Sunday, November 18, 2012

Red 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.

By the age of 11 (and less than a year before his father had died) Red was living at the County 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, after Niles had passed, squandered the family money on her second husband, Mr. Folger, who was 20 years her junior.  (Still don't know Folger's first name).

Red's first job the Home had sent him to was with a man named Captain Adams who had a residence on Clark's Hill in East Haddam.  When Captain Adams died, Red was returned to the Home.  He then was employed 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 constant 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', who were old spinster women.  One of the old maids, named Adele, had a lover and it appears that one day 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 in the USA all throughout the 1910s, of course.  The German fellow took off his belt and was getting ready to beat Red, but Red got the jump on him and smashed a big ceramic vase on his head.  Thinking he had killed the German, Red did not go back to the Home, but instead ran away entirely, deciding just to find a job (unsure how old he was at this point). 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 to wear on his new journeys.

After running away he went to Hartford to find work.  He claimed to his sons that a doctor hired him after hearing his long story, to do some 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.  

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 back 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.

In early 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.



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 (at this point he was living 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 nearly three decades ago, 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.


Eventually, after working many sales and life insurance jobs, he wound up in Corpus Christi, TX 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. (J.C. Penney's).  It was said that she could sew 1680 pairs of ladies' panties in a single eight hour shift!

After Red passed in 1974, Anna worked hard to get his dishonorable discharge reverted and she was successful.  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?


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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Hull, Warren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Dressers of Scarborough Maine

(ABOUT 1900)

The Dresser Road in rural western Scarborough is about 8/10 of a mile long, and was home to the historical Dresser family (originally from Rowley, Massachusetts) for over 150 years, from about 1735 to 1900.

The earliest record of the road being named Dresser Road that I have found to date would be a property deed dated December 1880 from Dominicus Libby to Sarah Jane Temm.

A history of the Dressers of Scarborough:

Around 1735, Nathaniel Dresser (1683-1749) migrated north from Rowley, Mass with his wife Elizabeth (1689-1736) and his son Richard Dresser (1713-1783) to the fertile farmlands of Scarborough.  Elizabeth died shortly after arriving.  Nathaniel was killed by an Indian on Scottow's Hill near the home of Leonard Libby.  Neighbor David Libby killed the Indian that did the deed. Nathaniel is reputed by the Scarborough Historical Society to have been the last person killed by Indians in Scarborough.

The same year that Nathaniel died, his son Richard married Mindwell Munson of Scarborough.  They had six children, most of whom moved to neighboring Buxton:

-Mary Dresser married neighbor Elijah Libby, but she died young, and had no descendants.

-Mindwell Dresser married neighbor Elijah Libby after her sister died.  No descendants there, either.

-Richard Dresser moved to neighboring Gorham and married Temperance Hamblin.  They settled in Buxton with two sons, Joseph and Richard, Jr.

-Mark Dresser moved to Buxton, married Nancy Holbrook, and had twelve children. 

-Paul Dresser also moved to Buxton, and married Sally Holbrook (sister to Nancy!), and had at least eleven children.  Paul's son, Alfred Metcalfe Dresser (1807-1870) married his first cousin Martha Andrews Dresser (Mark's daughter).  This meant that Martha and Alfred were double cousins.

-Wentworth Dresser (1762-1842) was the only one in the family to remain in Scarborough.  He married Sophia Holbrook (sister to Nancy and Sally, mentioned above).  They managed the farm on Dresser Road.  They had eight children, all but one whom relocated to other parts of Maine:

1. Daniel Dresser moved to Saco, and married Sarah Libby of that town.  Their only child, Ira Dresser, relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio.

2. Sarah Dresser-Dewey-Smith also moved to Saco, and had four children with two husbands (both from Vermont).

3.  Ira Dresser married Nancy Smart and also moved to Saco, where they had eight children. Ira was a clothier at Saco Clothing Store, according to this ad from 1856.

4.  Robert Dresser married Sophia Rose and moved to Portland, where they had nine children.

5. Lydia Dresser married John Blake and moved to Portland, where they had five children.

6.  Israel Dresser married Elizabeth Banks and moved to Castine, and later Brewer, Maine, and had well over a dozen children.

