Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Charlie Clarke!

Today, April 6, marks the 176th birthday of Charles Clarke. Little Charlie was born right before the Clarkes left Waterville, New York for Chicago in 1835. He accompanied his parents and big brother Henry on the long journey up to Utica, along the Erie Canal to Buffalo, New York. He then boarded a boat that ferried his family to Detroit where they bought a wagon and traveled overland to Chicago, arriving in October 1835. A big trip for such a little guy!

His mother, Caroline Palmer Clarke, wrote to her sister-in-law Mary Walker in a letter dated November 1, 1835:
The other children are very well,(daughter Mary was left in the care of her aunt in New York) little Charlie has been considerably sick a few days from a severe cold,   but is now well as ever. He has grown very much, sits alone on the floor now. He was the best child on the journey you ever saw, scarcely cried at all. He would sit for hours sometimes on board the boat, looking first at one and then another, and seeming as much amused as though their whole conversation was acceptable to him. He was not afraid of strangers at all.
Charlie stayed with his family at the Tremont House, a hotel and boarding house in the town's center. He lived in the log home on the property the Clarkes purchased from Dr. Elijah Dewey Harmon and may have even taken his first steps there. Little Charlie also witnessed the construction of Clarke House and moved in with his family sometime during 1836. Sadly, on September 24, 1836, at just fifteen month old, Charlie Clarke died.

We don't have any images of Charles Clarke, but he may have looked something like this child. Little boys wore dresses before they were potty-trained to make diapering easier on the mother.

1 comment:

  1. This post gives us some idea what true pioneers the Clarkes were. Imagine taking that kind of a journey today?


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