Descendants of Benjamin CLARK

Contributed by Sharol Schaefer


First Generation

1. Benjamin CLARK , son of Robert CLARK and Nancy MASTERSON , was born on 4 May 1825 in , Perry, Indiana, USA, died on 16 Jul 1900 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 75, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

General Notes:

Research Notes: Printed Article:

Book: "History of Sonoma County," page 412.
"An illustrated history of Sonoma County, California." Containing a history of the county of Sonoma from the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time, together with glimpses of its prospective future; with profuse illustrations of its beautiful scenery, full-page portraits of some of its most eminent men, and biographical mention of many of its pioneers and also of prominent citizens of to-day. [Chicago, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1889, Page 412. Calif. State Library History Room (RR) CALL NUMBER: [Alcove] 979.418 S6 -- Book NC CALL NUMBER: 22 4535 -- Book Calif. History Room (Cases) CALL NUMBER: [q] 979.418 S6 -- Book NC Sutro Library (RR) CALL NUMBER: 22 4535 -- Book


Biography, Benjamin Clark

Benjamin Clark, of Russian River Township, is a native of Indiana, born in Perry County, May 4, 1825, his parents being Robert and Nancy (Masterson) Clark, both of whom were Kentuckians by birth. In 1831, the family removed to Illinois, locating in Bureau County, and there Benjamin Clark was reared. In 1853, he joined an Illinois party bound for California. They crossed the Missouri River at Kaneville, and choosing the Salt Lake route, arrived in Shasta County on the 16th of September, having been to that time from the 17th of March in making the journey. After a residence of four months in Shasta County, Mr. Clark removed to Contra Costa County where he farmed until 1857, when he removed to Sonoma County. At the time he came here his farm was covered with timber and all the improvements now upon the place have been made by him. Mr. Clark was married in Illinois to Miss Elizabeth Fletcher, a native of Fauquier County, Virginia. They have five children; James H. H., born March 12, 1826, Jacob S., Samuel T. (all of whom reside on the home farm); Elizabeth A., wife of J.J. Lindsay of Windsor; and Margaret Melissa, wife of Philip Wells, resides in Contra Costa County. Mr. Clark has been identified with the Republican party ever since its organization, and cast his first presidential vote for Fremont. In 1888, he was nominated by the County Convention of that party for supervisor from the third district of Sonoma County, and was elected in November by a handsome majority. He is a member of the Windsor Lodge, F. & A. M. The subject of this sketch is the owner of a fine ranch of over 200 acres, a mile and a quarter from Windsor, the most of which is devoted to general farming purposes. Three acres are in orchard, the trees being about twenty years old, consisting of almonds, apples and chestnuts. There are two acres of younger tree-peaches, prunes, apricots and plums. All are in good condition and yield well.  Mr. Clark is an upright, conscientious man, and enjoys in a high degree the confidence of his fellowcitizens.

Owner: Jennifer Kerr, 17010 Forest Lake Rd., Sonora, California 95370


Notes: Monday, November 10, 2003

"Date of arrival in Shasta County is different than other biographical article. I believe this is probably the correct date of arrival, September 16, 1853. Six months to cross the country from the Mississippi River to the west coast by wagon. In 1853, they would have used the Nobles Trail to enter California from Nevada if they came from Salt Lake City."

Sharol Lee Fletcher


Newspaper article: Press Democrat, Saturday, July 21, 1900, page 2.

Death of Benjamin Clark

Former Supervisor Benjamin Clark, one of the best known and highly respected citizens of Sonoma county, died at his home one and a half miles east of Windsor, at 2 o'clock on Monday afternoon after a long illness. Few men had more friends than had Mr. Clark who had resided on the place where he passed away since 1861. The deceased was seventy-five years of age and was native of Indiana. He came to Contra Costa county, California in 1856 and after a residence there of five years moved to Sonoma county and purchased the place near Windsor. Mr. Clark leaves a family of two daughters and three sons. They are Mrs. Wells of Contra Costa county; Mrs. J.J. Lindsay of Windsor; James Clark of Windsor; Jacob Clark of Amador county; and Towne Clark. A number of years ago Mr. Clark was elected a supervisor from his district. He was a member of Russian River Lodge, F. and A.M.

Owner: Jennifer Kerr, 17010 Forest Lake Rd., Sonora, California 95370


Notes: Monday, November 10, 2003

"I have no death date for Elizabeth Fletcher, wife of Benjamin Clark. She must have died prior to his death. Benjamin Clark would have died Monday, July 16, 1900. Son, Towne Clark, must be Samuel T. Clark mentioned in other documents. Daughter, Mrs. Wells, would be Margaret Melissa Clark, wife of Philip Wells. Daughter, Mrs. J.J. Lindsay, would be Esther A. Clark. I wonder if Samuel's middle name is Townsend, named after his grandfather Townsend Fletcher, Elizabeth's father?"

