>The Clark Family – by Abraham Lincoln

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Mary Hilliard was born in April 3, 1839 in Piqua. She was one of four children and while very young, Mary was separated from the family by some unfortunate domestic experience and never saw her family afterwards. She was raised by her uncle, Charles Hilliard, who built the first house in Piqua, Ohio. Mary was a descendant of one of the original 15 families living in Piqua. She met and married James Clark who lived in Piqua and who had originally come to Ohio from Illinois. James was a cooper and it was the large stands of hickory, walnut, and oak that caused him to move to Gordon. Hickory was used to make barrel hoops at the local cooperage in Gordon and that’s where he went to work. In 1866 when Mary [Hilliard] Clark and her husband moved to town from Dayton she recalled, “We moved up here from Dayton when this was still a wilderness. There was nary a ditch nor a pike. We didn’t expect to stay long, but here I am (seventy years later) in the same house (in 1936).” They had three children, Maggie 11, and her sister, Capetola 7, and brother, Willie 6 months. In the 1900 Census, James Clark is listed as a “fork maker.” His age is not correctly shown at 41—he was 61. In the 1880 Census, he is listed as a laborer and is 51— that is the correct age. He must have taken-up making forks to compensate for a dwindling income since the cooperage was no longer in operation. During the Civil War, while tending their vegetable garden, Mary recalls the day the news came that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. “We were in our garden when the whistles blew and bells rang as news was received of Lincoln’s assassination.” She said, “Mr. Clark voted both times for Lincoln (he voted in the Gordon Town Hall for ten presidential elections). My husband always was a Whig (Republican).” Mrs. Clark was the third oldest voter in the ‘Old Voters’ contest run by the Dayton News. The contest was won by John Lafferty, then 100. Mary Clark was the great‑grandmother of Clark and John Ray Davidson. The boy’s father, John Oliver Davidson, lived in Dayton. After her husband died, Mary raised the boys. She had an attack of influenza and after 5 days passed away. Mary was 97 years and 11 months old when she died and was buried in Ithaca Cemetery. She was baptized a Baptist when 11 years of age and was a member of the Gordon Baptist Church until it closed and then she worked in the Methodist Church and for many years teaching a girl’s class.

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