My Clark ancestors

The surname Clarke is one of the most ancient of the early English patronymics. It signifies literally 'the clerk', who under the English ecclesiastical law of the feudal period was any one who had been admitted to the ecclesiastical state, and had taken tonsure. The application of the word in this sense gradually underwent a change and 'clerk' became more especially the term applied to those in minor orders. The word also developed a different sense. In medieval times the pursuit of letters and general learning was confined to the clergy, the only persons who could read and write, and who performed all notarial and secretarial work. In time the clerk was not necessarily a clergyman, but one who performed the duties of notary, accountant, or mere penman, etc. We therefore find the term widely applied, and the office well established at the beginning of the surname era, which accounts for the frequent recurrence of the surname in medieval registers, and for the fact that it ranks ninth among English surnames in point of popularity. Whether spelled Clark, Clarke, or Clerk, the pronunciation is identical, and is always with the broad 'a'. 

Source: History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920
Source material for first 3 generations listed below is: English Origins of New England Families, Series 1, Volume 1, Clarke-Cooke (alias Carewe)-Kerrich, by G. Andrews Moriarty, pp 648-655, originally published in NEHGR, republished by Genealogical Publishing Company)

01. John Clark was born about 1503, of Finningham, Suffolk, England and died about March 2, 1559 in Suffolk, England. He md Margaret about 1533, prob. Finningham, Suffolk, England. Margaret was born about 1516 prob. Suffolk, England.


02. John Clark, son of John and Margaret was born before February 11, 1541/2, of Westhorpe, Suffolk, England.  He died before April 7, 1598, prob. Finningham, Suffolk, England. He married Katherine Cook [Catherine] on October 12, 1567 in Westhorpe, Suffolk, England, daughter of John Cooke/Carewe and Alice Carter. 


03. Thomas Clarke, son of John and Katherine was born on November 1, 1570 in Westhorpe, Suffolk, England. He marriedd Rose Kerrich [Keridge] on May 13, 1600 in Saxsted, Suffolk, England, daughter of William Kerridge and Margery.  Thomas died on July 29, 1627 in Westhorpe, Suffolk, England.


04. Thomas Clarke, son of Thomas and Rose was born probably in England in 1607, was a resident of Ipswich, Mass., in 1634 and in 1639 was the recorded purchaser of the house lot of Mr. William Clark, and "sett a dwelling there". The General Court on January 11, 1640, gave him permission "to sett down Tan fatts at the end of his planting lot, upon two rods reserved by the River." Thomas and his sons operated the tanyard there at the corner of Water and Sumner streets for some fifty years, three sons living on his land. The tanning vats were located on the river bank where he and Robert Peirce had leave to build a wharf in 1662. A deed by Thomas Clark Sr. conveyed March 23, 1686, to Samuel Peirce about a quarter of an acre southwest "by the tann yards from the River, close to the water-hole, by the beame-ing house, and soe on the back side of said house to ye upper corner of ye tann shed, north-west land of my son Thomas Clark."

Thomas Sr. was sworn a freeman in Ipswich in 1646 and was active in town affairs, serving on the trial jury in 1651, 1659 and 1667, the grand jury in 1662. He and his son Thomas signed the 1666 protest against the treatment of the King's Commissioners in Boston, and signing with them was Thomas Clark the cooper, brother of Edward Clark of Haverhill. In 1651, the court endorsed his appointment as sergeant, and he is recorded as training men on the field in Ipswich in March 1664. He had some education as he could write, and on numerous occasions appeared at court as a witness, and in 1655 was named by the court as an appraiser.

In 1682, Sergeant Thomas arranged his will, bequeathing everything to his son Freeman in return for life-support for himself and his wife Mary; a codicil made John the beneficiary. Thomas died January 9, 1690, and his widow 27 weeks later. The homestead was sold to Freeman Clark, mariner, April 10, 1694.

The ancient tannery fell into disuse. The lower part of the lot where the beam house and tanyard had been fell to John Clark and he sold it January 15, 1694, with a house, barn and a halfacre of land. The upper part of the lot was left to Thomas Clark Jr., and he sold the house and one acre June 15, 1703. In April, 1720, Nathaniel sold 24 rods out of his late father's orchard on Sumner Street.