Sharol Lee Fletcher


Benjamin married Elizabeth FLETCHER , daughter of Townsend FLETCHER and Susannah READY , on 12 Mar 1846 in , Bureau, Illinois, USA. Elizabeth was born on 14 Mar 1826 in , Fauquier, Virginia, USA,1 died on 12 Jan 1908 in , Sonoma, California, USA at age 81, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

General Notes:

Photo of Elizabeth has written on it: "Moved to California and never heard from after the big earthquake." Probably referring to big 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Research Notes: "Santa Rosa Republican," Santa Rosa, California, January 14, 1908, page 4.

"Mrs. Elizabeth Clark is Summoned by Death"

Mrs. Elizabeth Clark of Windsor has passed to rest. She died last Sunday at the advanced age of 82 years. She was the widow of Benjamin Clark, for several years a member of the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County. He died a dozen years ago. Both were very highly regarded by all who knew them. Mrs. Clark is survived by Jacob S. and J. H. Clark and Mrs. E. A. Lindsay of Windsor, Mrs. Margaret Wells of Oakland and Samuel Clark of Kelseyville-three sons and two daughters. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Clark and made her home with Mrs. E. A. Lindsay. The funeral was held Tuesday from the Lindsay home. Rev. Shilo of the Methodist church having charge of the burial service. The deceased was the grandmother of Undersheriff Walter C. Lindsay.


"The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, January 14. 1908, page 1.

"Pioneer Woman is Called by Death --- Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Clark, Widow of the Late Supervisor Benjamin Clark, on Sunday"

The Angel of Death claimed Mrs. Elizabeth Clark Sunday. She was a pioneer of this state, and came from Virginia where she was born 82 years ago. She was a daughter of one of the first families. She came to California in 1853 with her husband, the late Benjamin Clark, who was at one time a supervisor of this county, died about thirteen years ago. Mrs. Clark was the mother of a large family. The surviving children are Jacob S. Clark, J. H. Clark and Mrs E. A. Lindsay, all of Windsor; Mrs. Margaret Wells, of Oakland and Samuel Clark of Kelseyville. Besides these children there are nineteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Ever since the death of her husband Mrs. Clark has resided with her daughter Mrs. E. A. Lindsay. The funeral will be held this afternoon from the Lindsay home at 11 o'clock with the Rev. Mr. Shilo of the Methodist church officiating. Undersheriff Walter Lindsay is a grandson of the deceased.


Children from this marriage were:

+ 2 F i. Rilla Jane CLARK was born in 1847 in , Bureau, Illinois, USA and died on 14 Mar 1848 at age 1.

+ 3 F ii. Esther Ann CLARKwas born on 27 Jan 1849 in , Bureau, Illinois, USA, died on 10 Nov 1929 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 80, and was buried on 12 Nov 1929 in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.  Esther married Jasper J. LINDSAY (d. 2 Dec 1893) on 5 May 1869 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA.

+ 4 M iii. James Henry Hall CLARKwas born in 1852, died on 18 Aug 1912 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 60, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California. James married Ann B. (d. 2 Feb 1882). James next married Augusta (d. 11 Aug 1912).

+ 5 F iv. Margaret Melissa CLARK was born in , , California, USA. Margaret married Philip WELLS .

+ 6 M v. Jacob S. CLARK was born in Jan 1856 in , Contra Costa, California, USA and died on 1 Feb 1917 in Forest Home, Amador, California, USA at age 61. Jacob married Mary Adeline CHURCH in 1884 in , , California, USA.

+ 7 M vi. Samuel T. CLARK was born in 1857 in , , California, USA.


Source Citations

1. Heritage Books Archives CD with Sonoma Co. Records Vol. 1 (Heritage Books Archives CD with Sonoma Co. Records Vol. 1).


Second Generation (Children)

2. Rilla Jane CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born in 1847 in , Bureau, Illinois, USA and died on 14 Mar 1848 at age 1.

General Notes:   Clark Cemetery, Princeton Township, Bureau County, Illinois

This was found in lost emails from a computer crash on my webmail. On November 10, 2005, Mary Parish writes: "Hello, I hope that you can use this on your Bureau Co website. You can also list my email if people would like pictures of these tombstones. Thank you - Mary Parish Columbus, WI"

Clark Cemetery

"In June of 2005, the Kitterman Family Association held it bi-annual reunion in Princeton, Illinois. Michael Kitterman was one of the earliest settlers in Bureau Co., Illinois. One of the highlights of the reunion was a trip to the Clark Family Cemetery. This Cemetery is on private property in Section 31 of Princeton Township. The current owner has cleaned up the area and gave us the tour. Robert Clark, father of Lydia Clark Kitterman, owned this property in the 1830's. Many years later it was owned by Kitterman's. There are only seven tombstones remaining. There appear to have been more burials but there are no records to provide names. Family history leads us to believe that many burials were removed and placed in other cemeteries. Some burials being in Mt. Bloom Cemetery, Tiskilwa. No record of these removals"

Mary Parish Columbus, WI


Tiskilwa Chief, Oct. 13, 1897, page 1, column 1.

