Lyle Black, a cousin in Illinois who is related a lot more closely to the Rev. Jasper Clark than I am, sent me these newspaper excerpts, which are as interesting for their descriptions of small-town midwestern life in 1889 as they are for the details of Rev. Clark's ministerial career...
LIVERPOOL, ILL., Dec. 31, 1888. EDITOR LEDGER: Jasper Clark preached in the M. E. church last night. There have not been and [sic] prayer and class meetings, nor Sunday school, here since Dubree forced himself back on us and broke up the class. It created such bad feeling among the members that the class and Sunday school both played out. Last night Jasper Clark reorganized the Sunday school with the following officers: Sup't, R. P. Smilee; assistant, Albert Beatty; sec'y, Lewis Whitehead; treas., Alice Foster. Teachers to be supplied.
Rev. Ashby will preach for us Saturday evening next.
Miss Rose Dubree, who has been in poor health for some time, is better.
A social party at George Havens' Friday night last. Wm. Smith, of Peoria county, furnished excellent music.
A Happy New Year to all.1
--The river is open yet.
--Jasper Clark preached for us Sunday morning.
--Elder Judy closed his meetings at the Chapel Sunday night.
--Mrs. Suitler was quite low with asthma and neuralgia last week, but is better at this writing.
--Some of our hunters are painting decoys and preparing for the spring campaign, which will open about the middle of March.
--Ralph Whitehead put up some ice last week. He brought it from the lake in Mason County. It is only about six inches thick.2
LIVERPOOL, ILL., April 4, 1889. EDITOR LEDGER: Jasper Clark preached for us Sunday, at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Shoemaker occupied the pulpit Sunday evening. Rev. Judy was to have preached at 11:00 a.m., on Sunday, but failed to appear. The genral supposition is that he deferred on account of the bad weather.
Father Lowder, an old resident of Liverpool, who left here last fall to visit his daughter in Iowa, returned to Liverpool on the 22d ult. On meeting an old acquaintance for the first time after his return, who remarked, "You've come back to Liverpool to die, have you?" "Yes," said he, "I just told your son John, as I came by, if he is in town when I die to have me laid by the side of my wife, down there in the graveyard. I want to be laid there." This was on Friday. On Monday he took sick, and on the following Saturday died of pneumonia, aged 79 years. Father Lowder lived many years in Liverpool, and was well known by the surrounding community. Many years ago he and his wife became members of the M.E. church. His wife lived a good Christian up to her death, which occurred about eleven years ago. Father Lowder, like many others who started when he did, during these many years became quite cold and indifferent in the cause of religion; but a year ago last winter, during the revival, he again embraced religion, and lived a happy Christian life up to his death. His funeral services were conducted today, by Rev. Jasper Clark, and his remains were laid to rest as above requested.
W. B. Crothers opened his school at he Oakland school-house today. He taught the same last winter.
We had quite a rain on Sunday. The river continues to fall.3
--Mrs. John Sleeth is better at this writing.
--The river has risen quite rapidly in the last few days.
--There are no new cases of mumps or measles in the last week.
--"Buzz" Jennings, it is thought, will regain the sight of his eye. He says it is improving slowly.
--Albert Beaty, who has been in Sangamon County for the last two or three weeks, returned home last week.
--Jasper Clark and the Rev. Mr. Sewell preached for us Sunday at eleven o'clock. Mr. Clark will preach again in two weeks.
--Our school election, on Saturday, went all right, no battles fought, no arrests made, nobody voted more than once. "Buzz" Jennings was elected by four majority over Stanley Whitehead.4
--Fish are scarce.
--The river is falling a little.
--T. Sleeth finished planting sixty acres of corn last week.
--Mr. Krebaum, of Havana, is shipping his wheat from this place.
--The four heavy frosts last week did but little, if any, damage.
--Potato bugs have never been so numerous, at this time in the season, as at present.
--Samuel Whitehead's child, which was brought from Canton sick, last Friday, died Monday morning.
--Five new cases of measles have been reported within the last week, and one of mumps. They have all been of a mild form.
--Jasper Clark preached for us last Sunday morning. Although it was announced two weeks previously, half the members claim they didn't know he was present. Hence the slim attendance.5
--The river is still dropping a little.
--Our fruit crop will not be so heavy as anticipated.
--Stanley and Samuel Whitehead each lost a valuable cow last week.
--The Rev. Mr. Clark did not preach according to announcement. The cause was the death of his father.6
LIVERPOOL, ILL., October 17, 1889. EDITOR LEDGER: The river is very low and is still shrinking. S. O. Rakestraw has the nicest batch of nets, about seventy in number, that we know of, which in a few days will be arranged in ample order for the finny tribe.
R. F. Smilee's sportsmen have returned home. Mrs. Bigferd moved today to Lewistown. H. P. Foster will take possession tomorrow of the vacated house. Buzz Jenning has bought Mrs. Atkin's property here and will move in a few days. Emma Draper is fast recovering from typhoid fever.
As we were about to retire for the night Saturday evening last, the church bell rang. On Sunday we learned that Jasper Clark had preached a very good sermon to a very few people. Had the bell been rung an hour earlier there would have been many more in attendance who, as it was, were badly disappointed. We always deem it a treat to hear Jasper preach.7
Jasper is buried at nearby Mount Pleasant8 United Methodist Church. According to Lyle:
The tall stone in the foreground... is the stone for Jasper Nuton Clark, his first wife Barbara, and two of their children, Charles and Jenny.
His tombstone is listed in Cemetery Inscriptions of Fulton County, Vol. 5, Orion, Banner, Liverpool Townships, p. 91:
CLARK, Jasper Nuton, b. Apr. 9, 1848 -d. June 14, 1923, h/o Barbara R. Stout, s/o Zebediah & Millie Alsbury Clark.
Lyle supplied this photo of Jasper's father's tombstone, with its inscription still legible in 2001. Note the spelling - Zebdiah Clark. Lyle writes:
Mount Pleasant8 Methodist Church is where I went to church as a boy. It is surrounded on three sides by Apple Cemetery, in Liverpool Township, Fulton County, Illinois. Here some of Isaac Clark Sr.'s children and many descendants are resting. The zeb.jpg photo is the resting place just behind the church of Jasper's father Zebdiah. If you look on the right of that photo, and follow the line of beans to the left, that is where the old road between Lewistown and Liverpool ran. About 1/2 mile from the Apple Cemetery and along that road, a ways behind the barn you see in the upper left, is where the old Harper Hill Cemetery is. That cemetery is where Isaac Clark, Sr.9 and his second wife, Sarah (Royal) Stout Clark, are buried. Unfortunately that cemetery is overgrown and claimed as private ground by the current landowner.
That's Lyle standing in front of the Mount Pleasant8 United Methodist Church in this picture. It bears a striking resemblance, not only to Liverpool UMC8, but also to Bethel Hill UMC, which we once attended while living in Pennsylvania.
Take a look at Jasper Clark's picture, as well as more pictures of his church in Liverpool, and the reminiscences of a recent pastor there, on our Methodist preacher page!