Monday, April 6, 2009
John Lafayette Clark
John Lafayette Clark was my great grandfather on my mother's side. I've decided to start with him because not only have I heard the most stories about him, but my kids are familiar with some of the stories as well. First, some statistics:
Born 14 Feb 1859 in Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa
Died 14 Oct 1947 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Father- Hyrum William Clark, born 8 Dec 1818 in Canton, St. Lawrence County, NY
died 17 Aug 1911 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Mother- Nancy Ann Wood, born 12 Feb 1825 in Ripley, Pulasky County, Indiana
died 27 Apr 1911 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Siblings- George, Erastus, Silas, Lucina, (John goes here), James, Albert
John's father, Hyrum, had consumption (a general term for any serious lung disease), as well as Hyrum's sister who lived with them.John's mother, Nancy, was convinced that Hyrum would be healed if they followed the Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, even though their doctor said Hyrum only had about a year to live. They purchased 2 wagons for the journey. Nancy made the covers for both. The provision wagon was pulled by a team of horses and a yoke of oxen. Their supplies were mainly jerky, dried fruit, cornmeal, flour and maple syrup. "Mother's wagon" was pulled by a yoke of oxen and 2 cows. Hyrum's sister laid in the back of this wagon with the rest of their belongings. Hyrum rode on horseback to be in the open air. John was about 5 years old when they left. He remembered standing up in the wagon with a long whip yelling "Gee" (right) or "Haw" (left) at the oxen. Silas and Lucina gathered wood and buffalo chips for the fire, which Nancy cooked over for the whole family. At one river crossing, the opposite bank was too steep to get the wagons up, so the family had to go further downstream. While moving down the river, they saw Indians with bloody scalps hanging from their horses. John was afraid of Indians from that day on.
In Wyoming, Hyrum bought a tin stove with an oven at one of the forts. Nancy cooked on it for the rest of the journey. They settled in Springville where other relatives were living. It had taken 2 months to cross the plains, and all symptoms on Hyrum's consumption were gone. He lived to be 92.
More on John's life next week.