Friday, February 21, 2014

Dr John Clark{e} Newbury MA


  Gift of Sarah W. Pickering and Hepsie S. Howard to the Boston Medical Library, 1901

In 1635 Dr. John Clarke moved to Newbury MA and is listed as one of the first settlers. In 1638 the town “granted that Mr. Clark, in respect of his calling, be freed and exempted from all public rates so long as he shall remayne with us and exercise his calling among us.” Coffin's History of Newbury, states: "The tract of land which was set apart as the place for pasturing these cattle was near the falls of Newbury. Of this land, Mr. John Spencer had a mill lot of fifty acres, Mr. Richard Dummer three hundred acres, Mr. Henry Sewall five hundred acres, Mr. John Clark four hundred acres. In town records Clark is listed among those who "had contributed fifty pounds into the common stock was granted 200 acres, and every person who had transported himself and family to New England at his own expense was entitled to 50 acres. More records note in November 1637, that Dr. John Clark was granted a farm "of 400 acres, next to Mr. Sewalls at the mouth of Carte Creeke."

Dr. Clark married Martha Saltonstall, sister of Sir Richard Saltonstall of Boston, and had two children, John and Jemima, the latter of whom married Mr. Drew.

According to America Volume 6 a general town meeting held in Newbury September 28, 1638, the following action was taken: "It was granted that Mr. Clark, in respect of his calling, should be freed and exempted from all publick rates either for the town or the county so long as he shall remain with us and exercise his calling among us.'' The General Court of the colony (the Legislature) September 6, 1638, granted to Seimon Bradstreet and Captain Daniel Dennison of Ipswich, John Clark and Christopher Batt, of Newbury and others liberty to begin a Plantation at Merrimack." The location on the north side of the Merrimac River was selected early in the spring of 1639, where a settlement was commenced and the place named Salisbury.


Clark was the first regularly educated physician to live in New England. In Medicine in American Art author Stefan C. Schatzki notes that Clark promoted progressive and scientific methods of agriculture and introduced improved breeds of farm animals. He maintained his Plymouth farm for many years. However, by the mid-seventeenth century, it became apparent that Boston was destined to become the central city of the new colony, and Clark moved there in 1650. He married Martha Saltonstall, a member of a family that was to be politically active in Massachusetts into the twentieth century, and a perusal of the family records of mid seventeenth century Bostonians confirm that Dr. Clark was the chosen physician of the leading families of early Boston.

Clark also improved breeds of farm animals horses, cattle, etc. Some of the horses he introduced were long known throughout New England as "Clark's breed." He maintained for many years a large farm at Plymouth, Mass. During the years 1644-5 the people of Newbury were confronted with some vital problems concerning their future as a town. In January, 1646, at a general town meeting of the citizens Dr. Clark was appointed on a committee composed of eight to address all issues.

Clark received a patent from the general court of Massachusetts on an invention for sawing wood and warming houses with little cost, and it is said that his stoves mark an era in the history of New England.

A little tidbit on Clark

Sarah Wolcott. Born ca 1636 in Watertown, MA. Sarah died on 12 Mar 1675/6 in Plymouth, MA.
On 1 Mar 1659[/60] Sarah married William Clark, son of Thomas Clark (1599-24 Mar 1697) & Susannah Ring (ca 1611-), in Plymouth, MA.58 Born ca 1634.16
William first married Sarah Wolcott, second Hannah Griswold, and third Abiah Wilder.
William and Sarah
    “lived in a garrison house by Eel river, which was surprised by the Indians on a Sunday, March 12, 1676, while he was at church. His wife, several of his children, and some other persons, eleven in all, were killed in this attack, which is said to have been the only serious one ever made on the settlement. A son of William Clarke, named Thomas, was left for dead, but afterwards recovered, and had a silver plate but over his exposed brain, by the celebrated surgeon Dr. John Clarke, of Boston. He ever afterwards was known as ‘Silver-headed Tom.’
    “In July 1676, two hundred Indians surrendered themselves to the Plymouth Governor, and were pardoned, with the exception of those who had been concerned in the slaughter at Clarke’s garrison at Plymouth; these were put to death.—Baylies’ History

Clark was a member of the Scots Charitable Society
Great Resource  The Descendants of Nathaniel Clarke and His Wife Elizabeth Somerby of Newbury, Massachusetts: A History of Ten Generations, 1642-1902 by George Kuhn Clarke
Records of the descendants of Hugh Clark: of Watertown, Mass. 1640-1866 By John Clark
Below is the grandson of John Clark 

JOHN CLARK
Born 1667, died 1728, aged 60.

Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University: Cambridge, Massachusetts, Vol 3

John Clark, M. A., physician, Boston, born at Boston, 27 December, 1667, according to the family record, and not 27 January, 1668, as Farmer and Savage say, was brother of the second wife of Cotton Mather, and eldest son of Doctor John Clark (whose wife was Martha, daughter of John Whittingham), and grandson of Doctor John Clark, who came from Newbury, Massachusetts, to Boston, and whose wife was Martha, sister of Sir Richard Saltonstall. In June or July, 1691, he was admitted to the Second, or Old North Church, in Boston. June 7, 1700, he was made Justice of the Peace. From 1708 to 1714, and from 1720 to 1724, he was Representative from Boston.

