown a few years ago and probably now.

You probably know of the Zebulon Ross family record (descendants of Ross) compiled 1885 by W.R. Griffith and Augusta Preston. South Down N.Y. Richard Winans Clark32 bro of Albert4 and the two daughters of his sister Olive Baker18 were down from Chicago about 3 weeks ago to visit my sister and me. Richard says Albert was bur Bellingham, Wash.

Yankeetown in an early day was sometimes called Hurricane Point. The community club in the school district between Mt Pulaski and Chestnut where I was b and where I taught school for 10 years invited me last spring to come and give them a talk on the early days of that vicinity. In looking over the early school records they had seen some allusion to Hurricane Point and asked where that was. Not one present knew, but when I told them it was the same as Yankeetown they all understood for all knew where Yankeetown was and is. Simply a thickly settled neighborhood.

I think you once spoke of your father and mine as having been b the same year 1809. Am I right? Abraham Lincoln was b 1809 also. He and my father were good friends. My father used to help him when he was surveying in Menard Co Ill and he went to my father's house for dinner at least on one occasion. That was before my time however, but I have seen Lincoln several times, in fact quite often. He used to plead cases in the building which is now our P.O. It was then the Co Court House.

I have delayed answering you for a long time. I have written a little at a time. I am busy all the time, as I believe one should be. I am sorry I have not been able to give you more data. I have used a very poor system in filling in the blanks, but if there is any part of it you do not understand don't hesitate to ask me to explain, or ask any other questions you wish and I will do the best I can, and I will promise to be more prompt next time.

Although I cannot answer all your questions you cannot say that I have not written at sufficient length. I certainly appreciate your contributions. It has been a great help to me.

Today I received from Springfield the letters written to me by the Rev Stanly O Royal giving data and names of chn of my gt gn fa Tho Royal a Rev Sol. If you think they would be of any interest to you I would gladly send you a copy.

Wishing you good health and hoping that you may get an abundance of material from which to choose for your book, I am,

Yours sincerely,

R. D. Clark

What follows filled (numbered) pages 11 and 12 of the photostatic document and may or may not have been a part of the same original letter.

Three of the 4 sons of David Clark1 & wf Mrs. Sarah (Scudder) Winans who had families came to Ill. Those of David2, Isaac7, John11. Three of the chn of James17 also came to Ill.

I have talked with and written to many of the descendants, but have been unable thus far to find or hear of any one who had any records even as far back as the 1st David1 except those left by David now in the possession of Miss May Harding19 of Rockwell City, Iowa and those left by my father David Ward Clark9 with such additions as I have been able to collect from time to time from different sources. If you happen to know of any one who has records so far back I would be pleased to have their address.

Mrs. Mary Harding16, mother of May sent Prof S.R. Winans data from the records of her gn fa David Clark2 about 1892. I also sent data to Prof Winans, Albert Clark, Rev Geo W Clark of Hightstown, F.L. Clark of New London N.H., Rev Geo E Carey33, and many others. Some one seems to have gotten mixed up a little, such as the d date and name of my gn ma, Ann Isgrig11, the Geo Almarian Carey names34, &c. I have copies of some of your letters written to Albert Clark4 who sent them to me for answers, but I could not give him the answers to all the questions.

Frank L Clark referred me to Miss Emma Johnson of 375 Broad St, Westfield, N.J. This was back in 1905 and I neglected to write to her. A letter so addressed might not reach her now. For records of Phoebe (Clark) Carey5 I have but little except from the notes of Mrs Ward Hunter35 sent to me by Mrs Harbaugh.

I have not the least doubt but that you have the most nearly complete records of the Winans family extant. A party in Washington D.C. once wrote and told me where the records of Prof Winans were. I suppose you know where they are however as you and Mr Winans used to exchange notes. I do not now recall the name or address of the party who has them but think I could find it if necessary.

