Clark Family

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Henry S. Clark was born in Canton, New York. He traveled first to Georgia where he met and married Ellen and then moved to Ft. Brooke (present day Tampa) where they met the Gates family. They came to Manatee shortly after the Gateses, claiming land just west of theirs which included a spring. They built a crude log home and a store  as well as a small wharf  on the Manatee River for the delivery of goods. A few years later, partnering with local blacksmith Thomas Kenney, Clark built a two-masted schooner. The ship sank on her maiden voyage in a hurricane so fierce that it washed away Clark's wharf and flooded his shop up to the counter tops. About the same time, Clark was sworn in as the local justice of the peace and then the first post master.

Both Henry and Ellen were founding members of the Manatee Methodist Church. Their names are depicted on the commemorative stain glass window found there. A copy can be found inside the 1887 Manatee Methodist Church at Manatee Village Historical Park. 

In 1850 Clark was advised to return to New York to escape Florida’s heat and alleviate his failing health. He and his family boarded a rowboat to go to Ft. Brooke and catch a sailing ship to New York. Sadly, he died before the boat reached the mouth of the Manatee River. He was the first buried in the Manatee Burying Ground. His widow, Ellen, continued to run the store with the help of her teenage son, Henry A. Clark, who died in 1906.

Stained glass at Manatee Methodist Church showing Henry and Ellen Clark among the 1849 Charter Members. 

Image: 1974, Courtesy of Manatee County Public Library Historical Digital Collections

Ellen married Archibald McNeill after Henry's death and had several more children. Her burial location is unknown. 

Clark, Gussie Smith - #25 Taken 2021
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Clark, Henry S - #24 Taken 03-2022 (2)
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Clark, Henry A - #23 Taken 2020
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Left to Right: 

Gussie Smith Clark - Grave #22

Henry S Clark - Grave #23 (1955, Courtesy of Manatee County Public Library Historical Digital Collections ) 

Henry S Clark - Grave #23

Henry A Clark - Grave #24

All images taken by MVHP staff in 2022 unless otherwise noted.