7. Joseph Wentworth Dresser married Eunice Deering (daughter to Samuel Deering of Gorham).  They had five children and relocated to Kansas around 1855.

8. Josiah C. Dresser (1816-1868) was the youngest child of Wentworth, and the only descendant of the Scarborough Dressers to remain in Scarborough.  He kept the Dresser Road farm going.  He married Lydia Moulton, and had three children in Scarborough:

-Emma Dresser (1853-1872) died young at age 19.

-Melville Dresser (1851-1885) married Ella Smith, and remained in Scarborough, but had no children.

-Wilbur Dresser (1848-1925), pictured above, kept the Dresser Road farm going.  He married his neighbor Sarah McLaughlin (part of the Scotch-Irish clan that migrated to Cumberland County and were early founders).

Wilbur expanded the farm's business around 1893, and got into dealing hay, straw, ashes and bale ties.  He kept an office at 12 Moulton Street in Portland for some time, and was also named Postmaster of West Scarborough in 1888.

By 1896, Wilbur expanded his business enterprises into real estate, and became a popular broker in Scarborough and all around Greater Portland.  His company, W.F. Dresser & Sons was now located at 80 Exchange Street.  This company managed the purchase, sale and mortgage of a variety of Cumberland County properties from after the Civil War through to the end of the Depression.


In 1896, Wilbur also happened to be the Administrator to the Will of my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Jane Temm, four years after her death.  In 1920, he also sold some land on Gorham Road to her son, John Henry Temm.

Wilbur left Scarborough just prior to the turn of the century.  He bought 220 Payne Road, just over the South Portland line, and they were there for the 1900 and 1910 Censuses.  For the 1910 Census, they had a servant, Eugene Foye.  Wilbur's exodus from Scarborough marks the end of a long era of Dressers living the Town.

To be closer to the burgeoning real estate business, Wilbur moved the family to Portland just prior to the 1920 Census, to their new home at 1181 Congress Street in Libbytown district.  The house was razed many years later to make way for the 295 Overpass and ramps.

Below is a brief account of Wilbur's five children:

1.  Ira Hunt Dresser (1879-abt 1957) worked in trucking/moving, and lived in Portland.

2.  William Watson Dresser (1881-1946) became president of W.F. Dresser & Sons upon Wilbur's retirement.  William kept the business going until his death, at which time he was merely a lodger and widower living on Neal Street, and running the business out of 22 Monument Square starting in 1940.  In 1915, William was elected as exhalted ruler of BPOE Lodge 188 in Portland.  His brother Perley followed him ten years later.

3.  Perley Chase Dresser (1885-1960) also lived in Portland, and was treasurer of W.F. Dresser & Sons.  He married Alice Barbour.  When his brother William died, he ran the family business until his own death in 1960, which signaled the end of the family real estate business, which had begun around 1895.  In 1925, Perley was elected exhalted ruler of BPOE Lodge 188 in Portland, as his brother had before him, but held the post for over 25 years.

4.  Leon Wentworth Dresser (1894-1967) also lived in Portland, and worked as a bank teller at Chapman National Bank.  He later was a partner in Millett Fish & Dresser (later Millett Rittenhouse & Dresser).  He and his wife, Phyllis Trefethen, had one child, Richard W. Dresser in 1925, who married Mary Libby and moved to Boston around 1949 to attend business school at Boston University - and apparently stayed in that area.

5. Helen Dresser (1902-1996) last seen in the 1920 Census, she probably married, but I cannot seem to find any records for her after that point.

The Scarborough Dresser family is buried in Dunstan Cemetery in Scarborough.  There are no living descendants in Scarborough.  Their presence in Scarborough lasted from around 1735-1900, and the road they lived on is still named for them to this day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Clarke Bars

about 1960

My grandfather, Frank Clarke, was, among other things, a moonshine dealer in the Greater Portland area during Prohibition and afterwards.  The basement of the old house on Payne Road in Scarborough was a haven for illegal 'white lightning' production.  Many in the family were unaware of this side hustle.  My mother spoke of her father Frank loading up the back of his truck with produce and meat from the family farm, and jars of root beer, all for sale, and underneath the blanket there was always a row of bottles of the Clarke "home brew" for sale to places like the St. Regis Hotel in Portland and some of the merchant seamen houses along the waterfront, which were referred to by my mother as "houses of ill repute".

