The Clark family early history
Before considering the years that I actually lived in Sudbury, let me provide a bit of history so that you can understand the environment and the family that I would be joining. I will be starting with the Clark family’s arrival in this New World. Then we’ll take a short genealogical trip through time to get to the point that Tommy arrives on the scene. It all started many years before I was born, so here goes.
A ship called “Venture” was slowly sailing into Boston harbor with a load of excited passengers. The trip had been long and true test of endurance for all onboard. Normally summer crossings from England, are relatively calm. During this particular voyage however, they had encountered two severe storms. During the stronger of the two, eight souls were lost. To make matters worse, most of the food and water provisions had been spoiled after being deluged by the sea.
Even before the ship’s anchor had embedded itself into the bottom of the harbor, Mr. Hugh Clark and his wife Elizabeth were in the first long boat headed for shore. Memories of their troubles back in England were quickly fading. Each had come from a family of different social standings and upon their marriage both had been immediately disowned. Without his family’s wealth, they had been forced to pay passage by selling or trading everything they owned and had even bartered with the ship’s captain for work onboard. Hugh had agreed to learn the trade of a blacksmith, while Elizabeth cooked, cleaned, and sewed. That was behind them now, and as crewmembers rowed the long boat towards shore, they could finally see The New World
Arriving into the chaos of human animation during the latter week of August 1636, they quickly became confused and disoriented. Walking down the street looking about, they overheard talk of a new village called Watertown. It sounded ideal to both of them and they readily agreed that with their work experience they could easily make a new life for themselves in this newly burgeoning village.
During their 20 years in Watertown, Hugh, indeed, worked as a blacksmith until he was finally able to purchase a small farm. As a respectable farmer, now known as a “Husbandman” and admitted as a Freeman in 1660 and to the Artillery Co.in 1666. He now has a respectable position. This same year, they moved to Roxbury where he died in 1693. His wife, Elizabeth, predeceased him the prior year in 1692. During their life together, they had raised three wonderful and prosperous children John born in 1641, Uriah born in 1644 and finally Elizabeth in 1648. Life’s seed had been sown for a multigenerational family that has spread over the vastness of New England and beyond.
Their son John married an Elizabeth Norman of Boston in 1684. This was John’s second marriage, with the first ending tragically in 1682 when his then wife, Abagail, fell to her death from a speeding wagon. John had received sixty-seven acres of land from his father’s estate, in New Cambridge, which would ultimately become Newtown. Thus, he and his wife moved there from Roxbury, where he built a sawmill on the Upper Falls, which was the first to be built on the Charles River, within the limits of Newton.
During their life, they raised seven children. Of interest to us is the eldest son, John born in 1680. In 1697, John married Ann Pierce of Dorchester and they lived in Newtown where he became a selectman. He died in 1730, while Ann passed on in 1748.
John and Ann raised six children, with the fifth child, a son, Isaac born in 1707. In 1729, Isaac married Experience Wilson of Newtown. They resided in Framingham and then Hopkinton until his death in 1783.
Isaac and Experience expanded the Clark name by raising ten children. Following our family line, the son of interest is their ninth child, William born in 1753. William married Thankful Rogers of Conn. He served in the Revolution and in 1787 moved to Windham, Greene County, NY. Then in 1832 he suddenly lost his eyesight and in 1834 moved to Saline, Washtenaw Co., Mich., to live with his daughter Eliza Clark Shaw (Isaac’s sister), where he died in 1737.
Here are some special notes that you may find interesting:
- Because William fought in the revolution, members of the family are members of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) or SAR (Sons of).
- Thankful Rogers from Brandford, CT and is descended from the Rogers family of the Mayflower.
William and Thankful, also expanded the family by raising four children. Again, in our family line, their second born child, Isaac, was born in 1806. Isaac returned from Windham in NY to Hopkinton and lived with a Capt. John Stone until 1827, when he then moved to Framingham, West Boylston and then on to Sudbury around 1830. Three years later, in 1833, Isaac married Almira Osborn of Sudbury. Subsequently they were living on the Osborn farm, which they ultimately renamed Clarklands.
- Another special note here: Ancestors of Almira Osborn, Daniel and Samuel marched from the Osborn farm to Concord on May 19, 1775 to battle the British.
Isaac and Almira managed to add six more children to the family. Their sixth child, Franklin Pierce born in 1846, committed suicide in the barn at Clarklands on November 14, 1908. His twin brother Frederic Lummus, born December 6, 1871 is on our path leading toward Tommy.
A Chance Meeting
On a nice sunny day during the spring of 1904 in Princeton, Massachusetts, a small country town about 56 miles to the west of Boston, Maude Moore decided to take ride into town. She was visiting at the home of Susan Minns, a longtime family friend. Susan’s summer home, a Victorian Mansion, was located at the top of a mountain known as Little Wachusett, just outside the center of town. Being a wealthy family they, also, owned other properties across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Beacon Hill of Boston was the location of their primary home. Money was certainly not an issue for them and it allowed Maude and her three siblings to attend college during the depression years. At the time, Maude was attending Fitchburg State University, which is about 8 miles to the north of Princeton. She was unaware that during this ride, she would have a chance encounter that would change her life.
