(7.) Oliver Anson Clark 1833-1918 , son of Sanford Clark, married Betsey Katherine Trentham 1838-1904
Oliver Anson was born 10 Oct. 1833 in Medway, Massachusetts to Sanford and Nancy. As mentioned, Medway marriage records list him as son of Sanford and Mary, perhaps a mistake, but worthy of inquiry. Was Sanford married twice? Either Oliver or his grandfather is presumably the Oliver nicknamed "Fox Oliver" by oral tradition. He is not likely to have been the original Fox's Oliver. Oliver Anson had red hair, and was a very distinguished looking man. Oliver's father died when he was 13, and his mother could not keep the family together. Nonetheless, the 1850 census shows Oliver in school and living with James Wilson, a wealthy manufacturer in Medway. The circumstances are not known. He may have been boarding, working for his keep, or in an apprenticeship. Wilson had three other boarders with him and his children, two from Ireland and one with an unusual name. Wilson held a "high position" in the Masonic fraternity; perhaps Sanford was also a Mason, and all of the children were taken in by Masons (pure speculation). The exact connection is elusive at present.
Oliver married Betsey Katherine Trentham on 10 Feb. 1858. He was 25, she 20. Betsey's father was also of the working class (to put it nicely), and therefore presumably her mother also. Betsey K. was born in Bingham, Maine, and was living in Franklin, Mass. when they married. Oliver and Betsey lived fairly close to each other in the 1850 census, so they probably were childhood sweethearts.
The 1860 census shows Oliver, 27, bootmaker, Betsey K., 21, George A., 2, and Maria at 1 year of age. Oliver was listed as possessing $100 in personal estate. Living with them was Nancy worth $400 in real estate. In 1864, Addison Sanford Clark was born in Medway to Oliver and Betsey just in time to exempt him from the second draft of the civil war (because of parental status)!
1863 Nov. 27 Oliver Clark et al. deeded to Nancy Clark (widow of Sanford, his mother) Medway 319-26 a parcel on Stoney Plain Road.
1865 Jan. 16 Oliver Clark et al. deeded to Warren E. Turner land in Franklin NE 329-146 Parcel road frontage Rockville in Medway to Franklin, Charles River, & Jack or Mill Brook.
1865 Mass. state census shows them in Franklin 1 May, (house 345, family 390) Oliver A. Clark 31, bootmaker, Betsy K. Clark 26, born in Maine, George A. Clark 7, Maria M. Clark 6, Orleana E. Clark 4, Mary A. Clark 2, Addison S. Clark 1, Nancy Clark 62, "straw braider." Right above them (344, 399) is William Trentham, 64, born in England, "invalid," Ellen C. Trentham, 45, "mistress," born in MA, Emma A. Trentham, 7, born in Maine.
1869 May 29 Oliver Clark et al. deeded to James H. Ellis Medway 379-304 a parcel on Pleasant Street (Rockville)
The 1870 census shows Oliver, 36, working for a boot factory, and now worth $1000 in real estate, and $250 in personal estate. George, 12, and Maria, 11, were in school. Orlena, 9, Mary ,7, Addison, 6, and Amy, 1, none of the latter in school. Oliver's mother, Nancy was still living with them, and also working in a boot factory at 66 with no net worth. Brothers Charles S. and Asa were nearby in the census.
An 1876 Medfield Map. Shows the house at 63 South Street in the possession of "M. Clark," Moses Franklin Clark, a wealthy manufacturer in Medfield. Moses F. Clark was born 1837 to Charles Clark and Electa Sheldon Clark in Ludlow, MA. The fact that Oliver Anson wound up living in this house, may provide a clue to the origins of this family. A paper done by a high school student in the Medfield Historical Society on Moses F. Clark states that the house on 63 South Street belonged to Charles Clark, father of Moses, referencing an 1852 map of Medfield.
The 1884 Medway Business Directory lists: "Boot and Shoe Repair, O.A. Clark, Pleasant Road". In 1896 a Thanksgiving portrait of the family taken at 63 South Street, Medfield, which was in the possession of Ethelwyn Clark Newcomb (copied by FOC, included here). It shows a very distinguished looking family. OAC was a fine looking old gentleman, and Betsey has a very pleasant smile on her face, which is rare on photographs of this period.
