John Stokes Clarke, Pastor of the Canada Methodist Church, Oshawa, and son of John and Rose (Stokes) Clarke, was born in the town of Clones, in the north of Ireland, February 8, 1833. His father was a merchant and Clerk of the Peace, the ancestors leaving England about the time of William III., the family holding various civic and important positions in the County of Monaghan, Ireland. Our subject received his literary education in the old country, his tutor being the Rev. William White, a Presbyterian Minister.
In his seventeenth year he came to Canada West; studied Theology in the Methodist School at Toronto; entered on the ministry in 1834, and has since been pastor at Barrie, London, Bradford, Napanee, Grimsby, Thorold, Whitby and Oshawa, three full years at each place. At most of these villages his preaching has been attended with large ingatherings, between 200 and 300 members having been added to the Oshawa Church since he located here in 1877.
As a preacher Mr. Clarke is earnest and practical; he does not abound in figures and illustrations, but uses both with good taste and judgment. As a platform speaker he is easy and forcible, and is an effective advocate of all moral reforms. As a pastor he is very faithful in his duties, especially to the sick and distressed.
Preaching has been the main work of Mr. Clarke since he entered the ministry; he has, however, taken a very active and prominent part in the cause of Temperance, being at one time Grand Chaplain of the Independent Order of Good Templars in the Province, and at another time Grand Worthy Chief Templar, having control of the lecture work of the Order in Ontario. His heart is thoroughly enlisted in this good cause, and, besides preaching on the subject occasionally, he has done a good deal of lecturing. In reformatory movements generally he is one of the foremost men, and ranks among the true humanitarians of the age.
Mr. Clarke is also a member of the fraternity of Odd Fellows, and has usually been chaplain of local lodges where he was residing. He is a man of much influence, outside as well as inside the Church.
His marriage is dated September 16, 1858, his wife being Maria, daughter of Edward Green, London, Ont. They have five children here and one little daughter in heaven.