Rev Geo W Clark says Richard Clark was the gn fa of Abraham the signer. No! He was A's gt-gr-father. IW Was Thomas, the fa of Abraham, a son of Richard? Ans: No! Thomas3, Thomas2, Richard1 IW Wonder if the Carys of Miami Co, O, were related to Alice & Phoebe Carey. Some of the relatives here thought they were but neither Prof Winans nor I could find that they were. Ans: My Twentieth Century Home Encyclopedia (1905) has: "Alice Cary, an American poetess born near Cincinnati, O, Apr 26, 1820. In 1852 she, with her sister Phoebe, removed to New York City where they lived the rest of their lives. She died in New York City Feb 21, 1871. Phoebe Cary, an American poetess & prose writer, sister of Alice, born in Cincinnati, O, Sep 4, 1824. She died in Newport, R.I., July 31st, 1871." Doubtless all Carys or Careys are kinsmen.36

Sep 27, 1924

Ira Winans

Who was Robert D. Clark, anyway? We've created a separate page for his biography and obituary, which we hope you'll visit.

1 David Clark (1737?-1802?) and Sarah (Winans) Scudder (1737-1807) were my 4th great grandparents. Sarah was married first to Jacob Scudder, with whom she had one son, Matthias Scudder (1760?-1827).
2 Their son, Rev. David Ward Clark (1776-1847), married first Rachel Rutter (?-1804), and then another Sarah Winans (1788-1843), which has helped add to the confusion of everybody researching this line! Most of the Sarahs mentioned in this letter were nicknamed Sal, Sally or Sallie.
3 Samuel Winans (1746-1830) was my 4th great grandfather. We'll come across a lot of marriages between cousins, which further adds to our confusion.
4 Albert Clark (1857-1921) was R. D.'s first cousin.
5 George Carey (1759?-1846?) and Phebe Clark (1765?-1850) were my 3rd great grandparents.
6 Sarah Clark (1813-?) married an Almarian Carey, who does not seem to be related to our own Carey line. We've received some information on Sal and Almarian's family from a variety of sources which is now a part of this family album.
7 Sarah was the daughter of Isaac Clark (1780-1846) by his first wife, Lydia Zeliph. Isaac was probably the youngest child of the David and Sarah Clark1.
8 William Royal Clark (1823-1906) was the half brother of Sarah Clark6. He was the son of Isaac Clark by Isaac's second wife, Sarah Royal (1793-1846).
9 R. D.'s mother was Hannah Stought (1810-1897). His father was David Ward Clark (1809-1892).
10 Undoubtedly Sal's sister, Elizabeth Clark (1816-1904), who married Enos "Billy" Jewel (1806-1890). I'm not sure who R. D. means by "her son". Sal's only son that we know of was John Wesley Carey, who was more than ten years younger than R. D. They could have attended the same school, but not at the same time. Or could he have meant Sal's stepson, Francis "Frank" Carey, who was about four years older than R. D.?
11 That is correct. David Ward Clark's father, John Winans Clark (1779-1859), was Phebe (Clark) Carey's brother. John was married to Ann Isgrig (1783-1867). Ann's first name appears in many sources as "Nancy", but R. D.'s comments should clear up any confusion on this subject.
12 Adelaide Whitney (1868-1914)'s mother was indeed Albert Clark's first cousin, just as R. D. diagrammed it. Here's another case of cousins marrying each other in these Clark and Winans lines.
13 Sarah Winans Clark (1820-1908) was one of the Clarks who was born in Miami county, OH, and made the trek to Logan county, IL. She married Norman Norton (1815-1867).
14 Her brother Isaac T. Clark (1818-1872) married Emma Jewel (1832-1871).
15 Willard G. Whitney (1832-1920) married Georgianna B. Norton (1844-1898).
16 Mary Ellen (Clark) Harding (1847-1914) was a first cousin of R. D. Clark.
17 He was probably referring to four of the sons of the David and Sarah Clark1: James (1772-1851), David2 (1776-1847), Isaac7 (1780-1846), and John11 (1779-1859), although the repetition of the same names in several different families makes this uncertain.
18 Olive (Clark) Baker (1862-?). I had a death date of 1904 for Olive, but this is obviously an error if she wrote to R. D. Clark in 1922!
