PICTURES FROM THE OLD HOMESTEAD ON PAYNE ROAD SCARBOROUGH:
My mother's parents were Herbert Clarke & Emily Temm-Clarke.
The 10 children whom survived to adulthood:
NILES "SONNY JIM" CARROLL CLARKE
HELEN EMMA CLARKE-GERDING
JOHN HENRY CLARKE
WALTER ROBERT CLARKE
MARION "P-NUT" JOYCE CLARKE-LEONARD
Frank worked as a stonemason for most of his life. From what I hear of his work ethic, he didn't look for work until he ran out of money from the previous job. Some of his work can still be seen today down at some of the houses on Prout's Neck. He was a carefree sort, and also tended the Clarke garden and farm at their house on Payne Road. He would take the horse and buggy, and later the car, filled with produce and meat, along with his own homemade root beer, and would drive down to Portland harbor, often with his friend Bill Gretz, and sell his wares to the boarding houses down on Fore Street. He called these inns the "houses of ill repute", and he would also sell bottles of his homemade moonshine, also known as "white lightning", to the sailors down there. He would tuck these bottles underneath the other produce for the journey, of course!
He also sold the home brew to the St. Regis Hotel on Middle Street in Portland, which was also known as the Windsor and the St. Julian at different times.
|ST. REGIS HOTEL|
CORNER OF MIDDLE STREET & PLUM STREET
The hotel was situated on the same side of Middle Street as the Falmouth Hotel in Portland's Old Port. Emily would help him store and bottle the moonshine, and it was kept as a family secret, mostly. I recall being at their house as a boy, and being offered some moonshine by one of my cousins, who apparently drank gallons of the stuff. Three of Frank's children worked in the liquor business, owning and managing several bars between them in Meridian Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts.
Frank was quite the character. He used to play a harmonica stuck inside half a glass of water, and would occasionally whip out his accordion and make up a silly song on it to entertain his kids and grandkids. He also had a game he would engage the kids in, called "Fly Soup". The kids were challenged to kill as many houseflies as possible, to supposedly put in a soup recipe. Of course, nobody ate the flies, but it would be a way to get the kids to help rid the house of those pests! He would sit on the stoop and tell us that the beans in the garden were ready to pick. He would say "Look at that I just saw another bean pop up!" Grammy Emily would say "Oh Frank, stop lying to those kids. Them beans ain't ready to come up yet for another few months". Grampy would say "I'm not lying. I just saw that bean grow right now...and that's a fact!" He would always end his tall tales with that. He said once "grammy can't make biscuits. Last time she made biscuits i couldn't even cut one. I threw one of them out of the window...it hit a chicken on the head and killed it dead...and that's a fact!" He would also often claim to have been a "world famous checker champion". One would agree with him, given that he always won checker games against anyone in the family. But the truth of the matter was that he used to cheat! Anytime something happened, a distraction - anything, Grampy Frank would use the opportunity to move his checkers another turn. Such is the way of a moonshine dealer who got his start during the Great Depression.
Emily worked a number of jobs, including housecleaning, but most of her time she worked as a laundress. After leaving the Black Point Inn, she and her daughters worked at the New System Laundry on Parris Street in Portland, where she worked during the 40's and 50's. The old building is still there, as of this 2010 picture:
The pictures at the top of this page show Frank and Emily inside the house on Payne Road. But below is the only picture I've been able to find of the exterior of the old house. This one was taken in the early 60's, and features my cousin Patty:
Emily suffered a fall down the stairs at her daughter Laura's house in 1980, and remained wheelchair-bound the rest of her life. While hospitalized, in January 1981, the house on Payne Road burned down due to a wood stove fire. The rebuild of the house was a monumental effort, with the help of many neighbors, townspeople, and charities, with special help from Ron Forest & Son, the lumber company next door.
FIRE CLEANUP (1981)
362 PAYNE ROAD