CLARK, Thomas M.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 761-762
Thomas M. CLARK, of Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], who for a half century made his home in this city, cam in 1848 when this was a small village. He was born near Swansea [Swanzey, Cheshire County], NH, 02 Sep 1800. His father, James CLARK, died in the old granite state [NH] when quite young, and the mother and her children afterward came to the west, locating in WI, where she and her two daughters died. The only surviving members of this branch of the family are a niece, Mrs. LYONS, who resides in Hawkeye, IA, and another niece in KS.
Thomas M. CLARK obtained a good education in the public schools of the east, largely in Boston, and while there he also studied medicine. He continued to reside on the Atlantic coast until about 1848, when he came to the west, settling in Rockford. Here he began in the jewelry business as one of the first merchants in that line in the city, but on account of ill health he soon abandoned the business, selling out to Horace BUFORD. As he had previously studied medicine he now began practicing in Rockford as a magnetic healer and built up a large practice. He effected many wonderful cures, and his powers in the line of magnetic healing made him a very successful representative of his calling.
Dr. CLARK was married before coming to the west to Miss Sarah GUNN, of NH, who died in this city, and the only child of this marriage, Anna Clark, died at the age of five years and six months. In Rockford Mr. CLARK was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Ellen (MORRISON) LEONARD, a native of Hancock County, IL, and a daughter of William and Hannah (SMITH) MORRISON, the former a native of Baltimore, MD, and the latter of England. Mrs. MORRISON was 12 years of age when she came with her father to America, and he was the first merchant to introduce roasted coffee into Philadelphia. Mr. MORRISON was a ship builder by trade, and followed that pursuit in Baltimore. Finally he came to the west, locating on a farm in Hancock County, IL, where his wife died. Later he removed to St. Louis, MO, where he followed his trade until his life's labors were ended in death. Four of the children of Mr. and Mrs. MORRISON are now living: Mrs. CLARK; C. A. MORRISON, who is vice president of the First National Bank in Ellendale, ND, and is also engaged in other business enterprises there; Arthur MORRISON, a well-to-do commission merchant of Oklahoma City; and Mrs. Lenora HARFORD, who resides in McClelland, FL. Mrs. CLARK was first married to Theodore LEONARD, a native of Cleveland, OH, who was a commercial traveler, and spent his entire business life on the road. He died suddenly while visiting her parents in Hancock County, IL.
Dr. CLARK continued to engaged in practice here until his health failed, and he finally had to give up his work. He had already invested in land in Vernon, WI, and he again went to that place, where he purchased more land, but he lived there for only a year. He then began traveling for his health, visiting CA and other parts of the country, and he lived a retired life for 12 years or until called to his final home. He passed away in the house which is now occupied by his widow, his death occurring 21 Oct 1899.
He was a democrat in politics and in early life a member of the Masonic fraternity. He did not [p 762] hold membership with any religious denomination, but contributed to the support of the Baptist church of Rockford. In his later years he sold his WI property and invested in city property in Rockford. His business operations were usually attended with a very desirable measure of success, and he became the possessor of a comfortable competence, so that his widow was left in easy financial circumstances. She now owns much valuable residence property in the most desirable section of Rockford, and the rental from this brings her a gratifying income. She is now residing at the old BLINN home at No. 510 North Horsman Street.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.