Chapter 2 – J.H. Clark
The Glenolden Borough map of 1909, shows “J.H. Clark” as the owner of the Good House. It is hard to know if “J.H” referred to James H. Clark (1856-1909) or his son John H. Clark ( 1892-1951). In my research, I could find very little of the Clark family and the time that they spent as the second owners of the Good House. But this version of the borough map does show the existence of a large circular driveway near one of the three sets of stairs to the porch, and two smaller buildings, identified on the map legend as a “stable or barn”
I know that James H. was born November 17, 1856, in Ellsworth, Maine, to John A. Clark and Rosella Sutherland. On the 1880 census, at age 24, he had moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, he was a border and working as a “Teamer” which would translate to a Teamster today. James H. married Jennie F. Ashely on October 24, 1892 in Fall River, and before their son John H. was born on October 4, 1893, they had moved to Rochester, New York. A daughter, Irene H., arrived in August of 1895 (what is up with all the “H”‘s????). The 1900 census, shows another move, this time to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Harriett W. Ashley, Irene’s mother, living with them.
In reading the history of Glenolden and its surrounding areas, I could find a brief mention of a “James Clark” acting as an usher at the Glenolden Presbyterian Church, located two blocks from the Good House, at its dedication held on April 20, 1902. With this information I am assuming the home transferred ownership from the Good family in 1902.
The next record I can find is the death certificate of James H. Clark. He passes on December 18, 1909, of a “Carcinoma, widely disseminated glandular involvement; extensive, yet incomplete operation on November 19, 1909.” From the death certificate, it appears the doctor or perhaps Mr. Clark had noticed the cancer in July of 1909, and the operation in November of that year was unsuccessful. Mr. Clark was just 53 years old.
His son, John H., at 16 years old, became the wage earner. While Jennie F. Ashley Clark owned the home, her daughter, Irene H., attended school and John H. worked as a stenographer in the machining industry. Just eight years later, July 24, 1918, at 61, Mrs. Clark succumbs to tuberculosis after a three year battle. The home is sold and both John H. (1893-1951) and Irene H. (1895-1981) move back to New York.
While I was researching the Clark family, I realized that Mrs. Clark passes at the beginning of the Influenza Pandemic (Spanish Flu) that gripped the world from 1918 to 1922. The Good House has stood through many events; world wars, the Great Depression, a man landing on the moon, the rise and fall of nations, the invention of the internet, and now two global pandemics. The space we occupy has been occupied before and will be again when we are gone, I believe it is our task to leave it a better place for the next generation. So lets rise up and make this world a good place live, no matter the color of your skin, your nationality, your religion, or your sexual preference.
Up next… the Saybolt Family.