Source: "A Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Families" by Carol Clark Johnson

His wife's name may have been Jane. Children below are listed from Carol's book:

1 Thomas Clark (1638 - )
2 John Clark  (See Below)
3 Nathaniel Clark  (1642 - )
4 Samuel Clark (Feb 10, 1667)
5 Josiah Clark (abt 1647 - )
6 Jonathan Clark (abt 1649 - )
7 Mary Clark (abt 1651 - )
8 Freeman Clark (abt 1658 - )

05. John Clark, son of Thomas was born abt. 1640/41 in Ipswich, Essex, MA.  He died February 10, 1708 in Norwich, CT.  He married Mary Burnham, daughter of Thomas Burnham and Marie Lawrence on October 09, 1672 in Norwich.  John purchased land at Preston, Conn. on April 16, 1694.  His will listed himself as carpenter and named wife Mary and all 6 children below.

Source: "And Then There Was You" by Marjorie Eilene Wells-Cook (1979) p. 44-45

1 John Clark (Sep 24, 1673 - Aft 1734 in Preston, CT)
2 Thomas Clark  (See Below)
3 Mary Clark  (1676 - )
4 Phoebe Clark (Abt. 1684 - ) Married Obed
5 Isaac Clark (1684 - ) Married Mariam Tracey on May 27, 1707
6 James Clark (Bef 1687 - Bef 1719)

06. Thomas Clark, son of John and Mary was born on January 15, 1674 in Ipswich.  He married Elizabeth Leonard, daughter of Samuel Leonard and Abigail Wood and of Mayflower ancestry on July 10, 1703.  Thomas died in Norwich, CT.

Source: "Mayflower Families for Five Generations: James Chilton, Richard More", General Society of Mayflower Descendants (1997)

1 Mary Clark (Dec 28, 1705 in Norwich, CT - Feb 28, 1760 )
2 Thomas Clark  (See Below)
3 Elizabeth Clark  (Mar 1, 1711 - )
4 Joseph Clark (Feb 24, 1714 in Norwich, CT - )
5 Sarah Clark (Sep 4, 1722 - )

07. Thomas Clark, son of Thomas and Elizabeth was born on May 16, 1708 in Preston, CT.  He married Sarah Woodward, on December 18, 1735 in Norwich, New London, CT.

Source: "Mayflower Families for Five Generations: James Chilton, Richard More", General Society of Mayflower Descendants (1997)
Source: "Vital Records of Norwich 1659-1848, Vol. 1" p. 282
Source:  "Descendants of Richard Woodward, New England, 1589-1982" by Norma Slater Woodward (1982); p. 101

1 Mary Clark (abt. 1736 - )
2 Thankful Clark  (abt. 1737 - )
3 Elizabeth Clark  (Oct 4 1738 in Preston, MA - Jul 1, 1815 in Hampden, MA )
       Married Jonathan Herrick (1743-1813) on Dec 1, 1762 in Preston, MA - 10 children
4 Phineas Clark (1740 - )
5 Sarah Clark (See Below)

08. Sarah Clark, daughter of Thomas and Sarah was born on May 5, 1739 in Preston, CT.  She married Samuel Adams, son of Richard Adams and Susanna Preston on March 28, 1759 in Preston, CT.  Their marriage record is listed in "Early Connecticut Marriages" by Frederic W. Bailey (2008) p. 40. They had 9 children.  Sarah died on March 17, 1808 in Otis, MA. 

I descend from their daughter Mehitable Adams who married Miles Jones.


Migration pattern of my Clark family
England -- Massachusetts -- Connecticut


Surnames that married into my Clark family



"English Origins of American Colonists"
     - references the early Clark Families (p. 654)


My Descent From The Clark Line

Generation Father Mother
16 John Clark (1509-1559) Margaret (1513-1632)
15 John Clark (1541-1598) Catherine Cook (1541-1598)
14 Thomas Clarke (1570-1627) Rose Keridge (1572-1627)
13 Thomas Clarke (1605-1674) Jane
12 John Clark (1639-1709) Mary Burnham (1652-1723)
11 Thomas Clark (1674-) Elizabeth Leonard (1683-1746)
10 Thomas Clark (1708-) Sarah Woodward (1717-1750)
9 Samuel Adams (1737-1809) Sarah Clark (1739-1818)
8 Miles Jones (1764-1812) Mehitable Adams (1771-1812)
7 Miles Jones (1794-1885) Pamelia Turner (1805-1883)
6 Darius Benjamin Jones (1834-1918) Marquerite Cowan (1835-1906)
5 Nathaniel Henry Hawk (1858-1944) Anna Irene Jones (1868-1936)
4 Ernest August Schwiening (1873-1944) Grace Myrtle Hawk (1885-1984)
3 William Edward Marshall (1901-1981) Irene Sophia Schwiening (1908-1992)
2 William Edward Marshall
1 Tod Howard Marshall

This page was last updated on 11/05/2016

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