An old and forsaken graveyard has recently been discovered on the Kitterman farm, in the vicinity where old "Rainbow" Johnson lived in an old shack several years ago. This "Silent City of the Dead"is on the brow of a hill looking towards Bureau Creek, inaccessible to a roadway of any kind. It nestles amidst a wilderness of forest trees and undergrowth of shrubbery, and is in so out-of-the-way a place, that one is puzzled to learn how the locality was reached when needed. This burying ground was used as far back as 1845. On the old-fashioned flat tombstones are inscribed such names as, Clark, Mercer, Yarrington and Hock. Each lot at one time was enclosed by a hand-made picket fence, and some of the departed's resting places were designated by a shaft made of walnut wood, on which were inscribed the name, virtues and dates of birth and death of decedents. In all probability the mention of this incident may be the means of bringing to mind interesting details about the lives of the old pioneers, whose graves have become so obscured by time and neglect.

Tombstones found summer of 2005, many are not in their original locations .


3. Esther Ann CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born on 27 Jan 1849 in , Bureau, Illinois, USA, died on 10 Nov 1929 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 80, and was buried on 12 Nov 1929 in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

Research Notes: "The Sotoyome Scimitar," Healdsburg, California, November 14, 1929, page 4.

Esther Lindsay, Pioneer, Passed on Last Sunday

Born in Illinois January 27, 1849, aged more than eighty years, Mrs. Esther Ann Lindsay, mothers of Mrs. Henry Thompson, Mrs. Estella Packwood, Adin Lindsay and the late W. C. Lindsay, died at the old family home in East Windsor last Sunday. She had lived in California more than thirty years, most of the time in Windsor. Mrs. Lindsay was a daughter of Ben Clark, one of the real pioneers of California and a sister of Townsend, Jake and Adam Clark and of Mrs. Wells, the latter of Oakland. A highly respected lady, a good and kind mother, loving friends, she has gone to that reward for which it has been said: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Interment was in Shiloh cemetery on Thursday November 12th, 1929.

Notes: Death would have been November 10, 1929. Townsend may have been brother, Samuel T. Clark. Jake may have been brother, Jacob S. Clark. Adam was not a brother but was probably James H. H. Clarks son, the son that poisoned James and his wife.

Sharol Fletcher


"Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, November 12, 1929, page 8.

Death Notice

Lindsay --- IN Windsor, November 10, 1929, Esther Ann Lindsay, dearly beloved mother of Mrs. Henry Thompson and Adin Lindsay. A native of Illinois, aged 80 years, 10 months, 13 days. Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend the funeral Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Frank Opfer funeral parlors, Windsor, California. Rev. Miss Cole officiating. Services at the grave will be conducted by Valley Home Chapter, Eastern Star. Interment Shiloh cemetery.

Esther married Jasper J. LINDSAY , son of John LINDSAY and Unknown, on 5 May 1869 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA. Jasper was born on 25 Dec 1828 in Ripley Township, Rush, Indiana, USA, died on 2 Dec 1893 at age 64, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

Marriage Notes: "Petaluma Journal and Argus," Petaluma, California, May 13, 1869, page 2.
Lindsay-Clark At the residence of the bride's father near Windsor, May 5, by Rev. J. H. Miilet, Jasper J. Lindsay and Miss Ester A. Clark.

Research Notes: Munro-Fraser, J.P., "History of Sonoma County, California," San Francisco, Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880, c1879, page 622. Biography, J.J. Lindsay

The subject of this memoir was born on the 25th day of December, 1828, in Ripley county, Indiana. When he was but a small boy, his father, with his family on nine, crossed the plains to Oregon, arriving there in the Fall of 1848, where they remained during the Winter, and in the Spring of 1849 came to Green valley, Sonoma county. Owing to the advanced age and ill health of Mr. Lindsay's father, they did not go to the mines, but located on a ranch in the valley, where Mr. Lindsay, Sr., died in the Summer of 1851. The subject of this sketch remained with his father's family, assisted in working the farm, and a portion of the time attended school, till the Spring of 1862, when he left home and proceeded to Nevada; worked at various kinds of mining, and finally put up a quartz-mill, which for a time proved a success, but mining speculations eventually proved disastrous to him financially, and after four years, he returned to this county, and commenced general merchandising in the town of Windsor in the Fall of 1866, where he still continues doing business. He was appointed Postmaster of the town in 1869, which he still holds. He married on the 5th day of May 1869, Miss Esther A. Clark, a resident of Windsor. We now quote Mr. Lindsay's own words, in a letter to us, which says: "The most I have to feel proud of is my two children: The eldest, a boy, Walter C. was born September 10, 1871, the other a girl, Estella Blanch, born July 31, 1874." No man who looks upon his family with such feeling of pride and honor can be other than a noble-hearted gentleman respected by his fellow-citizens in all places and under all circumstances.

