[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

CLARKE, Charles Shipman, M. D.


Posted By: Joey Stark - Jefferson Co. Volunteer
Date: 8/1/2007 at 21:10:34

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago, Pages 581-583

Charles Shipman CLARKE, M. D., a pioneer physician of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and for many years a prominent business man of Fairfield, was born in Marietta, Ohio, December 15, 1814, and was a son of Sylvester and Mary (BULL) CLARKE. His father, Sylvester CLARKE, was of English descent, born March 27, 1786, in West Middleton, Conn. His mother, Mary (BULL) CLARKE, was also of English descent, born in Weathersfield, Conn., March 5, 1787. They were married September 20, 1807, and became the parents of six children. Charles Shipman, the eldest son, was born, as stated, in Ohio, where his parents had emigrated at an early day, his mother having an interest in what was known as the Ohio Company's Purchase. The family lived in Marietta until 1817 when they removed to Fredericktown, Knox County of the same State, where they made their home for many years, coming to Iowa in the autumn of 1843, settling in Mt. Pleasant, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The father died March 3, 1858, and the mother departed this life October 22, 1845.

Dr. CLARKE received a liberal education and attended a course of lectures at the Columbus Medical College in 1835, after which he entered upon the practice of his profession in Sunbury, Delaware County, Ohio. On the 8th of October, 1837, he was married, in Fredericktown, to Miss Sarah L. WADSWORTH, who is a native of Pittsford, Vt., and a daughter of Samuel and Sarah (YEMANS) WADSWORTH. Her father and paternal grandfather were related to Henry WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, America's illustrious poet. Mrs. CLARKE is a descendant of Christopher WADSWORTH, the founder of the family in this country, who landed on the American shore from the good ship "Lion" September 16, 1632. He had four children, three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Capt. Samuel WADSWORTH, was killed in the Indian War in Sudbury, Mass. Mrs. CLARKE's grandfather, David WADSWORTH, and father, Samuel WADSWORTH, were born in Stoughton, Mass. The former married Eleanore CAPEN and unto them were born six children, of whom Samuel was the eldest. The family removed to Rutland, Vt., where on the 21st of October, 1813, Samuel married Sarah YEMANS. Unto them were born eight children, three of whom died in infancy. Through the persuation of David WADSWORTH, who had been in the West several years and who returned to Vermont to visit his aged parents, his brother Samuel decided to emigrate to Ohio, hoping thereby to better the condition of his children. He settled in Fredericktown, the home of Dr. CLARKE, who first became acquainted with Sarah WADSWORTH during their school days.

The Doctor practiced a year with his old preceptor and after marrying Miss WADSWORTH removed to Sunbury, Delaware County, wher he spent about four years, when his wife became so ill that her life was despaired of. She finally rallied so far as to be able to travel and the Doctor took her to Kentucky, hoping that a milder climate would restore her health. After four pleasant years of improvement they returned to Ohio. The Doctor now carried out his long-cherished wish of attending another course of lectures and was graduated with honor in Cincinnati in 1843. Returning home he found a sister and brother-in-law on the eve of removing to Iowa and anxious that he should accompany them. As he was unsettled he concluded to do so and found a good opening in Mt. Pleasant, where he devoted fourteen years to an active and successful practice. His ability and skill gave him rank among the leading physicians of the State and he was recognized as a prominent member of the county and State medical societies. On the 24th of January, 1855, he was appointed by the General Assembly a member of the Board of Commissioners whose duty it was to purchase and located a site and adopt plans for an insane asylum. Gov. Grimes and Judge Edward Johnson were appointed his associates on the Board. The Commissioners made a tour of nine of the Eastern States, decided on a plan and selected Mt. Pleasant as the site of the proposed asylum. During the erection and completion of the institution the Doctor was actively identified with its management and to his foresight the people of the State are much indebted for the perfection and successful start of that important State institution. In 1857, on account of impaired health, he removed to Fairfield and engaged in the drug business with the view of retiring from the more arduous life of a practicing physician. From that time forward he virtually abandoned all practice, only making an occasional exception to the rule, when, out of the kindness of his heart, he attended without charge a member of the family of some intimate friend.

Dr. CLARKE's family consisted of his wife and five children, two daughters and three sons, to whom he was devoted with that earnest tenderness which characterized his nature. Charles A., the eldest son, married Miss Ella A. ACHESON, a daughter of George ACHESON, and is a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, now stationed on the Sandwich Islands. George D., the next younger married Miss Etta MONTGOMERY and is engaged in the drug business in Fairfield; J. Frederick, the youngest of the family, was graduated from the State University of Iowa in the class of 1886 and from the University of Pennsylvania with the degree of M. D. in the class of 1889. He now holds the position of resident physician in the Philadelphia Hospital.

Dr. CLARKE was a Whig in early life and on the dissolution of that party was one of the first to aid in the formation of the Republican party. He was an earnest patriot and during the late war for the preservation of the Union was a stanch supporter of the administration of President Lincoln. His acquaintance was extensive among the leading public men of Iowa and he enjoyed the confidence and personal regard of such as Gov. Kirkwood, Gov. Grimes, Senator Harlan and many others of prominence. He was well versed in politics and always manifested a deep interest in public affairs and exercised a strong influence in that direction without desiring preferment for himself. For many years his place of business was the political headquarters for the leaders of his party in Fairfield, and Dr. CLARKE's opinions and advice were much sought and consulted. When in the year 1872 Horace Greeley and many other leading Republicans opposed the re-election of Grant, Dr. CLARKE joined that part of the party called "Liberal Republicans" and opposed the regular nominations of the old party. True to his convictions and in spite of the stong ties of personal friendship existing between himself and the Republican leaders in Iowa, Dr. CLARKE continued to support the opposition and thereby necessarily became estranged to a certain extent from his old party affiliations. He at once became prominent on the other side and at one time was nominated for the State Senate by the Democrats and Liberals but his party strength was not equal to securing his election. In his religious views, Dr. CLARKE was broad and liberal and should properly be classed as a Unitarian. However, he gave to the support of churches of all denominations and was free-hearted and generous in support of all worthy public enterprises. To young men he was especially helpful in encouraging and aiding them to make a start in life. The unfortunate and needy always found in him a true friend and were always benefited by his warm sympathy and substantial generosity. He continued in the drug business in Fairfield up to the time of his last illness, which resulted in his death on the 4th of March, 1882.

The principles of fraternal and benevolent societies attracted the attention of Dr. CLARKE in early life and were in sympathy with his generous and social nature. He became a Mason in Mt. Pleasant and was at the time of his death a member of Clinton Lodge, No. 15, A. F. & A. M. and Jefferson Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F., of Fairfield. He took a warm interest in educational matters and in 1859 was elected the first President of the Board of the Fairfield independent school district and was actively connected with the Board for several years. The Jefferson County Public Library enlisted his warmest interest from the time of his coming to Fairfield. He was elected a member of the Library Board in 1858 and that institution had few more devoted friends or workers than he.

Mrs. CLARKE survives her husband and is still a resident of Fairfield, where she enjoys the high esteem and kindly regard of a wide circle of friends.

[This Biography is also posted to the Jefferson County Biographies Board.]

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


Henry Biographies maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]