Herman D. Clarke
[ photograph ]
Herman Devillo Clarke was born in Plainfield Township, New York on November 26, 1850, the only child born to Nelson and Maria (Jennings) Clarke. Herman was educated at De Ruyter Institute, Winfield Academy and Alfred University, New York, and studied music at Lyons Musical Academy, Lyons, New York, being a pupil of L. H. Sherwood, father of William H. Sherwood, who was for a time America's most famous pianist.
Herman was strongly inclined to make music his profession and was the author of many songs both sacred and sentimental, but deciding that his duty was to preach the gospel, after spending four summers (1879-1882) in gospel tent work with Rev. L. C. Rogers, he took the pastorate of the 1st and 2nd Seventh Day Baptist Churches at Verona, New York in 1882, being ordained on November 3, 1883. He later held pastorates in Independence, New York, Dodge Center, Minnesota and Garwin, Iowa.
Clarke was married to Miss Anna M. Jennings on September 17, 1874. Anna assisted with the placing of many of the orphan children, even taking individuals in to her home on several occasions. Anna died on May 8, 1912. Three children were born to Herman and Anna: Mabel A. (Mrs. Charles Sayre), Forence O. (Mrs. Arthur Ellis), and Elvan H. Clarke.
While at Dodge Center Clarke became greatly interested in the work of the New York Children's Aid Society and assisted them in placing orphan children in good homes. In 1900 he entered the employ of the society as a full time placing and visiting agent and in this capacity traveled thousands of miles each year looking after the children's interests. In 1911 he was called from this work to Cincinnati, Ohio to assist in building up a Children's Home similar to the New York society. Following this he became superintendent of the Haskell Home for orphan children at Battle Creek, Michigan for about one year.
Clarke was the author of several books and wrote many articles on religious and political subjects. Elder Clarke was a man of strong convictions, deep feeling, and unswerving loyalty to his ideals. He was a loyal friend, a loving husband and a patient, tender father.
Clarke died at age 78 on December 25, 1928 at Memorial Community Hospital in Edgerton, Wisconsin. He was buried in Dodge Center, MN. He had spent his final years at the home of his son Charles in Albion, Wisconsin, spending much of his time corresponding with many of his former wards who looked to him for counsel and encouragement, and in whom he remained interested to the last.
[click on image at right for full size image]
by Clark Kidder, Wisconsin Orphan Train Research Center
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