Note: Monday, November 10, 2003

Sharol Lee Fletcher


Noted events in his life were:

Children from this marriage were:

+ 8 F i. LINDSAY LINDSAY married Henry THOMPSON .

+ 9 M ii. Adin LINDSAY

+ 10 M iii. Walter C. LINDSAY was born on 10 Sep 1871 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA.

+ 11 F iv. LINDSAY was born in 1873, died on 20 May 1873, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

+ 12 F v. Estella Blanch LINDSAY was born on 31 Jul 1874 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA.  Estella married PACKWOOD .

+ 13 F vi. LINDSAY was born on 4 Sep 1875, died on 17 Oct 1875, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

+ 14 M vii. LINDSAY was born on 5 Jan 1877, died on 7 Jan 1877, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

+ 15 M viii. LINDSAY was born in 1878, died on 15 Mar 1878, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.


4. James Henry Hall CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born in 1852, died on 18 Aug 1912 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 60, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California. James married Ann B.  . Ann was born on 2 Aug 1859, died on 2 Feb 1882 at age 22, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.

The child from this marriage was:

+ 16 M i. Adam CLARK

James next married Augusta . Augusta was born in 1857 in Norway, died on 11 Aug 1912 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA at age 55, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County,

Children from this marriage were:

+ 17 F i. Ethel CLARK

+ 18 M ii. Adam CLARK was born in 1897.

+ 19 M iii. CLARK

+ 20 M iv. CLARK


5. Margaret Melissa CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born in , , California, USA. Margaret married Philip WELLS.


6. Jacob S. CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born in Jan 1856 in , Contra Costa, California, USA and died on 1 Feb 1917 in Forest Home, Amador, California, USA at age 61.

Research Notes: "Auburn Journal," Auburn, California, February 6, 1917, pages 2.

Jacob S. Clark --- Biographical
The late Jacob S. Clark, who died February 1st at Forest Hill, was a Native Son, born in Contra Costa County in 1856. He studied at the State Normal College at San Jose, and also at Napa College where he graduated.  He taught in the state for thirty eight years, thirty five of them being spent in the counties of Amador and Sonoma, in both of which places he had many friends. He taught for three year in Placer County, one year at Bath, and two at Forest Hill. About four years ago he accepted a pension and retired from teaching.

Jacob Clark was brother of Mrs. Margaret Wells of Oakland, and of Mrs. Esther A. Lindsay of Windsor, Sonoma County.  The late teacher also studied law and qualified, but never started in practice. Many of his friends thought he would have been very successful as a lawyer, as he was a man of keen intelligence, and a ready and effective speaker. He was also the possessor of the gift of humor in no small degree. But he kept to his calling, and was a faithful servant of the state. At all times he was distinguished as an energetic, hard worker, and a lover of children.

In 1884, the deceased was married in Amador County; the bride being Mary Adeline Church who now  survives him at Forest Hill as his widow. They had one child, now Mrs. F. O. Smith of Forest Hill, and two grandchildren, Emerson Clark Lee and Harold Mansfield Lee, both bright, promising, lively little boys.

In April of last year, Clark was elected a school trustee at Forest Hill and justified the wisdom of the people in choosing him, by interesting himself in school affairs in a practical manner, possible only to one of his ripe knowledge of school matters. After his election he at once lent his experience to assist in choosing new teachers for Forest Hill. Having retired finally from teaching, he had no possible interest to serve, save that of the school.

It was characteristic of the man that, busy though he always was, he found or made time to be in the school observing at firs hand the methods of teaching carried on in the daily routine which he highly commended. He was always ready to give helpful counsel to the teachers whose difficulties he understood so well, and at different times he gave wise fatherly advice to the children with whose local characteristics he was thoroughly acquainted.

His death is a severe loss to the school and his place as a trustee will be hard to fill as his inside knowledge of educational matters combined with his disinterested position and great energy enabled him to be a real service to the community.

Jacob married Mary Adeline CHURCH in 1884 in , , California, USA. Mary was born in Sep 1862.

The child from this marriage was:

+ 21 F i. Elsie M. CLARK was born in May 1889. Elsie married LEE .  Elsie next married F. O. SMITH .


7. Samuel T. CLARK (Benjamin 1) was born in 1857 in , , California, USA.

General Notes:

One old newspaper article cited a Towne Clark as son of Benjamin Clark and had omited Samuel as son of Benjamin Clark. This was probably Samuel T. as he may have been known by his middle name. The T could have been for Townsend, his grandfather's name.

Noted events in his life were:


Third Generation (Grandchildren)

8. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1). LINDSAY married Henry THOMPSON .