He became a leading politician of the "popular partv," at the head of which were the Cookes, H. U. 1657 and 1697, and opposed the granting of a fixed salary to the Governor. In 1720 he was chosen Councillor, and Governor Shute interposed his negative.

In 1709 and 1710 he was Speaker of the House of Representatives. Again, in the fall of 1720, the same year that Governor Shute interposed his negative on his election as Councillor, he was chosen Representative from Boston.

Hutchinson says he "was a person of many valuable qualities, and obnoxious, only, for being strongly attached to Mr. Cooke, and having been a great supporter of the cause" of the popular party.

In 1721 the House again chose him Speaker. "To prevent a negative, . . . they projected a new form of message directed to the governor and council jointly, to acquaint them 'that John Clarke, Esq; is chosen speaker of the house and is now sitting in the chair.' This was undoubtedly a very extraordinary contempt of the governor." William Payne, H. U. 1689, a brother by marriage to Cooke, was appointed clerk in place of John White, H. U. 1685, who was dropped for no other reason than because "his most intimate friends . . . were strongly attached to the governor." "The governor was more wroth than upon any occasion before. He came to council, in the afternoon, and sent immediately for the house, no doubt, with an intent to dissolve the court. He had several faithful advisers about him and, whilst the house were preparing to come up, he sent a message to stop them and to let them know he accepted their choice of a speaker."
While the legislature was in session at Cambridge, in November, 1721, "Mr. Hutchinson, one of the members for Boston, was seized with the small-pox and died in a few days. The Speaker, Mr. Clarke, was one of the most noted physicians in Boston, and, notwithstanding all his care to cleanse himself from infection after visiting his patients, it was supposed, brought the distemper to his brother member, which so terrified the court, that after the report of his being seized, it was not possible to keep them together and the governor found it necessary to prorogue them." Clark was continued in the office of Speaker till 1724. From that time till his death he was a member of the Council.

April 25, 1691, according to Greenwood, but 30 April, says Savage, he married Sarah, born 29 November, 1669, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Oliver) Shrimpton, by whom he had all his eight or nine children: Mary, born 12 February, 1692; Sarah, 17 September, 1693, both died young; Martha, 25 March, 1695; John, 15 December, 1698, died 6 April, 1768, father of John, H. U. 1772; Sarah, again, 18 January, 1704; Martha, again, 26 June, 1706; Sarah, again, 7 May, 1708, married Professor Isaac Greenwood, H. U. 1721, and died at Portland, Maine, 23 May, 1770; Elizabeth, 27 February, 1710, married Robert Hale, H. U. 1721; besides a second Mary, probably in 1700. His first wife died 20 November, 1717, and he married a second wife, 10 April following, Elizabeth Hutchinson, who died 2 December, 1722. On July 15, 1725, he took for a third wife Sarah, widow of President Leverett, who had been widow of William Harris, daughter of Richard Crisp, and died 24 April, 1744, the wife of the Reverend Benjamin Colman, H. U. 1692.

According to the New England Weekly Journal of 9 December, 1728, Clark died on the preceding "Friday Evening," 6 December, 1728, "a Gentleman belov'd and valu'd for his Worth and Usefulness." Sewall's Journal and the inscription on his monument date his death 5 December, agreeing with the Boston News-Letter of 12 December, that he died on "Thursday Night after a long Indisposition."

Judge Sewall wrote to Reverend S. Stoddard, 10 December, 1728: "Dr. John Clark died last Thursday night abt 6 or 7 a'clock. I am apt to think the drawing in of that very Cold Air was the cause of his sudden death. He went into his Garden in the morning and suppos'd the Aer refresh'd him; afterward he went to his daughter Allen's; by & by he stole away to his neighbour Morris, just across the Street. When his Grandson Allen went to call him home he perceiv'd that he limp'd. At his entring his own kitchen, his family saw that the right side of his mouth was drawn awry, and all that side was defective; at which they were exceedingly amazed; and put him into a warm bed. His wife and one of his daughters were at Lecture, not foreseeing any such Change. He was my beloved Physician."


Clark bequeathed all his surgical instruments to his son John. In his inventory is mentioned the picture of old Doctor Clark, which is without doubt that of his grandfather, now belonging to the Massachusetts Historical Society, and of which there is a lithograph in Thacher's Medical Biography. The Latin inscription on his monument is published in T. Bridgman's Epitaphs from Copp's Hill Burial-Ground, and an epitaph by Thacher.

"Reliquiae
Joannis Clarke Armig laudatissimi senatoris et medicinae doctoris probitate modestia 
et mansuetudine praeclari terram reliquit Decern 5 1728 astat. 62
Nomen et pietas manent post funera."
"He who among Physicians shone so late,
And by his wise Prescriptions conquered Fate,
Now lies extended in the Silent Grave,
Nor him alive would his vast Merit save.
But still his Fame shall last, his Virtues live,
And all sepulchral Monuments survive:
Still flourish shall his name; nor shall this stone
Long as his Piety and Love be known."
Clark belonged to a family of medical antecedents and traditions, being himself of the third generation in a direct line of John Clarks, all physicians, and followed by a line of four more John Clarks, equally direct, also all physicians,— covering a period of more than a century and a half, and including seven generations of the same name.
E. Washburn, Historical Sketches of Leicester, 9, 11. W. H. Whitmore, Massachusetts Civil List

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