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Genealogy of Cephas Clark
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Genealogy,New Hampshire,Vermont | No Comments
Among the ambitious and adventurous spirits that sought homes in the northern part of Vermont were three sons of Cephas Clark, namely Silas, Samuel, and Cephas, all of whom settled in Glover. This was a township granted to a general of that name as a reward for military services in the Revolutionary War. A statue of General Glover stands on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, and a bronze memorial tablet in his honor has been placed on the house in Glover Street in Marblehead, Massachusetts, in which he lived.
The design of this work is to treat from now on of the history of the three sons of Cephas Clark who emigrated to and settled in the northern part of Vermont.
Silas (Cephas) Clark, born in Keene, New Hampshire, November 30, 1777, was married in that town February 20, 1805, to Betsey Wyman. Very soon thereafter he journeyed with his young wife, by the crude and uncomfortable mode of the times, to what was to be their future home in Glover. He purchased a lot of eighty acres at a sheriff’s sale for $3.59, situated at a place called Keene Corner, so named because a few families who came from Keene had located in that neighborhood. Here he lived until 1827, when he removed to a lot near the northern end of “Runaway Pond,” which I shall mention later. On this lot he built the hostelry known as Clark’s Tavern, and conducted it the remainder of his life. His son Charles succeeded him until his death in 1859. Thereafter members of his family continued the business several years. A regular stage line passed that way, and this was a convenient half-way house for travellers between Montpelier and the northern towns of Orleans County. With the building of the railroads and with other changes in the activities of the people, the business of the tavern decreased, and it ceased to be an inn. The old buildings remain and tell
“But a dim remembered story
Of the old time entombed.”
Silas Clark was active, energetic, and public spirited. He cut and hauled by oxen the first liberty pole ever erected in Glover. He was directly connected with an event that occurred in that town on the sixth of June, 1810, which is historic. Through the southern part of the township ran an elevation of land that divided the flow of waters between the north and the south. Upon this elevation was a pond a mile and a half long, a mile wide and sixty feet deep, discharging its waters southward into the Lamoille River. About a mile below, northerly, there was a much smaller pond, whose outlet was a slender stream on which was a mill, to operate which, in dry seasons, the waters of this little stream were insufficient. With a purpose to increase the size of that stream, it was decided to tap the larger pond on its northerly side. Accordingly, about thirty men, most of them from motives of curiosity, assembled on the day mentioned to witness the operation. Silas Clark, aided by two or three other men, with spades in hand, constructed a trench and at the finish broke into the pond and invited the waters to descend northward. A stream poured forth and all seemed to be going well, when suddenly the water disappeared. One of the men stepped into the channel to ascertain the cause. An appalling noise was heard, and the earth where the company stood began to sink. The man in the channel was pulled out by his hair and all parties made haste to gain higher ground. It appeared that the composition of the northern bank of the pond was only treacherous quicksand, capped by a layer of hard substance impervious to water, that kept in place that great body. Into this quicksand the water settled and carried away the entire embankment. Gaining additional force by uniting with the smaller pond, the augmented volume tore away the barrier of the latter and rushed onward, bearing everything before it and finally emptying itself into Lake Memphremagog. In its course trees were uprooted and pushed along upright, obstructing the flow until its increasing strength broke away the dam and left the waters free to pursue their onward course of destruction. Every building before the mighty torrent was swept away. Huge rocks, of the weight of many tons, were loosened from their moorings and carried long distances from their natural beds. The fleetest runner of the party volunteered to warn the inhabitants in the path of danger, and his admonition prevented the loss of any lives, although there were hair-breadth escapes.
The locality is known by the name of Runaway Pond. A carriage road runs through it. The historical interest that the event creates, and the attractions that the natural beauties afford, bring year by year many visitors to this charming spot. Note the illustration on another page.
Parties in Lamoille County, claiming that their property was injured by the draining of this basin, instituted a suit against Silas Clark and two others for damages. The case was kept along year after year, by a practice that seems not entirely to have gone out of use in these modern times. Finally all the parties died. No decision was ever rendered by the court on earth, but Death entered an appeal to the final Judge of all cases.
Of Silas Clark’s sons, Warren settled upon a lot which lay at the southerly end of Stone Pond, where a group of a dozen houses was built. Here he died at the early age of thirty-two. We give later a mention of his distinguished son, Elbert. Hiram located on a lot a little east of the above and erected a sawmill, in which was sawed the greater part of the lumber that was used in the construction of the houses of Glover village.
