Sunday, November 18, 2012

Red Clark

LEONARD SHERMAN CLARK
ABT 1946

-Leonard Sherman Clark (1899 – 1974) was named after his grandfather Leonard Sherman Clark, yet was nicknamed "Red", due to his red hair.  In his later years, he simply went by "LS Clark".

Red was born in 1899 to parents Niles Martin Clark and Lizzie Tooker of East Haddam, CT.  His father Niles died when Red was just 11 years old.  It was around that time that Lizzie put Red (and his four brothers) into work home orphanages.  Much of the very colorful story below was provided to me from his sons.

Red was raised partly in the Temporary Home for Boys in Haddam, CT.  This was the type of work farm where boys would often be given short or long term assignments to live/work in various homes in the community, where they would earn their room and board by doing odd jobs, and often times would be exploited or abused by their keepers.  As Red had told the story to his boys, this youth of his was all about "slave labor", and that he always resented his mother for putting he and his brothers in orphanages, while she squandered the family fortune on her second husband, Mr. Folger, who was 20 years her junior.

Red's first job the Home sent him to was to a man named Captain Adams who had a place on Clark's Hill in East Haddam.  This was just after his father had died, and he was only 11.  When Captain Adams died, Red was returned to the Home.  He then was farmed out to a farmer, where Red had problems getting along with the other help there, including a boy by the name of Mike Cavanaugh. Their fighting was the cause of Red being returned to the Home again.

At this point he was assigned to work at the home of what he called the 'three old maids', spinster women.  One of the old maids, named Adele, had a lover and it appears Red walked in on them in a "compromising circumstance".  The man was a big German fellow and Red suspected him to be a German Spy.  Anti-German sentiment was building all throughout the 1910s, of course.  The German fellow took of his belt and was going to beat him, but he got the jump on him and caught him in the head with a big ceramic vase. Thinking he had killed the German, Red did not go back to the Home, but instead ran away deciding just to find a job. Before running away however, he saw a small stash of money that the three old maids kept in a jar, and promptly bought himself a cowboy hat.

After running away he went to Hartford to find work.  He claimed that a Doctor hired him after hearing his story, to do odd jobs, on the condition that he would attend High School at night.  This doctor put him on a road to appreciating education, and Red had always credited the doctor for inspiring him to continue his education, which led him to his ultimate career as an industrial engineer.  But there was still a long road to that, after leaving school, and the doctor's employ.

In January of 1916, he enlisted in the Navy at age 16 1/2, but had lied about his age in order to enlist.  American participation in WWI happened just fifteen months later.  After the War, in 1920, he was living with his mother, Lizzie Tooker, who was by then on her third husband, and living in Redbank, South Portland, Maine.  I believe he stayed in the South Portland area for several years.

RED AND ANNE CLARK
TEMPE, ARIZONA
1964

In 1929, during the height of the Depression, he moved to Newburgh, New York (to be closer to his elder sister Claudia while she was between husbands).  Through Claudia he met and married a co-worker of hers from the sewing shop, Anna Marie Repko (who was from New Windsor just to the south, and was born to Austro-Czech parents Michael Repko and Susan Mueller), and had five children.  When Leonard married Anna in October of 1929, he was working as an accountant, and after the wedding, Leonard started work as a office manager at Moore Printing Company, then later a car salesman at Newburgh Auto Sales, and a few years later was working with the WPA. 

FIRST HOME OF RED AND ANNE CLARK
90 MONTGOMERY STREET
(HERE COVERED IN SCAFFOLDING)
NEWBURGH, NY
38 QUASSAICK AVENUE
NEW WINDSOR, NY

173 LANDER STREET
(2ND HOUSE IN)
NEWBURGH, NY


In 1930, Red and Anne moved to 90 Montgomery Street in Newburgh (just a few doors down from Claudia), then a year later, they moved south to 38 Quassaick Avenue in New Windsor.  In 1934, they moved back up to Newburgh, at 164 Lander Street.  Then in 1938, across the road to 173 Lander Street (this was at this point on the other side of town from his sister Claudia).  The Clarks stayed on Lander Street until about 1942, when the family moved to Utica, NY.

