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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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The birth of the venerated and esteemed subject of this sketch took place at a history-making period, not only on American but also on foreign soil, and his whole long and useful life, with its varied interests and honorable successes, has been one more or less connected with important events. Mr. Clark was born August 3, 1814, and is a son of Jesse Ashley and Rhoda (Hill) Clark.

The Clark family, from which Julius Taylor Clark descended, was founded in New England by three English emigrants of the name, who probably settled in Connecticut in colonial days. The great-grandfather was a resident there and was educated as an Episcopal (Church of England) clergyman but as in those early days all Episcopal clergymen in America were obliged to go to England for ordination, a dislike of crossing the ocean for this purpose caused him to leave that ecclesiastical connection and to unite with the Independents or Congregationalists, as they now are called. He served as a Congregational minister until his death. He left three sons: Jesse, Ashley and John.

Jesse Clark, the grandfather, married Tamma Wheeler, who died in the first year of marriage, leaving one son, Jesse Ashley, who was born May 25, 1789, at Spencertown, New York. Jesse Ashley Clark spent his early days with his grandfather Clark, but when yet a young man went to Northwestern Vermont, where he was employed in teaching and clerical work. He married Rhoda Hill, a daughter of Caleb and Cynthia (Strong) Hill. She was the oldest of 12 children who reached maturity. They owned and occupied the major portion of Isle-La-Matte, a beautiful island at the northern extremity of Lake Champlain. After marriage, Mr. Clark resided on this island and engaged in farming and teaching until 1820, when he removed to Malone, New York. During his period of residence on the island, these children were born, viz.: Justus McKinstry, December 27, 1812; Julius Taylor, August 3, 1814; Tamma Wheeler, August 25, 1816; and Abigail Ashley, February 17, 1819. Jack Wheeler Clark was born at Malone, March 9, 1821. The father was a resident of Ottawa, Illinois, when the mother of our subject died, in 1836. The father married again and at the time of death was survived by his widow and a son, Jesse Ashley, and a daughter, Harriet. They subsequently removed to San Francisco.

In the War of 1812, when the British troops crossed the Canada line in 1814, at Champlain, near the north end of the lake of that name, a detachment landed on Isle-La-Motte, taking all the men prisoners but releasing them on parole. Among these were the father and the maternal grandfather of Mr. Clark. Grandfather Hill was shot and killed by someone, while standing in his own door, either through accident or by design, but the prepetrator of the act was never discovered. Grandmother Clark was wont to tell that when the family saw the British soldiers coming, she caught our subject, then an infant, in her arms, while the mother carried the three-year-old brother into the bushes and there they remained hidden until the soldiers disappeared.

The paternal great-grandmother was a Scott and on her mother’s side she was an Ashley, a descendant of the celebrated Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftsbury, who was made a peer, as Baron Ashley, in 1661. Seth Strong, the father of our subject’s maternal grandmother, spent his last days with Grandmother Hill and died in her house on Isle-La-Motte.

In 1824 the father of our subject, removed from Malone, New York, to Fort Covington, Franklin County, and soon after to the village of Bombay, some five miles distant, where he engaged in a mercantile business until 1833, when he removed to Ottawa, Illinois. He was one of the original founders and proprietors of that city, preempting and purchasing the land from the government. He occupied a farm adjoining Ottawa, on the south side of the Illinois River, until 1840, when the whole family removed to Madison, Wisconsin. A few years later the father removed to the village of Cambridge, a few miles east of Madison, where he died in 1852, his remains being interred in a burial lot owned by our subject at Madison.

Julius Taylor Clark began his education at his mother’s knee and he has been assured that when but three years of age he was able to read and spell words of three syllables. His studies in preparation for a collegiate course, were pursued at Fort Covington, partly in a private school under Rev. J. A. Savage, D. D., and partly at the village academy. In 1833 he entered Union College, at Schenectady, where for three years he had the honor of standing with a few others, at the maximum head of the roll, for both scholarship and deportment, and from this institution he subsequently received the degree of M. A. During his last year in college he entered his name as a law student in the office of Potter & Page, in Schenectady, this firm being attorneys for the Albany & Utica Railroad, the longest road at that time in America. At the celebration on the completion of this road, Mr. Clark was one of the guests in the making of the initial trip. In the summer of 1836 he returned to his father’s home, then at Ottawa, removal having been made during his absence at college.

