Rev. J. Clarke
(November 23, 1822 - )
Rev. J. CLARKE was born in Brookfield, Madison Co., N. Y., Nov. 23, 1822. He was the son
of ELNATHAN and MARIA S. CLARKE. His father was the son of JOSHUA and NANCY
LEWIS CLARKE, of Brookfield, N. Y. His mother was the only daughter of Deacon SILAS
and OUDARA JOHNSON SPENCER, of Sangerfield, N. Y. He was the oldest of 11 children,
four sons and seven daughters.
His boyhood was spent in Lincklaen, Chenango county and Brookfield, Madison county. At
the age of 11 he experienced religion. But neglecting a public profession, soon went into
darkness, and lived in religious obscurity for five years. The winter after he was 17 he was
quickened by the Holy Spirit and confessed Jesus openly. April, 1839, he was baptized and
shortly after united with the Seventh-Day Baptist Church of Adams, Jefferson county, N. Y.,
where his family were then residing. March, 1840, he moved with his parents to Watson,
Lewis county, N. Y., and united with the church in that place.There he was licensed to preach;
and in that and adjoining towns, he continued to herald the gospel message with encouraging
efficiency, leading many to Jesus, till June, 1842, when he visited his native place, where
together with Oneida, Herkimer, and Otsego counties, he spend the summer in his chosen work.
September 11, 1842, he was married to Miss ESTHER LANDPHERE, daughter of ASA and
SUSANNAH LANPHERE, of Plainfield, Otsego county, N. Y. June, 1843, he made
arrangements to enter school in De Ruyter Institute, where he remained two years. He united
with the Seventh-Day Baptist Church, in Otselic, Chenango county, N. Y., where he was
ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, Jan. 14, 1844. During his two years in school he
preached in Otselic, Truxton, (now Cuyler,) and elsewhere as opportunity offered compatible
with school duties.
June, 1844, he settled as pastor in Lincklaen, Chenango county, N. Y., where and in
Otselic he continued in pastoral work till the spring of 1847, except that he taught a term of
select school during the winter of 1845 and 1846. Here, Jan., 1847, he lost his first born and
only child. The spring following he settled in Preston, Chenango county, N. Y., as pastor,
preaching also in Oxford and McDonough. The spring of 1849 he returned to De Ruyter to
resume the study of Greek, but a severe sickness thwarted his plan, so that from early autumn
he worked as missionary in Herkimer and Chenango counties.
February, 1850, he accepted the unanimous call of the 2d Seventh-Day Baptist church of
Brookfield, Madison county, N Y., and entered upon the pastorate the 1st of March following.
He had been preceded upon this field by one of the best and most able pastors, Rev. E. S.
BAILEY, for more than 30 years. He was young and felt illy prepared to assume the
responsibility of the position. Helped of God he held it eight years, and left it from a sense of
duty, when his charge desired his continuance. The church more than doubled its membership,
notwithstanding depletion by deaths and removals during his pastorate. In March, 1858,
having accepted a call from a sense of duty some months before, he entered upon the
pastorate of the 1st Seventh-Day Baptist church of Hopkinton, R. I., with a membership of
between 300 and 400, and one of the oldest churches in America. This very responsible charge
he held 6 years, during which, more than 100 were added to the church. During this time he
attended more than 130 funerals. Again in the winter of 1863 and '64, Mr. CLARKE, contrary to
the wishes of his church, but from a sense of duty, accepted a call to the pastorate of the
Seventh-Day Baptist church of Albion, Dane county, Wis., of between 200 and 300 members
- a large church - and having in its midst, one of the best academies west of the Lakes; a very
important field. Here he remained for six years, having the confidence and kindest regards of his
people. On this field he was also under God very successful in his ministry, building the church
and in leading the perishing to Jesus. While upon this field he baptized about 200, and received
to the fellowship of the church 175 members.
During the autumn of 1869 he received a call to the pastorate of the Seventh-Day Baptist
church, of De Ruyter, N. Y. His church had grown to 385 members. He had built him a fine
home and was pleasantly situated. The church at De Ruyter was small, numbering but a little
over 100 members, and its condition very critical; yet he, reaching the conviction that it was his
duty to do so, decided to accept the call, and entered upon the duties of his new charge Jan. 1,
1870. During the term of this pastorate, 10 years, the church under his ministry has more than
doubled its membership, notwithstanding depletion by death and removals. Besides the care of his
own church, he has supplied the Seventh-Day Baptist church, of Lincklaen, 4 miles south, with
preaching once in two weeks, at 1:30 P.M., for eight years, and the Seventh-Day Baptist church
of Otselic, ten miles away, at a later hour, once in two weeks, for two years. He has also supplied
the Baptist church of New Woodstock on 1st day for about two years, the Baptist church of South
Otselic one year, the Baptist church of Plymouth one year, the Baptist church of Beaver Meadow
three years, and the Congregational church of Lincklaen three years, all of which are from six to
twenty miles away.
He has held revival meetings with more or less success on nearly all of these fields, and
besides these and the fields of his pastorates, he has labored successfully as an evangelist in
Watson, Alfred, West Edmeston, Verona, Cuyler, Berlin and Cincinnatus, N. Y., Northampton,
Mass., Berlin and Edgerton, Wis., and other points both east and west.
His services as a clergyman have always been in demand on the 1st day, so that he has
preached almost as constantly on Sunday as on the Sabbath. Mr. CLARKE has been an
earnest worker, devoting his whole time to the work of the ministry.
During the 36 years since he was ordained to the gospel ministry he has preached more than
600 funeral sermons, and an average of about four sermons a week, or 1,488 sermons; and
now, at 57, Mr. CLARKE is hale and strong, as though but in his prime, having a mature
experience. Having been a close student of human nature and books he has acquired a fund
of knowledge and christian graces which prepares him, by the grace of God, for many more
years of greater usefulness.
From "History of Chenango and Madison Counties, NY" starting on page 606.
Transcribed by Sandy Goodspeed
Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999 11:11 AM
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