JOSEPH F. CLARK. Among the representative farmers of Macoupin County is this gentleman, who is the owner of a fine, large farm on section 36, Brushy Mound Township. He has erected a commodious brick house, frame barn and other outbuildings, replete with modern improvements, and surrounded with well-kept grounds, beautiful shade and fruit trees, the place presents a most pleasing appearance indicative of the enterprise and progressive spirit of the proprietor.
A native of Logan County, Ky., Mr. Clark was born December 4, 1825. His father, Samuel B. Clark, was, it is thought, a native of the same State, and his father was a pioneer of Logan County, where he resided many years, coming thence to Illinois, where he spent his last years with his children. His son Samuel was reared and married in Kentucky, and lived there until 1828, when, accompanied by his wife and eight children, he started for Illinois. Their mode of conveyance was by wagons, one being drawn by oxen, and the other by one horse. They brought all their household goods with them, and camped by the way at nightfall. Mr. Clark first located one and one-half miles from Edwardsville, where he rented land for one year, then removed into that town and engaged in teaming, residing there until 1832, when he removed to a farm a mine and a half west of Brighton, which he rented for a year. He then bought a tract of wild land in the same locality, and built a hewn log house, splitting shakes for the roof. In 1835 he sold that and removed to a farm near Carlinville on which he lived one year, and in 1836 settled in Brushy Mount Township.
At that early day wild game was to be had in abundance, deer and turkeys being very plentiful. There was then no railway here and Alton and St. Louis were the nearest markets for supplies. In this section the gristmills were mostly operated by oxen. The wives and mothers did their full share towards lightening the labors of the sterner sex and the spinning wheel and loom were in constant requisition. The mother of our subject dressed her children in homespun cloth that was the product of her own deft hand.
In Brushy Mound Township the father purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 26, forty acres of which were under improvement, and a log house was standing thereon. On this place he resided the remainder of his life, passing away in 1840, leaving a worthy record as a useful pioneer and a good citizen in every way. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Floyd, survived him only one year. She was born in Pennsylvania, and is thought to have been of German ancestry. She was the mother of eight children, of whom these are the names: Mary Margaret, James H., Robert B., John J., Benjamin F., Joseph F., Samuel N. and Susan B.
Joseph Clark was but two years old when his parents brought him to Illinois, and he was reared in this State under pioneer influences to be self-reliant, manly and capable of doing any and all kinds of work that fell to his share as a farmer's boy. His education was received in the primitive schools of the early years of the settlement of Illinois that were taught in log houses, and provided with rude, home-made furniture, the seats being made by splitting saplings and hewing one side smooth, and inserting wooden pins for legs. Each family paid for tuition according to the number of scholars that it sent, there being no public money to expend for educational purposes at that time, and the teacher usually boarded "around".
At an early age Joseph was left an orphan, and then worked out by the month, in the winter working for his board and attending school. When twenty-one years old he received his inheritance from his father's estate, the home farm having been sold for $8 per acre, his share being $130. This, with what he had saved, was his entire capital with which to face the world. He first purchased thirty acres of prairie land on section 25, also ten acres of timber on section 24. He erected a frame house, 14x16 feet in size, with a lean-to 10x16 feet in dimensions. He rived and shaved the shingles by hand, and also the weather boards.
In 1846 our subject laid aside his work to enlist in the army to take part in the Mexican War, and he served with credit until he was honorably discharged, when he returned home and quietly resumed farming. In 1855 he removed to Gillespie Township, where he was engaged in the grain business until 1860. During that time he sold his farm and bought the place where he now resides. As before stated he has improved the land, and added all modern conveniences until it is now regarded as a model farm and an ornament to the township. He has been remarkably successful in his operations, and altogether he is the owner of sic hundred and forty acres of fine land, all included in Brushy Mound Township.
March 4, 1850, Mr. Clark was united in marriage with Miss Melinda Huddleston. She is a native of this county, Cahokia Township her birthplace, where she was born to John and Nancy Huddleston. For her parental history see sketch of R. W. Huddleston. Mr. And Mrs. Clark are the parents of eight children - Mary J., Albert F., Charles W., Emma Elnora, Nancy E., May, Hettie, Minnie O. and Harvey W. Mary is the wife of Charles Boosinger, and has five children living. Albert married Mary Reed, and has four children. Charles married Minnie Williams, and has one child. Nancy is the wife of Thomas Hargess, and has five children. May married Arthur Loveless, and has one child. Hettie is the wife of Frank Hoehn, and has two children.
Mr. Clark is a man of sound mental calibre, whose judgment in regard to business matters is keen, and thrift, energy and foresight are also among his characteristics, and have gained him the important place that he occupies among the prosperous men of his community. He is just, liberal and sagacious in his views on all social and religious subjects, and though not identified with any church, he is a generous supporter of all enterprises which tend to uplift and purify the people regardless of denominations.