19 May Harding (1867-?) was the first child of Mary Clark16 and Benjamin Harding. Her real first name was Florence. Cousin Cheryl Rothwell) comments, "Mary Ellen Clark Harding is my great great grandmother. Her OTHER daughter, Eliza,31 was living in Mt. Pulaski near Robert Clark when he wrote that. Wonder why he didn't just ask her."
20 Now R. D. is going way back into his Winans line. Samuel Winans (1671-1747) was one of the sons of John Winans (1640?-1694?), who immigrated to America in about 1664, and his wife Susannah Melyn (1643-1692?). Samuel's wife's name may have been Zerviah (1684-1737). Her last name is not known.
21 Conrad Winans (1680?-1728) was Samuel's younger brother. His wife was Sarah Palmer (1688?-1732). They were my 6th great grandparents.
22 Hannah Winans married Thomas Clark (1701-1765).
23 Jonathan Winans (1710-1774) married Susannah Mills (1708-?). They were my 5th great grandparents, and were the parents of Sarah Winans1, who married David Clark and started off this long list of Clark descendants.
24 Abraham Clark (1726-1794) represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. As far as we know, R. D. Clark's diagram is correct. We have yet to find any connection between the signer's line and our own Clarks, other than the facts that they were living in the same area in NJ and that men in both lines married Winans women.
25David Clark (1803-?) and Nancy Flowers were married 19 Jan 1824 in Miami county, OH, according to the MVGI.
26Eliza Ann Trimmins Clark (1841-1908) was the daughter of "Yankee John" Clark (1799-1885) and Permelia Price (1802-1855). Eliza, or "Trimmy", married William Clark Webster (1833-1914), and moved to Kansas with him. As R. D. notes, they are both Winans descendants.
27Joseph Coe Webster (1824-1873).
28Isaac Clark's second wife, Sarah Royal (1793-1846), was married first to Anthony Stought. Hannah 9 Stought was their daughter.
29Jennie Seaburn (1773?-?) married James Clark17.
30Sarah H. "Sally" Clark (1817-1849) married John Riddle (1809-1878). I was given a date of "1899" by Lyle for Sally's death, but in view of R. D.'s comment that he didn't know her, the 1849 date may be more accurate.
31Eliza (Harding) Rupp was the second child of Mary Clark16 and Benjamin Harding. That's her in the middle of the picture with her mom to her right and her sister May19 on her left. We thank Pamela Erlenbush for donating this photo.
32Richard Winans Clark (1869-?) moved to Florida in 1929.
33 Rev. George E. Carey (1870-1945) was the father of Warren E. Carey and the uncle of my father.
34 I don't know what R. D. Clark might have meant by the "George Almarian Carey names". He refers to Phebe Clark5's husband elsewhere as "George Carey" and refers to an "Almarian" who was Sal Clark6's husband but doesn't seem to make any connection between the two other than this cryptic reference. I've seen Phebe's husband listed as "George Almarian Carey" in several gedcoms which have been posted on the World Wide Web, or sent to me, but I doubt that George, who was born some time around 1759, had any middle name. The custom of assigning middle names to children didn't come into vogue until around the end of the 18th Century.
35 This is the Anna Cora Enyart (1861-1916) who wrote a similar long letter to Ira Winans in 1911. Just what did R. D. Clark know about George and Phebe besides what he learned from Coe Hunter? It is likely that R. D.'s knowledge of them was limited because they remained behind in Ohio when most of their Clark kinfolk moved west to Illinois in the late 1820's. With communications somewhat primitive on the frontier, these families may not have "kept in touch".
36 'Taint necessarily so, Ira! There are an awful lot of Careys running around these United States who don't seem to have any kind of relationship to the Careys in our Family Album! I've never found any connection between our Careys and these two "poetesses".
This page was last updated 22 Sep 2011.