Thursday, April 17, 2014

52 Ancestors #15- Sanford Jeremy Clark

Sanford Jeremy Clark

My paternal grandfather, Sanford Edward Clark, was a namesake of his grandfather, Sanford Jeremy.

Who was my great-great grandfather? I admit that he, like so many other forebears, is a bit of an enigma. All I have are tidbits of information, clues for future research. Here is what I do know:

Sanford Jeremy Clark was born on 24 December 1821 in Fort Erie, Welland County, Ontario, Canada. My original source for the information on this branch of the family gave his father's name as Jeremiah Roger Clark, but his mother is more elusive. Also unknown is where Jeremiah was born, and when and why he went to Canada. The same source suggested Ireland, as she found that written on several photos, but according to the 1880 census listing for Sanford, his father was born in Vermont and his mother in Canada.

Sanford (standing) and Jeremiah (seated) Clark, Mary Jane (seated) with two of their daughters

Married Life

Sanford married Mary Jane Dumprope, daughter of John D. and Barsheba (Delong) Dumprope. Mary Jane was born on 20 September 1830 at Ameliasburg, Prince Edward County, Ontario. Prince Edward county is on the northeastern shore of Lake Ontario, just west of the head of the St. Lawrence River. Wellend County, where Sanford was born, is 210 miles to the west and south around the western shore of Lake Ontario. Fort Erie is across the border from Buffalo, New York, where the Niagara River empties into Lake Erie. 

Sanford and Mary Jane Clark

However they met, Sanford and Mary Jane were married about 1847, as their first son William David was born about 1848-1850. Soon after their marriage, they joined several others of the Dumprope family in their move to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where they farmed at Sheboygan Falls for the next thirty years. Their children were all born here.

Their next move was to Door County, where they settled in the Clay Banks community known as Foscoro, along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Thus Sanford became the first of many Clarks (and associated families) who have called Door County home for almost 150 years. 

A painting depicting a farm at Clay Banks, reportedly built by Sanford and Mary Jane's oldest son William David, for his daughter Hannah and Oscar Tollefson.

Clay Banks and Foscoro

Today nothing remains of the once-bustling settlements that grew out of the country's need for lumber. Clay Banks once had a huge sawmill, at least six businesses, three schools, a telegraph terminal, and four post offices. Foscoro, named for the three owners of it's sawmill (Foster, Coe and Rowe), had a sawmill at the mouth of Stoney Creek, telegraph station, post office, and a number of stores. A 1,000-foot pier was constructed at Foscoro to ship lumber products to cities to the south like Milwaukee and Chicago. The length was necessary to keep ships off the shallow offshore reefs and boulders that litter the bottom of the lake. Many ships succumbed to the shoreline's treacherous waters. In later years, several tugs operated from this pier, to aid sailing vessels in entering the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. 

The March 30, 1883 issue of a local newspaper, the Weekly Expositor Independent, reported the following incident on page 2:
Samuel Wilson and Sanford Clark, of Stony Creek, both prominent grangers in that locality, were in town Monday. They brought in a wild cat scalp, but failed to get a bounty on it within the 60 days prescribed by law. Those having the scalps of such animals must recollect the law says within 60 days instead of 90.
The only other references to him I have found contain details of his death on July 12, 1892.

"The Republican" reported on July 21, 1892:
 "Two deaths have occurred in our midst of late, vis, Mrs. Nels Vista and Mr. Clark...The cause of death of Mr. Clark is unknown, he having been found dead some distance from his house."
  The "Door County Advocate" of July 16th reported on page 5:
SUDDEN DEATH. "William Clark (should be Sanford), whose home is in the southern part of Clay Banks, died very suddenly on Tuesday. He was out in the barn attending to some chores, and not returning on time Mrs. Clark began to look for him, and on entering the building she was almost paralyzed to find her husband lying dead on the floor before her. Heart failure is supposed to be the cause of the sudden taking off."
The "Algoma Record Herald" of July 14th contained a one-line obituary:
Clark, Sanford, from Foscoro, leaves wife and 6 grown children.
His memory card reads: 
In Loving Remembrance of Sandford Clark, 
Died July 12, 1892.
Aged 70 Yrs, 6 Mos, 18 Days
Sanford and Mary Jane

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