Samuel Clark was born in Keene, New Hampshire, May 22, 1781. I have had much difficulty in tracing the record of his family. Traditional accounts have averred that he married and had two children, Samuel and Nancy; that his wife died; and that his son married and removed to Rutland, Vermont. After diligent search of the official records of Keene and numerous enquiries of some of the oldest residents of Rutland and other places, I have been unable to obtain positive information about that supposed marriage, and I have not mentioned it in preparing the genealogical tables. In 1807 Samuel Clark married Betsey Fisk, of Lexington, Massachusetts. He removed to Glover about the year 1816. His location during the early years of his residence there is not known; but on February 27, 1833, he purchased from his brother, Silas, fifty acres lying about one mile southerly from Parker Pond in the westerly part of the town. Here he lived and died, and his son, John Brewster, succeeded him in the occupancy of the homestead. At a later time the son procured a farm half a mile northerly therefrom, erected commodious buildings, removed thither, and there lived many years. The last part of his life was passed in West Glover Village where he had purchased an estate. Samuel Clark was the great-great-grandfather of Harry Clark Humphrey, whose valuable services in the United States Navy are herein mentioned.
Cephas Clark, the second of that name, was born in Keene, July 17, 1784. He married on September 26, 1805, Deborah Wilbur, of Westmoreland, New Hampshire, a woman of very superior qualities. She had been brought up under the influences of a Christian home. Her father, the Rev. Nathaniel Wilbur, and her brother, the Rev. Warren Wilbur, spent their lives in the ministry, looking for spiritual and never for material rewards. It is unknown what monetary compensation the elder clergyman received at a time when such obligations were usually discharged by the proffer of farm products, but it is known that the minister of the younger generation labored year after year for an average annual salary of two hundred and six dollars.
The first twelve years after the marriage of Cephas Clark, he lived in Westmoreland and Keene, New Hampshire, and Rutland, Vermont, and was engaged mainly in agricultural pursuits. During this time he served as a soldier in the war of 1812, having drafted himself in the following peculiar way. A draft of ablebodied men having been ordered, it was carried out by putting cards into a box, on some of which was written the word “Stay,” and on others the word “Go.” Each man was required to put his hand into the box and withdraw a card which would determine his fate. Cephas Clark put in his hand and seized a card. Turning it slightly his eye caught the word “Stay.” He instantly dropped it and took up another card on which was the word “Go.” This shows his patriotism. Another incident is related which shows his native shrewdness. He was laying a stone wall such as farmers were accustomed to construct for fences. Some of the stones were heavy, and it required considerable exertion to put them in their proper places. While he was so engaged, a man of large and powerful physique came along and offered to bet five dollars that he could lift a heavier stone than Mr. Clark could lift. The latter, believing that he could never match strength with so strong and muscular a man, adopted a diplomatic expedient. He replied that he would not lift as much as he could for five dollars, but if the other would make the bet fifty dollars, he would accept it. Thereupon the first proponent of the wager backed completely down.
When the question was under consideration by Mr. Clark and his wife as to the advisability of their migration to the northern part of Vermont, and the advantages and disadvantages were being discussed, Mrs. Clark, with prophetic vision of the development and growth that were to be, and actuated by strong maternal love, said she would gladly endure the inevitable exposure and toil and want for the benefit of her children. She thought that the land when improved would afford to them and their descendants better opportunities in the future than otherwise they could have. Thus strengthened and encouraged, Mr. Clark, in 1818, removed with his wife and six children from Keene, New Hampshire, to Glover.
A farm of one hundred and sixty acres near the center of the town of Glover became the home of Cephas Clark, and here he saw all his children well-to-do and comfortably situated on farms in close proximity to him. The original homestead has been occupied by some of his descendants to this day. The land has been cleared and made better, and the log house has given place to improved and commodious buildings, which are shown in an illustration on another page. The farm is now occupied and owned by Ezra L. Clark, a grandson of the original purchaser.
A figure before a name indicates the degree of descent from Cephas Clark, who was born January 7, 1745. The date of birth is sometimes inserted in more than one place to facilitate the identification of the person spoken of. The name of a place in parentheses, after a person’s name, denotes his or her present post-office address. A name in parentheses, after a wife’s name, denotes her maiden name.
In a few cases we have not been able, after long and painstaking research, to ascertain all the related facts. Any omission or incompleteness of statement in the following pages may be attributed to that cause.
36th Annual Clark-King Reunion (Contributed by Melinda K. Green)
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