9. Adin LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1).


10. Walter C. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born on 10 Sep 1871 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA.


11. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born in 1873, died on 20 May 1873, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.


12. Estella Blanch LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born on 31 Jul 1874 in Windsor, Sonoma, California, USA. Estella married PACKWOOD .


13. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born on 4 Sep 1875, died on 17 Oct 1875, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.


14. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born on 5 Jan 1877, died on 7 Jan 1877, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.


15. LINDSAY (Esther Ann CLARK 2, Benjamin 1) was born in 1878, died on 15 Mar 1878, and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Sonoma County, California.


16. Adam CLARK (James Henry Hall 2, Benjamin 1).
Research Notes: "The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, Saturday Morning, August 17, 1912, Vol. XXXIX, No. 193, page 1.

Boy Poisons His Father and Mother - Adam Clark of Windsor Makes Startling Confession to the Officers Here Last Night, Mother Died Sunday Father is Also Dying, Confesses to Putting "Rough on Rats" in the Coffee

Suspicious Symptoms Following Illness of Mr. and Mrs. James Clark, Are Given Color by Boy's Remarks Following Funeral of His Mother

From the lips of Adam Clark, a fifteen-year-old Windsor boy was poured a terrible confession into the ears of District Attorney Clarence F. Lea and Sheriff John K. Smith at the county jail in this city last night. He admitted having poisoned his mother, Mrs. Augusta Clark, who died last Sunday. While he was admitting the awful details of his crime, his father, James Clark, was hovering between life and death at a neighbor's home in Windsor, where he is being cared for, dying from the effects of having also partaken of the coffee, poisoned by his son. When District Attorney Lea and Sheriff Smith left his beside last night he was delirious and unable to make a statement of any kind, and the attending physician stated that he did not think he could live through the night.

The Boy's Confession

"I put 'rough on rats' in the coffee because my mother had said she would send me to a reform school, and I did not want to go. I know I have done wrong and am willing to be punished. I did not think mother would die so quick from the poison. I once used it on some rats and it did not kill them."

Such was the confession made to the officers of the law by young Adam Clark last night. He did not at first admit his guilt, but the officers were confident that he would make just such a confession as earlier he had made statements that pointed unmistakably to the crime.

He Cause Investigation

In fact, it was a remark he had passed concerning "poison in coffee and sugar," soon after his mother's body had been laid to rest in the little church yard near Windsor last Tuesday that started the investigation that culminated in the inquiry made by the officers, and the subsequent confession as detailed. The fact that the father was sick unto death and that he had shown the same symptoms that had marked the early stages of his wife's illness, added to the suspicion that her death and his illness had been super-induced by other than natural causes.

Story of the Crime

On June 23 the boy left his home in Windsor and went to work with a hay bailing crew against his mother's wish, so District Attorney Lea and Sheriff Smith learned during their investigation. His mother went to see him and endeavored to get him to return home. He refused to do so. Then Mrs. Clark threatened to have him arrested and sent to a reform school. He still refused, but finally came home and remained a while. But he was not satisfied, and again returned to work with the hay balers. District Attorney Lea ascertained yesterday that Adam was in the habit of returning to his home once a week on Sundays, to change his clothes, and still protested against being sent to a reform school. On Sunday, July 28, he visited his home and according to his statement to the District Attorney and Sheriff last night, it was then that he placed the "Rough on Rats" in the coffee canister. The next morning Mrs. Clark was taken ill, and her symptoms the public prosecutor and sheriff learned yesterday pointed to those of arsenic poisoning. She suffered from headaches and other disorders. She was taken care of by neighbors, and got better. The neighbors were going away to the coast and she felt so much better she returned to her home. She was soon afterwards taken sick again and her husband came to the house and took care of her.

In a short time he too was taken ill, and his symptoms were similar to those attacking his wife. But even then nothing was thought of poison. When Dr. R. E. Pagett was called to see Mrs. Clark her illness was thought to have resulted with a diseased liver. She grew worse and pneumonia developed. Dr. J. W. Seamell of this city upon his return from a call at Cloverdale Saturday evening as called into consultation. He found Mrs. Clark desperately ill with pneumonia and after she had been wrapped up she was placed in his automobile and hurried to the Santa Rosa Hospital as the doctor realized a most strenuous effort was necessary tin the endeavor to save her life. Everything was done but she died early Sunday morning before it was possible for Dr. Seamell to get a history of the case other than that it was a desperate on of pneumonia.

Boy's "Poison" Remark

Mrs. Clark's funeral took place at Windsor on Tuesday afternoon and it was then that Adam Clark is said to have remarked to some one in the house: "I would not touch that coffee or sugar, as there is poison in it." This statement was regarded as suspicious and the officers were informed. From District Attorney Lea it was learned last night that an analysis of a sample of the sugar in the house had led to the discovery of arsenic in it.

