George A. Clark, now president of the Toneka Title and Bond Company, is a representative of that class of citizen who without special ostentation have been leaders in making Kansas one of the foremost states of the Union. He is a true and typical Kansan by reason of more than thirty-five years of active participation in its life and affairs. In one respect his career had been unusual. The greater part of his life had been passed in newspaper work, ranging in locality from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, but chiefly in Kansas.
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This work began as “printer’s devil” on the Southwest News at Hartville, Missouri. There, under the training of a prince of printers, Frank E. Mason, he thoroughly mustered all the details. For a number of years he followed the printing trade, and was a real journeyman, traveling from one office to the other, getting new experience and seeing new country and new peoples and communities. However in one notable respect he was unlike the average journeyman printer–he saved his money and left liquor severely alone.
He was publishing a paper at Wellsville in Montgomery County, Missouri, in 1877, when fire destroyed his plant and swept away all his savings. In April, 1878, he came to Kansas and he had since many times congratulated himself on the good fortune which arose phoenix-like out of the burning of his Missouri newspaper plant. For a time he was employed in a job office at Leavenworth and then came to Topeka to act as foreman of the news room and as telegraph editor of the Commonwealth, then the only morning paper published in Topeka. His long association with F. P. Baker and Sons, publishers of the Commonwealth, gave him a wide acquaintance throughout Kansas, and for more than thirty years he had personally known almost every prominent public man of the state.
Later he moved from Topeka to Junetion City, Kansas, where he published the Republican. Under his management this became an influential factor in the development of that community and a power in state politics.
In the course of his career Mr. Clark had held two important state positions. In 1898 he was elected secretary of state and began his four years’ term in January, 1899. His was a most creditable record as secretary of state. In 1903 he was elected state printer, and was the last incumbent of that office under his old regime, since in 1905 the state took over his printing plant and had since operated it as a state owned and state managed institution. For several years Mr. Clark also found a profitable field in the manufacture of creamery machinery.
In 1913 he and his friends bought the principal abstract business at Topeka and soon afterward acquired the ownership of two smaller concerns. These consolidated and incorporated under the laws of Kansas as the Topeka Title and Bond Company, of which he had since been president.
George A. Clark was born at Mexico, Missouri, December 27, 1856, a son of Henry S. Clark, a lawyer, who in 1881 moved to Topeka and practiced law in the Capital City until his death in 1898. During his boyhood spent at Mexico and at Rolla, Missouri, George A. Clark had little regular schooling or formal edueation. Perhaps altogether he did not attend school more than ten months. Much of his early training was at his mother’s knee, but he found his real education in that unexcelled university, a printing and hewspaper office. Mr. Clark is a Universalist in religious belief, is a republican in politics, and is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and with several fraternal insurance organizations. He also belongs to the Topeka Commercial Club and the Lakeview Fishing and Shooting Club.
At Topeka on January 19, 1882, he married Miss Manita O. Bacon. Their two daughters are Mary E. and Antoinette C.