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Biography - JOHN L. CLARK

We have now to consider the career of a pioneer and the son of a pioneer, - a man who, with the good example of an honest, intelligent and enterprising father before him, has made his way to a position of prominence in the business and social circles of LaSalle county, along lines which commend him to his fellow citizens and assure him that self-satisfaction belongs of right to the man whose aims are high, whose methods are good and whose success is in every way praiseworthy.

Such a man is John L. Clark, of Ottawa, Illinois, a son of the late Hon. James Clark, one of the most prominent men in this part of the state. James Clark, father of John L. Clark, was born in Ashburnham parish, Sussex, England, September 9, 1811, a son of James and Ann (Westen) Clark, and died at Utica, Illinois, in 1888. He learned the coachmaker's trade in England, and in 1830 came to the United States and located at Grafton, Ohio. After farming there four years he came to Utica, Illinois, and in 1835 bought two hundred and forty acres of land. He lived in a log house for ten years. He was contractor for a portion of the Illinois & Michigan canal, which work he finished in 1848. In 1849 he was appointed first postmaster of Utica, and held the office continuously for fourteen years. He began the manufacture of hydraulic cement in 1845. Later his son, John L. Clark, was associated with him in the business, which reached an annual production of one hundred thousand barrels. Under the firm name of James Clark & Son they bought grain extensively at Utica from i860 until 1878. From 1867 until 1869 they manufactured stoneware pottery. In 1869 they became associated with William White and began the manufacture of sewer pipe and drain tile, the first factory of the kind of any importance in the county, and they continued until 1878, when they leased the property and retired from the business. As early as 1852 James Clark & Son commenced the shipment of sand from Utica to St. Louis for the manufacture of glass; also large quantities were shipped to the different iron manufacturers. They continued this business until 1877. In 1883 the hydraulic cement enterprise passed into the control of a joint stock company, of which Mr. Clark was president. Upon the completion of the Rock Island Railroad, in 1853, Mr. Clark was made its agent, a position which he held for many years. He was long a member of the board of supervisors of LaSalle county, and he was a member of the Illinois legislature in 1870-71 and served on the committee on canals and on other committees of equal importance. He was a man of strict business integrity and of honest, upright principles, as well as of indomitable will and tireless energy.

He was twice married, - first to Charlotte Sargent, a native of England, who died August 12, 1877; and his second wife was Mary J., nee Cary. James Clark and Charlotte Sargent were married September 18, 1830, and they had children as follows: John L., born in Ohio, July 8, 1832; James, born in Ohio, November 4, 1833, died August 4, 1845; Charlotte, born April 29, 1838, married John B. Peckham, and is now a widow living at Danville, Illinois; Ann W., born in Illinois, December 31, 1841, died March 27, 1848.

John L. Clark attended school in the old county court house at Ottawa. The teacher was a Mrs. Towell. Later he attended the Mount Palatine Academy, in Putnam county, Illinois. After leaving school he assisted his father in the hydraulic cement business at Utica, and in time became his partner. He was connected with the enterprise until 1879; in 1882 he moved to Iowa and engaged in farming on a tract of seven hundred and twenty acres of land in Hancock county, which he purchased. In 1888 he returned to Illinois and located at Ottawa, and has since given his time to the supervision of his general business interests. He was elected supervisor in 1872 and served two terms.

Mr. Clark was married October 29, 1856, to Miss Julia Hardy, a daughter of Truman Hardy, of Utica township. Mrs. Clark was born in Vermont, October 29, 1834. Her great-grandfather, Lemuel Hardy, was born in 1737 and died in 18 13. The grandfather, Silas Hardy, born March 13, 1763, served as captain in the war of 1812, and died December 6, 1827. Truman Hardy, the father of Mrs. Clark, was born at Monkton, Vermont, June 4, 1792, served in war of 1812, and died in Utica township, November 22, 1869.

The following brief mention of Mr. Clark's children will be found of interest: J. Truman is a graduate of the Northwestern University and is a dentist living and practicing in Chicago; Charlotte became the wife of E. G. Osman, a publisher of Chicago; George H. was graduated with the degree of M. D. at Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and took special courses in the hospitals of London, England, Vienna, Austria, and is practicing his profession at Humboldt, Iowa; Jessie married T. J. Lynch, a prominent merchant of Ottawa, Illinois; and Julia lives with her parents.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 194-196.

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