Biography of John A. Clark

John A. Clark. Among the numerous families of Champaign County whose activities have contributed materially to its upbuilding and the promotion of its best interests that of Clark stands prominent.

Now living retired at Rantoul, Mr. John A. Clark spent the best years of his active career as a successful farmer, and he reared and liberally provided for his family through the fruits of his toil in the fields of this county.

Mr. Clark is a son of John and Jean (Butters) Clark, both of whom were born and reared among the hills and heather of Scotland. John Clark’s heart was won by a Scotch lassie and he succeeded in persuading her to change her name. The young people were possessed of characteristic energy and progressiveness, strong traits of the native Scotch. It was their ardent desire to cast their lot with the New World, concerning which they had heard wonderful stories. On the day following their wedding, when the festivities of the occasion were scarcely ended, John and Jane Clark started for America. The future was rainbowed with promises, and seen through a rosy tint of bright anticipation they courageously undertook to carve out their own fortune. After landing in New York they lived there two years and then removed to Cook County, Illinois, and still later to Champaign County. From time to time children came into their home until the house echoed with the cheerful laughter of four bright Scotch-American girls and boys. They were named Alexander M., Robert B., John A. and Elizabeth W. Clark.

John Clark, Sr., spent his life as a farmer and in time acquired a fine estate and a luxurious home, surrounded with productive land. He finally retired from active duties and removed to Gifford, where he entered into rest August 21, 1917, honored and esteemed.

John A. Clark married Dora Hummel, daughter of Phillip and Catherine Hummel, both of whom are natives of Germany and came to America at an early day. This good couple was possessed of the usual German energy and thrift. The Hummel children were Phillip and Mary (born to the father’s first union in Germany), Henry, Chris, Will, Mrs. Anna Roberts and Mrs. Dora Clark.

John and Dora Clark began their wedded life on a farm near Penfield, Illinois, and in that section of Champaign County their industry and energy soon brought ample reward. Into their home were born five daughters and one son. The son died in infancy, but the disappointment of this loss was recompensed somewhat by the lives of the five daughters who grew to the flower of womanhood. These daughters are named Pauline, Julia, Dorothy, Rosilla and Orvilla. The daughters first attended the Stone Street district school, later the high school at Penfield, from which both Dorothy and Rosilla graduated with honors, the former in 1909 and the latter in 1911. Dorothy Clark, in order to fit herself for a position of usefulness, went to Urbana and learned the dressmaking trade from Mrs. Maxfield and is now successfully engaged in that occupation. Mrs. Clark endeavored to rear her daughters as diligent and faithful home makers, and it has been her satisfaction to see the splendid proofs of her work in the efficiency with which these young people have gone about their duties. Pauline Clark married John Oehmke, a farmer near Penfield, and they have two children, Dorothy and Myron. Rosilla Clark married Lloyd Wise, and it is permitted to say that he was a wise man to secure such a worthy companion. He is a successful farmer, and they reside on the Clark estate at Penfield, where Mr. and Mrs. Clark had their home for thirty-five prosperous and happy years. Mr. and Mrs. Wise have a daughter, Gwendolyn. The remaining three daughters, Julia, Dorothy and Orvilla, still reside with their parents. For seven years Dorothy lived with her Grandparents Clark at Gifford, where she attended high school.

In politics John A. Clark has always been a stanch Republican. He and his brothers learned the principles of that political faith from their father in boyhood days. The strongest characteristic of his life aside from the hard sense he has employed in his business affairs is the public spirited attitude he has taken into his relations with the community. That he possesses the full confidence of his fellow citizens scarcely needs proof in a community where he has been known for so long. His counsel and advice have been sought frequently in the administration of public affairs. He served as school director, and whether officially or as a private citizen he has done all he could to promote the upbuilding of the local schools. He has also been road commissioner, township central committeeman for many years, and was township supervisor until he removed from his old neighborhood. His experiences and opinions have been helpful and have been appreciated. Mr. Clark is a true American, of that type which has colored and made glorious the annals of this country.

Mr. and Mrs. Clark with their daughters are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Penfield. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, and both he and his wife are members of the Court of Honor. Formerly Mrs. Clark and daughters were Pythian Sisters. In 1917 Mr. and Mrs. Clark retired to Rantoul, where they have a pleasant home on Grove Avenue. They are still active, and the wisdom of experience enables them to enjoy these years even more abundantly than the past. They have contributed their share toward the enrichment of American life, have reared their daughters and trained them carefully for the emergencies and duties of the world, and it is not strange that they enjoy the esteem and admiration of a host of friends.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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