Daughter's Lucky Escape

That Ethel Clark did not meet with a similar fate is only due to the fact that she did not drink and coffee at the house during the illness of her father and mother. A man named J. Ruddle of Merced, who was in Windsor at the time, went to the Clark house to take care of Mr. Clark and in the morning after his first breakfast he was taken ill. This was about three hours after he had eaten breakfast. After breakfast the next day he experienced similar symptoms, but recovered. He is a strong robust man.

Mr. Clark was removed to the house of neighbors and is at present at the home of Ed Thompson. He was still alive at three o'clock this morning when a Press Democrat representative called there having been driven up to Windsor by J. Ray Crone in Mr. Crone's automobile. It is probable that the remains of the late Mrs. Clark may be exhumed for chemical examination of the stomach. "Rough on Rats" contains forty per cent arsenic.

Mrs. Clark was fifty-five years of age, and her husband is sixty-one. They have resided in the Windsor section for a number of years. Owing to a disagreement over family affairs, Mr. and Mrs. Clark separated some time ago having arranged their property affairs. As stated when he learned of his wife's illness the husband went to the house to take care of her. The boy, according to the testimony of people who knew him, has been somewhat of an incorrigible. There are two other boys who are away from home. The daughter, Miss Ethel Clark, a highly respectable girl has been employed in this city. The case of course, is a deplorable one. The boy seemed last night to realize his position. He is repentant as he told the District Attorney and Sheriff when he confessed: "I have done wrong and am willing to be punished." As stated his father's life will likely before the day is over be another sacrifice to his awful act. The Clark family are well known here, and are quite prominently connected. District Attorney Lea and Sheriff Smith will make further investigations of the case today.


"The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, Sunday August 18, 1912, Vol. XXXIX No. 194, page 1.

Coroner's Jury Charges Adam Clark With The Murder

Father Follows Mother to Death on Saturday as Result of Poisoning of Coffee by Son

Inquest Held Here on Saturday

Seldom has a story startled the community any more than that in the Press Democrat of Saturday morning, which detailed the shocking confession of fifteen-year-old Adam Clark of Windsor that he had placed rat poison in a canister of coffee at his mother's home, thereby poisoning her and causing her death. Saturday afternoon his father, James Clark, also paid the penalty of his son's awful crime, he too, having partaken of the death leading draught from the coffee pot. Death relieved his sufferings at three o'clock.

In the undertaking parlors of Weltl Brothers in this city on Saturday night lay the bodies of both victims, presenting one of the saddest spectacles imaginable. Over in a cell at the county jail was the self confessed slayer, his conscience probably prompting repentance. As already stated his excuse for his revolting deed being that his mother had threatened to send him to a reform school and that "she had always raised the dickens with him."

Reiterates His Confession

District Attorney Clarence Fl. Lea visited the youth in the county jail on Saturday morning. He reiterated his confession of the previous evening.

"I did not get along well with my mother," he said. "Since I was twelve years of age she had kept at me and was too serve. A week before I put the poison in the coffee I made up my mind to do it. Before I went to work on the baler, mother threatened to send me to a reform school. She did so a number of times, and I did not want to go. After I had left home and gone to work with the balers, mother came and told the boss that I should not go. He did not tell me until we had almost got to Fulton. I went back and on the Sunday following after we had words. I went back to work on the baler. Then I made up my mind that I would put the 'rough on rats' in the coffee. The next Sunday I went home and my mother was away. She had gone to see some of the folks, there was no one around and I put the poison in the coffee can. I had got the 'rough on rate' because the rats had bothered my rabbits and I killed some of the rats with it. I did not think it would kill mother so soon.

On the Tuesday morning following the putting of the poison in the coffee can I heard mother was sick and that she had a bilious attack or something like that. Then I heard again that she was sick at Mrs. Philberts. I don't know what made me do it. I did wrong and I am willing to be punished for it." This in substance is what the boy told District Attorney Lea and Sheriff Jack Smith. He gave way to tears after the recital of his terrible deed.

Mrs. Clark's Body Exhumed

The body of the late Mrs. Clark was exhumed from its resting-place in Shiloh cemetery and was brought to the undertaker's here Saturday. Then Dr. J. W. Jesse performed an autopsy and removed the stomach, heart and liver and later in the day in a sealed case Deputy sheriff Donald McIntosh went to San Francisco taking the dame to Dr. Price, the noted analytical chemist, to have him analyze the stomach and other organs for traces of the arsenic poison. Saturday night, Dr. Jesse, assisted by Dr. A. R. Howard, also performed an autopsy on the body of James Clark.

Dr. Jackson Temple analyzed the coffee taken from the Clark residence and found that it contained arsenic. He also analyzed some of the sugar with like result.