Later that same year they moved to Arlington, Texas, where Leonard worked as an Industrial Engineer for the War Manpower Commission, setting up assembly lines on war planes fighters. Leonard was investigated by the FBI for being a communist sympathizer in the 40s, which was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity (there were many Leonard Clarks out there).  The FBI cleared him of all charges, but during this time, it was discovered that he had lied about his age on the WWI enlistment papers, and was dishonorably discharged.

When WWII was over the family moved south to Hondo, Texas, where Leonard worked for Texas Employers Insurance Association as a Safety Engineer.  About 1947 the family moved east to Beaumont, Texas where Leonard then worked as a Encyclopedia Salesman.  As his son states, he made a fortune in the encyclopedia business and that he could "sell snowballs to Eskimos".  Leonard was fond of gambling, unfortunately, so the family saw very little of what he made.  However, his kids do have fond memories that their father loved them all dearly and that they never wanted for affection or food.

FINAL HOME OF RED CLARK
1645 E. MONTECITO
PHOENIX, AZ

Eventually, after working many sales and life insurance jobs, he wound up in Corpus Christi in the mid 1950's.  In 1960, at 61 years of age, he and Anne moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where Leonard work for less than a year as an industrial engineer at Goodyear Aerospace at NAS Litchfield Park, Arizona, until his retirement around 1962.  He was a longtime member of National Safety Engineers Society.  His wife Anne became the breadwinner in their later years, working as a sewing machine operator for Penn-Mor Inc. (JC Penney's).  It was said that she could sew 1680 pairs of ladies' panties in a single eight hour shift!

Anna worked hard to get Leonard's dishonorable discharge reverted and apparently was successful, since he received an honorable discharge posthumously from President Jimmy Carter.  At the time of his death, he had five children, nine grandchildren and a great grandchild.  His and Anna's ashes are interred at Green Acres in Scottsdale, AZ

The story of Red Clark is interesting to me, given that he was so influenced by continuing education, and a career in science.  This is quite a different life than what his blue collar siblings and forefathers lived.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

1812 Memorial (Eastern Promenade)


A little known cemetery exists on Portland's Eastern Promenade.  It is maintained with care by the City, but the average citizen of Portland has never even heard of it.

The above photo shows the mass grave of 21 American Prisoners of War from the War of 1812.  It's likely that these soldiers have no living descendants or anyone who would visit the cemetery to pay familial respect, but this blog post would seek to remedy that, if it can indeed be done.  200 years is a long time to try and trace descendants of young men who died far from home.

Portland didn't directly participate in the War of 1812.  In fact, New England (and especially Maine) was very much against the War, and almost enacted secession proceedings because of the escalation to this war.  The reason being, it interfered with our lucrative trade deals (both on record and behind the scenes).  Portland privateering, however, did help to increase tensions with the British, ultimately escalating the conflict. 

Of course Portland did serve during the War, as it always had, as a port of entry for ships going to other places for battle.  Our timber export business was thriving at this time, and such timber was used for building a variety of ships, homes, and other structures, all over the eastern colonies, and the motherland in Britain.

But after the Revolution, our obligation to ship timber abroad had ceased, and the new nation could then focus its efforts on building the new Empire.  However, the new United States still participated in timber trade with the English, but now as a financial endeavor.  Several Portland businessmen, like the McLellan brothers, built quite a fortune on the backs of such trade, which dramatically ended when the Embargo Act was passed in 1807, forcing the McLellans and others to close business, sell their properties and default on debts.  The embargo was a response to the British quelling our trade with the French.

Despite the lack of battle seen by Portland during the War, one particular battle still resonates on Portland soil.  The Battle of Queenston Heights, which took place in Canada in October of 1812, was the first major skirmish with the British, and resulted in British victory.  Many American POWs were captured and imprisoned in Quebec.  Upon parole one month later, a group of these soldiers were to be exchanged in Boston, so were placed upon the ship HMS Regulus on November 19.  Several of the soldiers became very ill with malnutrition, dysentery and fever, so the ship took anchor in Portland harbor just before Christmas, under a truce flag, whereby the soldiers could receive care at the Town Hospital (then on the Eastern Promenade) prior to the ship continuing on to Boston.

