The following narrative is taken from "The Clarks in America - Some Descendants of Thomas and Esther Masters Clarke", written by Norma
"Family tradition tells us that the Clarkes were at one time royalty in the Court of the King of England. Fact or fiction? We are told one of the
Clarkes stole a horse or horses from the King's stable, and thence were banished from the King's Court forever. Who knows if this is true? I
ran across this article in a book of genealogies I read (whose title I neglected to write down). It could indicate the story is true. I quote:
"Nicholas Townley, third son of John Townley, Esq., who was born about 1400 in England, lived in the County of Palatine of Lancaster -
Married to Elizabeth Cotterall, daughter of Richard Cotterall, Esq., of Cotterall, relict (sic) of William Tempest, son of Roger Tempest, Esq.,
Lord of the Manor of Broughton. Richard Townley, Esq., son of Nicholas and Elizabeth, was a reader of Grays Inn, in the 4th year of the reign
of Henry VIII. Richard's wife was Margaret Clark, daughter of John Clark of Wazley, by which marriage royalty came into the Townley family."
Thomas Clarke, the son of Thomas Clarke, was born 19 October 1820, in Worchestershire, England. (The village or parish may have been
Downey.) He was classified a labourer, according to his application for marriage to Miss Esther Masters, daughter of Benjamin Masters. They
were married by banns, 16 August 1841, in The Church of England, at Hanbury Parish, Worchestershire, England. She was classified as a
servant maid. Three children were born to them in Hanbury Parish, George, Frederick and William. The family moved to Doderhill, where
Ellen and Emma were born. We do not know what Thomas' occupation was at this time, but perhaps he was a farmer.
Always seeking a better life for his family, they moved to Wales. In 1856 they were living in Ponlypridde, Glamorganshire, S. Wales, where
Thomas was employed at the Rhondda Chemical Works. He worked there for six years. John and Thomas were born to the in Wales.
On the 24th day of February, 1857, they took passage on the ship Abner Stetson at Liverpool, England, bound for New Orleans, Louisiana, in
America. They were to furnish only beds, bedding and mess utensils. The cost was 35.00 pounds. From New Orleans, they went to
Kentucky, settling on Cave Creek near Greenwood in Pulaski County. Why they came to this part of America is not known. Perhaps they had
friends there or relatives. Thomas stated as his reason for coming to America - to give his family the advantages offered by the institutions of
a free country.
Cave Creek is located 5 to 6 miles north of Greenwood, Kentucky. The old home site was within the Hail Quadrangle of Pulaski County. This
area is now the Daniel Boone National Park. Right at Cave Creek there is a Top Clark Hollow.
Thomas Clark was a farmer in Kentucky. Their last three children were born at Cave Creek - Sarah, Lucy and McClellan. When the Civil War
broke out, the three oldest boys enlisted in the cause for the North. Perhaps this caused discord with their neighbors; at any rate they left
Kentucky and went to Illinois in 1866, settling in Edgar County. Thomas became a naturalized citizen, February 25, 1869, at Paris, Edgar
County, Illinois. They moved once again in 1881, coming to Kansas and settling in the Summit Community of Marion County, Their home
place was a little over two miles north of the Summit Church.
According to 1870 census records, Thomas and Esther and family were living at Bloomfield Post Office, County of Edgar, Illinois. Thomas was
listed as a farm laborer - Emma, at age 20, was a domestic servant - John and Thomas were farm workers - Sarah and Lucy were in school -
and Mac was home, only six years of age. Living with them were - Enos B. Conover, age 30, also a farm worker and Ellen (Clark) Conover, his
wife, age 23. What ever happened to this man? Ellen later married Wesley Stepleton.
Thomas and Esther were members of the United Brethren Church in the Summit Community. Esther was called Hester by all the family, indeed
that was thought to be her name. The descendants of these two are many and not all are known to this writer at this time. Thomas died in
1905 and his wife, Esther (Hester) died in 1910. Both are buried in Summit Cemetery, Marion County, Kansas.
A family story told about when they were crossing the ocean coming to this country - Thomas had his sons chew tobacco and the girls smoke
pipes to prevent sea-sickness. Ellen never gave up the habit of smoking a pipe. It was a constant source of embarrassment to her husband
in later years. When they took train trips to visit relatives, he would make her go out on the observation platform to smoke.
Another story told was about Hester. As she was working in her kitchen one day (some say in Kansas), she turned to see an Indian standing
in the door of their cabin. She grabbed the gun and shot him, and the children dove under the table."
Thus ends the narrative from Norma Clark's book. Thanks Mom!
Copyright 2012 - Charlie Clark