"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Clark
A pleasant visit was made to the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Clark, located seven miles northeast of Postville on highway 51. Mr. and Mrs. Clark are both natives of Allamakee county and on May 31 they will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary. They do not get to Postville very often, although they are both in good health. To keep up with the outside world, they are extensive readers and often listen to radio broadcasts.
Mr. Clark was born in Franklin township, October 31, 1861, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Carter Clark. "I was a Hallowe'en proposition," Mr. Clark joked. "There were six children in the family, three boys and three girls. Only my two youngest sisters are living today. They are Mrs. D.I. Farnham of Freeport, Ill., and Mrs. C.H. Stilwell of Waukon." During Mr. Clark's early life he attended the "old red schoolhouse" (school district 3, Franklin township). He remembers a few of his teachers in those days. Miss Cordelia Dunning was his first teacher and another one was the late Dr. S.C. Meyers. During his school days he assisted with work on the family farm, which was located in Franklin township, near Forest Mills.
On May 31, 1881, he was married to Miss Martha Jones in Waukon. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jones, her father being a native of England. After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Clark, they lived on the Clark homestead for two years. then they rented part of the A.B. Thomson farm in Franklin township. For a year they made their home on this farm, then they moved back in the neighborhood of Mr. Clark's parents. For three years they rented a farm belonging to Mr. Clark's grandmother, Mrs. Mary Clark, in Franklin township.
Then in March 1887, they moved to Adams county, Wisconsin, where they homesteaded a small acreage. Mr. Clark's father and mother also moved to Adams county at the same time. It was while they were in Wisconsin that Mr. Clark's father passed away. "I've never seen such land," the pioneer Allamakee county farmer stated. "I farmed that sand bank for a year before giving it up as a bad job. I tried to dig a well, and do you know, I dug down 26 feet without finding rock, dirt or clay. All I shoveled was sand." "After father's death we all came back to Allamakee county. It was quite a trip as we rode in a covered wagon. We finally made it, all right, but it took us eight days." "Last summer we took a trip with Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Powell, driving up through Adams county. The land was still barren, just like it was in 1887. A large farm house, which my father had constructed, was even gone. There wasn't any trace of a building where the house once stood. But of course that was over 50 years ago. According to a man who operated a store in that vicinity, the government reclaimed over three million acres in the sand belt tow years ago."
After the Clark's returned to Allamakee county in the spring of 1888, they lived on the farm of Mrs. Clark's father, three miles northeast of Waukon. (The farm is owned today by Herman Soreide). On November 14, 1888, just a few months later, they purchased 47 1/2 acres of land in Post township from O.M. Franklin. The have lived continuously on this property for over 51 years. For the first few years they lived on their new farm, they resided in a small log cabin which was badly in need of repair. Mr. Clark then purchased a house on Chris Eckert's farm and it was moved to the Clark property. It is the house in which they are now living, but Mr. Clark made a startling statement when he said, "this house is also constructed of logs." Then he went on to explain how the walls of the house were of logs, but covered by boards, giving it the appearance of an up-to-date frame building.
From time to time, Mr. Clark has acquired additional property. He purchased 82 acres from the late Abram Hart of Postville, so today his property incudes 129 1/2 acres. Mr. Clark has not done any work on the farm for several years. For three years Henry Miene and his son, Herbert, worked the farm land. Last November James Ewing rented the farm on shares. He constructed a small home n which he lives with his wife and daughter.
Mr. and Mrs. Clark were the parents of two children. Virgil L. Clark, who passed away during the World War, in November, 1919; and a daughter, Libbie, who is now Mrs. Don Lamborn, living three miles north of Luana.
During the many years the Clarks have lived north of Postville they have experienced many cold winters and a great many blizzards. One blizzard they will never forget, although it occurred two years before their marriage, in January, 1879, just 61 years ago. Mrs. Clark told the story, laughting as she recounted a pleasant memory of the incident. "Two years before we were married, I was keeping house for my brothers, Arthur and Will Jones. We lived on a farm three miles northeast of Waukon. Along in the middle of January the weather was unseasonably fine and Harvey evidently wanted to see me very much. So one day he saddled up a horse and rode from his parents' farm, which was four miles from Forest Mills in Franklin township, to our place, a distance of 15 miles. That was Saturday. In the evening it began to snow. Then a strong wind sprung up and it grew colder. For two days we hardly dared venture from the house. Then on the third day the storm died down and Harvey was able to return home. My brother, Arthur, hitched up a team and they led the horse, finally arriving at Harvey's home after a strenous journey through the snow drifts, 10 to 15 feet deep."
Most everyone in this community, young and old, at one time or another has shared in the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Clark's place. Their maple sugar bush, when it was being operated by these folks, was a popular resort for townspeople who found them generously dishing out the "sweets." The shack in the sugar bush, which was moved to its present location from Bologna Junction years ago, has been a rendezvous for campers, outing parties and picnickers who always were extended courtesies by the Clarks. Since the Old Stone House park was established by Allamakee county, Mr. and Mrs. Clark have been the custodians of this popular picnic place and all who have gone there have partaken of the well-known Clark hospitality.
~Postville Herald, January 24, 1940
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