There were 20 soldiers from the ship who died in passage, and another 26 soldiers who were cared for at the Town Hospital, beginning on 29 December (see image below, referred to later as the "POW List").  One of the soldiers who had died in passage, Barney Freelove (See #18 on the right below), was buried at the 1812 Monument.  I wonder if any of the other DOAs were also buried there?  8 of the 21 soldiers buried at the mass grave were listed as unknown.  I wonder if we can deduce which of these men were of the eight?

SOURCE:  WAR OF 1812:  PRISONER OF WAR RECORDS (NARA)
"THE POW LIST"

21 of these soldiers perished within a month, and were buried at the mass grave on the Promenade (pictured above).





A stone placed in the center of the gravesite in 1887 carries a bronze plaque with the following inscription:

Within this enclosure
were buried 21 soldiers
captured by the English
at the Battle
of Queenston, Canada
in the War of 1812
and died in hospital here
while on their way to
Boston for exchange.

This post will attempt to assemble some information about these soldiers, in the event that other researchers are looking for them:

Unfortunately, eight of these soldiers are listed as unknown in identity, which forced me to focus only on the 13 identified by markers at the burial site.  Some soldiers were found on the NARA file entitled U.S. Army, Registers of Enlistment, 1798-1914 (such file is referred to hereafter as the "NARA File").  After going through all records, I feel that I've been able to successfully identify five of these eight unknown soldiers, and they are listed at the end of this post:

Starting with the 12 marked soldier graves...


Barrows, John
PRIVATE
6 US INFANTRY

No matching records found yet, in a search online and on Ancestry.  A different John Barrows appears in the Captain Eastman's Calvary in Wiscasset, ME in 1814.  The heirs of a "Major John Barrows" of the Revolution sold property to a John Underwood in 1818.  Many other records appear for this rather common name.  None can be definitively tied to this soldier as yet, and nobody of this name appears in the NARA File.  Now, looking closely at the POW List, the only name remotely resembling this would be James Brower.  This name also produces no results in a search of the NARA File.


Curtis, Davie
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

No matching records found yet, in a search online and on Ancestry.  Four different soldiers named David Curtis appear in the NARA File, each with data provided which would conflict with this soldier's story.  Looking closely at the POW List, the only name resembling this would be Daniel Curtis.  This name also produces conflicting results.


Davis, James L.
CORPORAL
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File, with the appropriate data on the Queenston Battle.  However,  he was listed as James L. Davis, here and in the POW List above, yet the City lists him as James P. Davis.  He was the only one of the sick soldiers who was a corporal.  The rest were privates. This soldier is showing on the NARA File as having enlisted in the 13th US Infantry, yet the stone created by the City erroneously lists 23rd.


Goodenow, Ezekiel
(1774-1813) 
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in June of 1812, immediately prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 13th US Infantry.  According to Ancestry records, he was born in 1774, in Princeton, Massachusetts, the third of ten children to Edward Goodnow and Lois Rice.  He married Sophia Harrington in 1801, Salem, Massachusetts.  He died in January of 1813.



Freelove, Barney
(1781-1813) 
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in Auburn, Maine as of May 1812 for a period of 18 months in the 13th US Infantry (yet the City has him listed as having been in the 23rd).  He was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and was 5'10 3/4".  He married Sally Pettis in Freetown, Massachusetts in 1802.  He died January 1, 1813, according to the NARA File, but he appears on the POW List above as having died in passage, so he must have died prior to December 29th.


Hewes, Daniel
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

I found a Daniel Hews in the NARA File, but this one had enlisted in February of 1813.  I also found an Ancestry Tree which shows a Daniel Hewes born in 1776, married twice in Boston, with four children born by 1809, and no death date or military record yet attached.  This could be a match. 


Hight, Isaac
PRIVATE
3 US ARTILLERY

I found an Isaac Hight in the NARA File, enlisting for five years in May 1812.   No further information.