The tradition of Clarke liquor dealings carried through to three of Frank's children, all siblings to my mother, and all of whom have passed away.  It is no coincidence at all that they were also three of the heaviest drinkers in the family.  They each managed and owned a number of bars throughout their lives.  Each of these bars was successful in its own laid back, neighborly way.  They were not fancy places, but typically very friendly dive bars, sometimes in seedier parts of town.


My Uncle Billy, once he finished up with the Navy, settled in Sanford Florida with his family, yet ultimately moved to Meridian Mississippi in the late 60's.  While there, he opened up small and informal local bars around town.  One of his bars caught on fire (need to get this story).  Another of his bars, the "Bar-B-Q Pit" was in Lauderdale, and is now known as "Jimmy's Pub & Grub", but appears to have now closed down.  One thing Uncle Billy always said was "Let's go on down to the bar and tell some lies!"



These two buildings pictured on 8th Avenue in Meridian were both bar businesses owned by my Uncle Billy.  The one on the right was always known as Bill's Lounge.  The one on the left wasn't owned long by Billy, since he sold it to his sister Florence Clarke-Brewer, for $1.00.  This bar (Flo's Lounge) is still in business, with a new name and ownership ("Suga Shak").  It has been cleaned up nicely inside, but still has a decidedly humble feel to it.



(ABOUT 1980)

ABOUT 1975

My aunt Florence, whom I only met a few times, I really connected with.  She was a fun loving lady, but a big fan of the beer.  As mentioned above, she bought Flo's Lounge (still in business today) from her brother for $1.00, and ran the bar for over fifteen years.  She died in January 1987 in a tragic car accident on Route 39, having been hit by a drunk driver.

The sign above declaring that it's Miller Time at Flo's Lounge, was still up on the wall until at least 2012.  She was a very popular lady, and the patrons of the current bar still remember her when I spoke to them during my visit in September of that year.  As of 2017, the bar is under different ownership and name, but it was fun to meet these new owners during my visit there, and tell them about the history.

(ABOUT 1960)

My aunt Marilyn was always known by her very appropriate nickname, "Butch", or if you were my Grammy Clarke, you would call her "Putchy".  She lived in Boston most of her life.  She was a tough character, and was reputed to have beaten up a few cops in her day.  Aside from her rough exterior, she was a sweet lady to her family, and did anything necessary to take care of her own.  Basically, if I were ever in a fight, and Butch were there, I'm certain I wouldn't have to lift a finger, and the other guy would end up in the hospital.

I got to stay with Aunt Butch a couple times when I was in a summer program at Boston University.  I have fond memories of her loving, giving nature, and also of her pirate-like language.  I remember her driving me home to Maine from Boston after one visit, and she sang along with the radio while I slept in the front seat.  Her terrible, off key, singing kept me entertained as I drifted off to sleep.  Looking back on that time, I wonder if she had been driving under the influence of beer...



For many years, she was a regular at Clock Tavern at 345 West Broadway in South Boston, a bar which at the time was owned by Irish nuns, believe it or not.  The Sisters lived upstairs from the bar.  Around 1990, when the sisters were getting on in age, they sold the bar to Butch.  Butch oversaw a massive renovation of the bar, knowing all the while it was a competitor with the very popular, and swankier, Shenanigan's Pub next door.  She opened the pub early, at 8:00 a.m., and stayed open until about 11:30pm, every night, when other bars would close much earlier during those days.

The Clock was her passion, and she was a very popular bar owner and bartender (and frequent bouncer!).  The draw of the Clock was in its simplicity.  It was the quiet, seedier dive bar you went to with your friends to play darts and pool, listen to the jukebox and drink cheap beer.

My Uncle Billy, my Aunt Flo, and my Aunt Butch are very much missed by our family.  If they were still here today, I would definitely be interviewing them for this blog page.