Mr. Clark completed his law studies under the instruction of Hon. Cyrus Walker, of Macomb, Illinois, and began practice at Ottawa. When his father removed to Madison, Wisconsin, he accompanied the family and there began the practice of the law with William M. Seymour, who was already well established there. After a limited period this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Clark succeeded to the entire practice, not a large one, as the town was not yet of great importance and the country was but thinly populated. In this way he found time to assist in the editing of the only newspaper published there, and also for reporting in the Upper House of the Legislature. He served also for some time as auditor of the Territory, under Governor James Duane Doty and Secretary Field. Subsequently he accepted the appointment of agent of the general government among the Chippewa Indians, to instruct them, as far as possible, in the ways and habits of civilized life. He remained several years in this capacity and then resumed his law practice at Madison, entering into partnership with Messrs. Catlin and Abbott. Mr. Catlin soon retired but the firm of Abbott & Clark continued for a number of years and after its dissolution Mr. Clark continued in practice alone until 1864. His health at this time was somewhat impaired through the strain and confinement of his profession and this induced him to remove to his large and well appointed farm just outside the city limits, where the active out-door life restored his health and where he enjoyed some four years of solid comfort.

In the summer of 1868 he disposed of his farm and removed with his family to Kansas, where he purchased 1,300 acres of land, adjoining the present town of Osage City in Osage County, and entered upon its stocking and improvement. However, he sold this land in the following year and removed to Topeka, accepting the position of secretary and superintendent, as he was already one of the proprietors, of the Topeka Gas Company. Mr. Clark continued in this capacity until the sale of the plant in 1895.

Mr. Clark was married, first, on May 3, 1846, at Madison, Wisconsin, to Palmyra S. Cornell, who died of tuberculosis on December 25, 1853, and was interred in her husband’s burial lot at Madison. She was survived by two sons, Julius Scott and Edgar Sterling. The former is a resident of Topeka and has a family of two sons and four daughters. The latter was named in honor of the first professor of the Wisconsin University, of which Mr. Clark was at that time one of the regents and secretary of the board. He was severely hurt by being thrown from a horse, from the effects of which he died at Burlingame, Kansas, September 10, 1869. His remains and those of a daughter, Jessie, who died in the same year, lie in the family lot at Topeka.

Mr. Clark was married second on December 28, 1854, to Juliet Millard, at Dubuque, Iowa, where she was principal of a ladies’ seminary under the auspices of Miss Mann, sister of the great philanthropist, Horace Mann, and an equally celebrated instructor. After a beautiful, devoted and happy wedded life of 45 years, Mrs. Clark died at Topeka, on April 30, 1899. She was tenderly laid to rest in the beautiful family enclosure in the Topeka Cemetery. Of the children of this second union, two died in infancy, the survivors being: Justus Millard, Winnifred and Mary Adaline. Justus Millard married Bertie Hammond and they have two children, Julius and Roy. By profession he is a civil engineer and at present is chief engineer in the construction of the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railroad. Winnifred was married on October 6, 1888, to L. H. Wolfe, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and they have two children, Jessie and Herman. Mary Adaline was married on October 6, 1895, to J. W. F. Hughes, of Topeka, and they have three children, James Clark, Alice Winnifred and Mary Juliet.

As noted, during his residence at Madison, Mr. Clark was one of the representative citizens. He was a member and was secretary of the first board of regents who laid the foundations of the celebrated University of Wisconsin, and upon him devolved the principal labor and responsibility of the undertaking. Mainly from the profits of the purchase and sale of a 160-acre tract of land adjoining the city, after reserving 40 acres for the use of the University, means were realized to erect the first of the university buildings. Congress also granted land and its sale assisted in furthering the work, but for a long time it was the brains of Mr. Clark which brought about the consummation of the great plans involved and assured the success of the undertaking. He was also a member of the board of regents of the State Normal schools from the time of their formation until his resignation on his removal from the State in 1868.

On the organization of the Kansas Children’s Home Society, in 1894, Mr. Clark was honored by being chosen president, an office he still holds. In 1900 he was elected one of the vice-presidents of the American Sunday School Union and in these organizations he has the veneration and love of thousands. He has always been interested in the Kansas State Historical Society and at various times he has added valuable documents and data. Mr. Clark is the author of the well-known book “Ojibwa Conquest,” which he wrote during his residence among the Chippewa Indians, but which he did not place before the public until his retirement from active business. He is connected with various social bodies.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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