Coroner Holds Inquest

AT Weltl's undertaking parlor on Saturday afternoon Coroner Frank J. Blackburn held and inquest over the exhumed body of Mrs. Augusta Clark. The jury sworn was composed of Walter F. Price, T. B. Heckley, G. A. McColley, Albert Shea, D. E. Albers, D. B. Hodgson, Joseph Farrell, Don Patteson, Joseph A. Coleman and E. F. Sims. Coroner Blackburn presided at the inquest and District Attorney Clarance Lea interrogated the witnesses.

Dr. Pagett Suspects Poisoning

The first witness called was Dr. F. E. Pagett, the Windsor physician. He testified that he was called to see Mrs. Clark at her home in Windsor on August e, four days after she had taken the fatal draught of poisoned coffee. She told him that she had been vomiting incessantly and had not been able to keep anything on her  stomach, and that she had been troubled with severe headaches and pains in the stomach. Dr. Pagett testified that he at once diagnosed the case as one of poisoning and prescribed for her accordingly.

She having previously told him of her family troubles he thought that possibly she had become despondent and might have taken some poison. "I was so thoroughly convinced that it was a case of poisoning," says the doctor, "that I asked her whether she had taken anything. She replied that she had." Dr. Pagett testified that Mrs. Clark improved under his treatment and after the second visit she told him that she felt so well that he need not call again, as she was poor and did not want to run up a larger doctor bill than she could pay. At that time she was so much improved he said that she could take food without vomiting.

Dr. Pagett testified further that he did not see Mrs. Clark again until the following Sunday when he was called to see her at a neighbor's, Mrs. Philbert. He found that she was afflicted with similar symptoms as before. She had been vomiting and her mouth, tongue and face were swollen and she complained of severe pains in the abdomen. He said her treated her for poisoning and she got better. He attended her for a few days and she said she felt so much better that she thought she would return home next day. This was Wednesday, August 7, and he did not see her again alive. Last Sunday he was informed of her death. He was certain that the death was due to metallic poisoning.

Husband Also Poisoned

Dr. Pagett testified further that he had been called to see Mr. Clark on Thursday and found him with similar symptoms to those, which his wife had suffered, and he treated him in a similar manner. He said that Clark had told him that he had been taken sick after he had partaken of meals at his wife's house where he had gone to assist in taking care of her during her illness. Dr. Pagett testified that Clark had also died from the effects of poisoning.

Mr. Pohley a Witness

Former Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue J. C. Pohley, one of the neighbors of the Clarks, testified as to being aware of the trouble in the Clark family and as to other matters. Mr. Pohley, Dr. Pagett and William C. Chrisholm took up the poison theory and investigated it, later securing a box, partially filled with rat poison and also the coffee canister containing the poisoned coffee from the Clark home, where it was handed to them by Miss Ethel Clark. They sealed and brought it to Sheriff Smith and turned it over to him, and also acquainted the District Attorney and Sheriff with their suspicions.

Sheriff Smith Testified

Sheriff J. K. Smith testified that he arrested Adam Clark on Friday afternoon and when he spoke to him first concerning the case the boy denied any connection with the poisoning. He took the boy to see his sick father, and then the boy stated that he had poisoned his mother accidentally. Friday night in the county jail he finally admitted the crime, stating her had done so because she had threatened to send him to a reform school, and would not let him work on the hay baler. Sheriff Smith testified that Adam Clark had first stated that the poison had accidentally fallen into the coffee can but later admitted that her had taken a h handful of the poison out of the box and had put it in the can and had then washed his hands and left the house. His mother was not home at the time this lad told the Sheriff, no one but himself was in the house then. The boy told him, he said, that there had been a good deal of friction between himself and his mother.

Jury Charges Murder

The jury were satisfied that they had heard enough testimony and found a verdict as set forth above, charging Adam Clark with the murder of his mother.

Inquest on Man Tomorrow

The inquest on the body of James Clark will be held at ten tomorrow morning and it is likely that a similar verdict will be returned as in Mrs. Clark's case, the medical testimony showing that he died under similar circumstances.

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"The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, August 20, 1912, page 3.

Inquest Held on Body of Clark

Son is Also Charge With Murder, By Poisoning His Father, at Windsor

For the second time Adam Clark, the fifteen-year-old Windsor boy, who poisoned his father and his mother, charged with murder. Monday morning at Weltl's undertaking parlors, when Coroner Frank A. Blackburn held an inquest over the remains of James Clark, the father. A jury composed of John J. Walker, foreman; Dawson Dixon, Don Patteson, Jack Forsyth, J. W. Churchman, T. B. Heckley, August D. Ketterlin, and P. A. Bertolani found, as one had done on Saturday afternoon in the case of the mother, that the boy had administered metallic poison with criminal intent. He placed the rat poison in the coffee canister. Both his parents drank fatal draughts of the poisoned coffee. The witnesses called Monday morning were Dr. F. E. Pagett, the Windsor physician, Sheriff J. K. Smith, Dr. Jackson Temple and Fr. J. W. Seamell. District Attorney Lea interrogated the witnesses, and Court Reporter Harry Scott took down the testimony in short hand. Dr. Pagett testified as to his having been called to see James H. Clark, and to finding him suffering from symptoms that indicated that he had been poisoned. He described the symptoms to the jury. He testified that Clark had told him that he had been taken with pains to the stomach, and vomiting after drinking some coffee at meals in his wife's home. Sheriff Smith detailed much of the evidence given at the inquest held over the remains of Mrs. Clark on Saturday, told of the boy's confession and gave other evidence.