Hull, Warren
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

I did find one Warren Hull on the NARA File, who had enlisted in June of 1812, but no further information is attached to him.  Unfortunately, in online searches, this soldier's name has been eclipsed by the more famous Warren Hull who was a young soldier in the Revolution, and fought later in the War of 1812, and died in 1838 at his estate in Western New York.  Now, looking at the POW List, it appears his name was more likely WARNER Hull.  Yet no results found on this name either, when searching the NARA File.


Newton, Asa
(1785-1813)
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in June of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 23rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died 11 Jan 1813 of "St. McCarby's Ditch", whatever that means.  The NARA File makes reference to a pension file for this soldier, in which there may be further detail.  Ancestry Family Trees show that this soldier was born in Barnard, Vermont, and that he had a son named John T. Newton (1810-1873) who was born in Maryland and died in Missouri, and had three children and four stepchildren.  Asa was one of ten children born to John Newton and Lydia Freeman, who settled in Windsor County, Vermont.  Asa's ancestor, Richard Newton, arrived in 1640 from Lincolnsire, England (where Sir Isaac Newton also lived, so there was a likely relation).  The Heirs of Asa Newton were awarded 160 acres of land for bounty (per the Military Bounty Land Warrants), in "SE Section 1, Township 5S, Range 5W."  It's unclear which meridian this falls into, though.  So far this is the only soldier profiled here who appears to have likely descendants living today.


Sloan, Sylvanus
(1796-1813)
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in June of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 23rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died 19 Jan 1813, making him one of the last bodies to have been placed in the mass grave.  Reference in the NARA File was made to a pension case.  An Ancestry Family Tree dictates that he was born in 1796 in Rhode Island, and was only 17 when he died.  He likely had no descendants.


Smith, Alexander
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 13rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died 15 Jan 1813.  Due to his very common name, I'm unable at this time to find additional information.
 

Smith, Benjamin
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 23rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died in Jan 1813.  Due to his very common name, I'm unable at this time to find additional information. I'm not certain whether he is related to Alexander Smith above.


Vandermark, Cornelius
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was located in the NARA File.  Now, in looking at the POW List above, it appears the shipmate listed him as Charles Vandermark.  This name produces no results.

***

Now, for some soldiers who are listed in the POW List who are also in the NARA File as having died in Portland, yet don't show on the City's list of buried soldiers.  They are likely of the eight "unknown soldiers".




Lord, Joseph
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 18 months in the 23rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died in Portland in Jan 1813. 




Rice, William
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 13th US Infantry.   He is noted to have died in Portland in Nov, 1812. While the ship didn't dock in Portland until December, the fact that Portland is listed as place of death makes this soldier a likely burial at the Eastern Promenade site.  Note was made of a pension case, so there may be more detail there.



Snow, Daniel G.
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in May of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 13th US Infantry.   He is noted to have died on Jan 1813 in Portland, so it's very likely he's buried at the Eastern Promenade site.  Note was made of a pension case, so there may be more detail there.



Witt, Ira
PRIVATE
23 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 23rd US Infantry.   He is noted to have died in Portland in Jan 1813.



Wood, Thomas F.
PRIVATE
13 US INFANTRY

This soldier was easily located in the NARA File.  This roster has him enlisted in July of 1812, just  prior to the Battle of Queenston, for a period of 5 years in the 13th US Infantry.   He is noted to have died on Jan 1813.  This was during the time that the ship was docked in Portland so it makes this soldier a likely burial at the Eastern Promenade site.  Note was made of a pension case, so there may be more detail there.

THREE OTHER UNKNOWN SOLDIERS ARE HERE, AND MAYBE AT SOME POINT WE CAN DECIDE WHICH OF THE GENTLEMEN LISTED IN THE POW LIST ABOVE CAN BE LINKED TO THEIR PLAQUES, ONCE AND FOR ALL...





Special thanks to Margaret Colford, who took the photographs featured on this page.

Anyone is welcome to view my FindAGrave Memorial Page for this cemetery.