Maude was a simple gal who loved life and all of its children. She was born July 1881 in Marlboro, Massachusetts and was the daughter of James S. Moore of Prictau, Nova Scotia and his wife Hannah L. Fay. They lived in Sterling, Massachusetts, but Maude quite often spent days at a time with Susan. Her mother Hanna was a distant relative to Susan Minns’ father and worked at the estate as Susan’s personal aide. As a side note, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts received the mountain and all buildings located there upon Susan’s death. In her will, it stipulated that it was to become a bird sanctuary; it became known as the Minns Wildlife Refuge. As of this writing, this refuge still exists.
On the same day of Maude’s ride, after a weeklong journey traveling with a herd of cows, Frederic Clark and his good friend and farmhand Jim were nearing the end of the trail. This had taken them from the farm, in Sudbury, to Fredric’s uncle Everett’s farm on the mountain in Princeton. It had been an annual trek since the 1860s as there was cooler weather and better grazing grounds there. Everett was the oldest brother of Frederic’s father and they rented fields from him for their general herd, while the prize cattle stayed back in Sudbury for breeding purposes.
Walking along Fred declared, “Well, my friend it looks like we’re coming to the end of another long trek. This year the weather has treated us very fairly. Let’s just hope that it continues for a few more hours. I don’t like the look of those clouds hanging over Wachusett mountain. Looks like there may be a storm heading our way.”
“I think you’re right Fred. Do you think we’ll make Everett’s place before it hits. Maybe we could kick these cows a bit to hurry them up?” asked Jim.
“I’d like nothin better than to get them a movin a bit faster but they’ve been walking for a full week and I don’t want them hurtin’ any more than they already are. I think if nothin holds us up and we keep a steady pace, we should be alright.” says Fred.
Walking along for a few more minutes, they noticed a horse and carriage headed their way at a pretty good clip and it showed no signs of slowing down. As it drew closer and closer, they were becoming a little concerned for their herd as well as the horse pulling the wagon. At the last minute they started jumping up and down, waving their arms trying to get the drivers attention. Finally drawing the horse to a stop, with only a few feet to spare, Fred yelled, “Hey you up there in the seat are you trying to…” He was stopped mid-sentence when his eyes fell upon the young, beautiful girl sweetly looking down at him, Maude.
“You were saying something?” came a sweet, demure voice.
Speechless for a moment, Fred finally blurted out “Do know that your horse almost stepped on my foot?”
Looking down, a slight smile slowly inched its way onto the right side of her mouth and ended up with her laughing uncontrollably. Fred and Jim just stood there with their mouths hanging open, not thinking that this was any sort of laughing matter. Enchanted by her charm and humor, they began laughing themselves. Staring at each other, openly laughing hard, the ground suddenly shook with a tremendous boom! Flashing a quick look at Jim, only to see fear in his eyes, Fred started yelling, “Jim we gotta get this herd under cover. We’ll never make it to Everett’s farm in time. Do you see any place to take cover?”
Looking around trying to think as the rain began coming down in buckets, they heard Maude’s voice. “I’m staying at the Minns’ place and they have a big barn, it’s not that far up the hill from here. I can try and put my carriage behind them and move them along a little quicker.”
“That’s a great idea.” Fred yelled and the three of them started moving the cows up the hill and finally into the dry interior of the barn, shutting the big doors behind them, about a half an hour later.
“Now that was a close call, I’m very beholden to you for arriving just when you did, Miss…?”
“Oh I’m sorry, I’m Maude. Maude Moore that is, from Sterling.”
Fred responds, “Nice to meet you Miss Moore. I’m Fredric Clark, but you can call me Fred. This is my good friend James. We run a farm in Sudbury called Clarklands and bring our herd up here each summer so they can feed on my uncle’s fields. Maybe you know of him, Everett Clark?”
“Why yes, I do believe I‘ve met him. He has a farm just around this hill, right? I’m visiting with the Minns. They’re some sort of long distance relatives and my mother works with Susan.”
After a bit of light conversation they realized that they were standing in drenched clothes and were very cold. Fred, however seems to have something else on his mind and it’s not the cold. It’s this beautiful woman standing in front of him. Remembering her help in getting the herd up the hill, he thought, ‘This is my kind of gal, beautiful, smart and willing to get wet and dirty.’
As Maude and Fred gaze into each other’s eyes, the next few years of courtship pass in a moment. They were married on June 4, 1906 in Princeton. Fred had been born and raised in Sudbury and had inherited the 300 acre family farm. At age 24, Maude is on her way to his farm to begin their new family and life together.
Over the years, both Frederic and Maude became involved in the running of the town. He working with transportation and police matters. Maude had always been worried about and took care of children in need. She therefore, became the head of the welfare department in town. In this capacity, she started taking children into her own home on a temporary basis. Over the years, she had 33 children living with her at one time or another, adopting one of the last to become her daughter, Peg. I was one of these children and as it turns out, her last.