Was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania October 7, 1790, and in youth attended the common schools of his neighborhood. In 1797 his parents removed to Washington County, in the same State, where he grew to manhood. War having been declared against Great Britain in 1812, by the United States, all those capable of bearing arms in the contest were either drafted or volunteered for the service. Washington County during the Revolution and subsequent struggles, had suffered severely by the incursions of the red men from Sandusky and the Scioto. From the temper evinced by the mother country, it was apprehended that so far as her agents could corrupt and inflame the passions of the tribes of the northwest against our people they would do so. Her agents secretly gave to the fierce red men ammunition, blankets, and arms, as the price of human scalps. They regarded the Americans as rebels in rebellion, and in a relentless war expected to subdue our people. The border settlers were aroused, and a most determined effort was put forth to turn back the red fiend, headed by British bayonets, and thus parry every attempt to subdue our country a second time. The young men of Washington County, in 1813, of the proper age, were drafted into the service. Mr. Clark was among those who drew a place in the service, and was soon enrolled. The heroic victory on Lake Erie, by Commodore Perry, and the brave conduct of Captain Crogan, turned back the red hordes of the northwest, headed by British bayonets, and thus repelled invasion, by lake and land, and by the time the troops of western Pennsylvania had reached Pittsburgh, a lull in the contest soon caused a declaration of peace, and Mr. Clark and his comrades were discharged without further service. He was in no battle, but evinced his readiness for the fray.
In 1814 he entered, at the land office, his late home in Orange Township. When he visited his land he came by way of Wheeling, Zanesville, Coshocton, up the Walhonding, the Lake and Jerome forks, by Finley’s, to the block house on Jerome’s farm, and thence up the stream by what became the home of Jacob Young, to his own location northwest of what is now the village of Orange, on the waters of Mohican. In 1818 he built a small cabin on his land, and kept bachelor’s hall during the summer season, doing his own cooking, grubbing, chopping, and preparing his land, and in the fall returned home and engaged in teaming to “old Pitt.” In this manner he continued to labor on his land, each summer, for seven successive years. When he came out in 1818, he was accompanied by his brother John, and stayed all night a Uniontown, now Ashland, at the cabin hotel of Joseph Sheets, just opposite the present hardware store of Mr. Stull, on the north side of Main street. Mr. Sheets deceased several years since; but Mrs. Nancy Sheets, the former landlady, resides in South Ashland, possessing a good deal of energy, and quite a vigorous mind, for an aged lady. For some time after his arrival wild game was abundant. Mr. Clark was a good marksman, and easily procured plenty of venison, wild turkeys and occasionally a black bear. These he dressed and cooked according to his taste. Wolves were very numerous and bold. He related that on several occasions, having no door to his cabin, wolves ventured in during the night and actually carried away meat and other articles. On one occasion he killed and dressed a large, fat turkey, expecting to enjoy the luxury of roasting and eating the same. On going to bed he hung it up in his cabin; but when he arose next morning he found that during the night some howling, hungry wolf had carried it away and devoured it while he slept.
He was repeatedly visited by bands of Delaware Indians, from the Fire Lands, during their encampment and hunts in the neighborhood. These Indians were very poor, and miserably clad. They were always apparently hungry, and in a begging humor. They often got corn meal and other food from him, and agreed to pay him in deer skins and peltry for it, but invariably forgot to remember the agreement. Mr. Clark, in his prime, was fully six feet high, and would weigh one hundred and eighty pounds. He was very resolute in his manner, and frank in his interviews with the Indians, and hence was never uncivilly treated by them. These Indians had a number of wigwams, or bark huts, three quarters of a mile northwest of him, in what is now Troy Township. Old Tom Lyons, Jonacake and his squaw, Catottawa, and other Indians, often came to his cabin, on their hunting excursions. He was also visited on several occasions by the eccentric, but harmless, Johnny Appleseed, who was engaged in planting, on Mason’s run, a nursery in advance of the pioneers.
These were solitary times; but Mr. Clark often stated that, being busily engaged in clearing and preparing his farm, time passed rapidly, and he really enjoyed himself working, and occasionally traversing the wild forests in search of game. When he entered the township, he was of the opinion there were not over sixteen or seventeen families in it. Joel Mackerel, John Bishop, and Peter Biddinger were his nearest neighbors. Mr. Biddinger was a blacksmith, and also repaired guns and tomahawks for the Indians.
At that time two shillings a day, and twenty-five cents a hundred for cutting and splitting twelve foot rails, in trade, was the customary price. He often traveled five miles on foot, to help roll logs or raise a cabin, and was really glad to assist in this manner all new settlers. There were no improved roads; all was new, and no road fund to repair highways. The willing hands and stout arms of the resolute pioneer had it all to do, and right cheerfully did they perform the task. It was some years before the advantages of good schools were enjoyed by the rising generation.
Mr. Clark dwelt on the reminiscences of the past, the growth of the country in population, intelligence and wealth, and regarded the change that had occurred in this region, as simply wondrous in the last sixty-one years. In 1830, he married Miss Charlotte Myers, daughter of Jacob Myers, of Clearcreek, by whom he had four sons, Josephus, John, M.L., and James M. Clark, and two daughters, Mary A. McBride and Mrs. C. Sharrick. Mrs. Clark died in 1841, and Mr. Clark subsequently married a Miss Marshall, who, at an advanced age, survives her husband, and resides at the home of James M. Clark, on the old homestead. Mr. Clark and his aged lady enjoyed the filial attentions of the family, and esteem of all his pioneer neighbors, and life ebbed quietly away, and at eighty-nine years he became gradually feeble, and gently passed over the dark river to a better and happier land July 7, 1879.
A deep veneration for the memory of these fathers and mothers of a new country pervades the rising generation. In the last twelve months we have parted with over twenty-five of the pioneers of the county, who have been gathered to their fathers. Ere long the last will disappear from among us. It is a grateful duty we owe them to smooth their departing hours by kind and respectful attention, ere we are called upon to enjoy the fruits of their toil and valor.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell firstname.lastname@example.org