22 Nov. 1902 Oliver A. Clark deeded land to Jacob Smith et al. 935-281
On 13 March 1904, Betsey K. died at age 65 of contributory apoplexy in Millis, Mass. (i.e. a stroke, sudden paralysis caused by discontinuity in the blood supply to the brain). She is buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Millis (202-238 Curve St.).
On 7 July 1907 there is a strange set of deeds between Oliver A. Clark, of Millis, and one Helen N. Sheldon of Watertown, wife of J.F. Sheldon, (1058-209, 210). First he sells to her for one dollar "and other valuable considerations," a parcel with the buildings thereon, containing about six acres in that part of Millis called Rockville, on the westerly side of Pleasant Street, and being bounded by westerly side of Pleasant Street at land formerly of Elisha A. Jones, thence the line runs westerly on said Jones land to a corner on sprout land formerly of said Jones, thence southerly on said Jones' sprout land to land formerly of heirs of James H. Ellis, thence easterly on said last named land to Pleasant Street, thence northerly on Pleasant Street to the first named point. Said premises conveyed to me by James H. Ellish aforesaid, by deed dated 29 March 1869 recorded in Norfolk County Deed Book 379 page 504. Helen N. Sheldon then sells this land back to Oliver Clark for $1000 to be paid within one years time at 6% interest, and Oliver pays all taxes and insurance until he pays this money! In effect, with these deeds, Oliver has given $1000 to one Helen N. Sheldon of Watertown, wife of J.F. Sheldon. I have as yet no idea what was going on here, but I sense something very interesting!
I did find two newspaper accounts of this woman: Cambridge (MA) Chronicle:
Ethelwyn had a newspaper clipping (probably of a Medfield paper) from August 20 (probably 1833 + 76 = 1909), titled: "Aged Medfield Men Take Long Blueberry Trip. Clark, Codding, and Rice, Whose Ages range from 76 to 80, Enjoy Three Mile Walk, Their Motto for Long Life is Keep Busy." Under a picture of OAC, the text reads: "Medfield, Aug. 20- The Blueberry swamps have yielded a large crop this year, and among the host of pickers have been three of the oldest citizens of the town, who walked to the swamp, a mile and a half distant, picked five quarts each, had a pleasant time recalling their boyhood days and then walked home, none the worse for the days experience. With each the motto is "keep busy, that affords a contented mind and healthy body." They are Oliver Anson Clark 76 years old, Isaac Barrows Codding 79, and Leander Parker Rice 80. Mr. Clark is the owner of a pretty home on (63) South Street. He divides his time between his cobblers bench and his vegetable garden. He is the father of three sons and four daughters. He was born in Medway, learned the trade of a bootmaker and followed it all his life." (end of article) A picture of the house is extant. It was still in excellent condition in 1979. When he was able he always had a fine garden and the flowers were very pretty.
Oliver Anson Clark visited Frank Emmons Clark in 1914 in Augusta, GA. Several photographs have survived of this visit. Oliver died in Medfield on 15 April 1918 at 84 years 6 months 5 days of arteriosclerosis, and is buried in Vine Lake Cemetery in Medfield (intersection of 27 and 109)(Plot 10).
Frank E. Clark, Jr. had three chairs that belonged to Oliver, now in possession of FOC. Amy and Ethelwyn had the third chair of the set. Oliver and Betsey's family silver was divided amongst the nieces, and Gwendolyn Catherine Peebles Clark Griffith (my mother) received 3 or 4 pieces from Amy. Oliver's daughter, Maria (pronounced Muh-rye-uh) was apparently the family historian, and all of her records have been lost.
According to Ethelwyn in 1985, the house and contents were "signed over" to Lena, "who was the last of them and took care of him" (Oliver Anson). "When she (Lena) was alone, Charles Bullard and his wife looked after her in her home, so when Aunt Lena died, the house and possessions went to them. However, according to records in the Medfield Historical Society, Oliver Anson Clark did not own the house on South Street (Medfield). Rather it was owned by the industrialist Moses Clark (I have no idea if he was kin) who was childless.
Children of Oliver Anson Clark and Betsey
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Copyright ©1999-2015, Frank Oliver Clark, Ph.D. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same. Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to Frank O. Clark, Ph.D.