Dr. Pagett also related that he and Joseph C. Pohley and William C. Chrisholm took the coffee canister and box of rat poison from the house occupied by Mrs. Clark in Windsor. They sealed the canister and later delivered it to Sheriff Smith. Dr. J. W. Seamell testified to having called to see Mrs. Clark the day before her death. He had known the family for some time previously. He said he found Mrs. Clark sitting in her night dress on the porch of the house, and from her difficult breathing and general condition he diagnosed the case as one of pneumonia, having been informed nothing of the previous history of the case. Mr. Clark was also complaining of feeling unwell at the time, saying he was sick and not at all will.


"The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, August 20, 1812, page 5.

Adam Clark is Remanded to the Juvenile Court

Complaint Charging Murder Filed Here Yesterday

In Justice Atchinson's court on Monday District Attorney Clarence F. Lea filed a compliant, charging Adam Clark with the willful murder, with malice aforethought of his mother, Mrs. Augusta Clark, whom he poisoned by placing rat poison in a coffee canister. At an inquest held Monday the jury also charged him with the murder of his father, James H. Clark, who also died from the effects of the poisoning. The complaint was sworn to by Sheriff J. K. Smith. Now that the complaint has been filed by the District Attorney, the case as prescribed by law, goes into the Juvenile Court, over which Superior Judge Emmet Seawell presides. The law says that the Juvenile Court shall investigate and decide whether the matter shall be dealt with in the Juvenile Court or be sent to the Superior Court. Adam Clark can be given the full extent of the law as if he was an older person, charged with murder in the first degree. The boy was taken into court and the order transferring the case to the Juvenile Court was made.

Dr. Temple Finds Arsenic

Dr. Jackson Temple reported to District Attorney Lea on Monday afternoon that he had discovered arsenic in a sampling taken from James Clark proving beyond any doubt that the poison killed him too.


"The Press Democrat," Santa Rosa, California, August 21, 1912, page 2.

Double Funeral Held Yesterday

Caskets Containing Remains of Mr. and Mrs. James Clark Consigned to Earth- Petition Filed

The funeral took place yesterday afternoon at Windsor of James H. Clark. Simultaneously with the internment of his remains the casket containing those of his wife, exhumed after the confession of her son, Adam Clark, that he had been the cause of both the deaths of his father and mother by poisoning their coffee, were also reinterned. The Rev. Peter Colvin was the minister officiating at the funeral, and both caskets were taken to Shiloh cemetery from Weltl Brothers' undertaking apartments in this city.

Probation Officer Files Petition

County Probation Officer J. P. Plover, in accordance with the law, filed a petition yesterday that Adam Clark be declared a delinquent child. Superior Judge Emmet Seawell has set the date of the hearing of the petition for August 29. Then it will be determined whether young Clark shall be dealt with by the Juvenile Court, or take the regular course in such criminal cases. Being under eighteen years of age, the prisoner comes up first before the Juvenile Court.

Taken to See Parents

Sheriff Smith took the boy down to the undertaking parlors to see the dead bodies of his parents. He took a long look at the placid features of his father, and seemed to feel the death of the latter quite keenly. He did not care to look at his mother.


Notes: What ever happened to Adam Clark? Was he convicted in juvenile court? What was his sentence? Where did he serve his sentence? Obituary of Adam's Aunt, Mrs. Esther Clark Lindsay, refers to brother Adam. Esther did not have a brother Adam. Could this be the Adam Clark the article refers to?

Sharol Fletcher


17. Ethel CLARK (James Henry Hall 2, Benjamin 1).


18. Adam CLARK (James Henry Hall 2, Benjamin 1) was born in 1897.


19. CLARK (James Henry Hall 2, Benjamin 1).


20. CLARK (James Henry Hall 2, Benjamin 1).


21. Elsie M. CLARK (Jacob S. 2, Benjamin 1) was born in May 1889. Elsie married LEE .

Children from this marriage were:

+ 22 M i. Emerson Clark LEE.

+ 23 M ii. Harold Mansfield LEE.

Elsie next married F. O. SMITH .


Fourth Generation (Great-Grandchildren)

22. Emerson Clark LEE (Elsie M. CLARK 3, Jacob S. 2, Benjamin 1).

23. Harold Mansfield LEE (Elsie M. CLARK 3, Jacob S. 2, Benjamin 1).


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