|LEONARD SHERMAN 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.
|RED AND ANNE CLARK|
|FIRST HOME OF RED AND ANNE CLARK|
90 MONTGOMERY STREET
(HERE COVERED IN SCAFFOLDING)
|38 QUASSAICK AVENUE|
NEW WINDSOR, NY
|173 LANDER STREET|
(2ND HOUSE IN)
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.
|FINAL HOME OF RED CLARK|
1645 E. MONTECITO
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.