Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Willis Raymond Clark

WILLIS RAYMOND CLARK, a lumber and grain dealer at Byers, has had a wide variety of productive experience. He is a native Kansan, but spent a number of years in Indiana.

He was born at Blue Mound, Linn County, November 30, 1873, and he is of English ancestry. His great-grandfather came from England in early days and settled near Rochester, New York. He was a cabinet maker by trade. William Blaisdell Clark, father of Willis R., was born near Rochester, New York, in 1835. His parents both died when he was about twelve years old, and being thrown on his own responsibilities he resorted to what was then a rather novel enterprise. He bought a "magic lantern" outfit or stereopticon, the crude predecessor of the modern moving picture screen, and used it to give exhibitions in country districts, gradually making progress from community to community until he reached Southern Indiana. There his enterprise met an almost tragic end. His lantern exploded while he was giving an exhibition in a schoolhouse near Vincennes, and while there were no lives lost the schoolhouse was burned and he lost his outfit and his desire to continue its use. After that he was employed in different lines of work before he became a laborer in a sawmill near Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1857 he established a home on a farm near Blue Mound, Kansas, then called Oakwood. He was living in that locality when the war came on and enlisted and was made quartermaster sergeant of Company K of the Twelfth Kansas Infantry. He was with his command through the war. The record of the Twelfth Kansas is told on other pages. He farmed for many years in Linn County, and in 1891 moved to Pratt County and continued farming until 1897. After that he was in the grain business at Iuka for several years and died there in 1905. He served as mayor of Blue Mound, Kansas. In politics he was a radical republican.

William B. Clark married Hannah Frances Paine. She was born in the State of Maine in 1840 and died at Iuka, Kansas, November 22, 1918. Concerning their children the oldest was James Edward, a farmer who died at Pratt; Nelson B. is a farmer near Byers; Harry B. during the winter of 1918-19 was in the army stationed at Trinidad, Colorado; the fourth in line is Willis R.; C. M. is a grain commission merchant and member of the Wichita Board of Trade; E. B. is an exclusive shoe dealer at Wellington, Kansas.

W. R. Clark spent the first seventeen years of his life on his father's farm in Lina County and acquired his education in the schools of Blue Mound. On leaving home he went to Sullivan County, Indiana, which, by the way, is not far from the scene of his father's disastrous exploit with his magic lantern. For three years he clerked in a store there and then did mining, carpenter work and followed other lines of employment in Indiana for eleven years. On returning to Kansas in 1905 he engaged in the lumber, coal and grain business at Iuka. He sold out in 1912, following which he was a furniture merchant at Mineola, for one year, and in 1914 moved to Byers, where he engaged in the lumber and grain business. He owns a half interest in the lumber business, the only institution of its kind at Byers. The yards are located along the tracks of the Anthony and Northern Railway. He is also manager of the Larabee Elevator Company and is a stockholder and director in the Iuka State Bank. Mr. Clark is a republican and is affiliated with Kilwinning Lodge of Masons at Pratt and Byers Lodge of Odd Fellows. His home, a modern residence at Byers, was built in 1915.

Mr. Clark married in Sullivan County, Indiana, in 1895 Miss Anna M. Denny, daughter of Rev. Nathan Francis and Lydia L. (Southard) Denny, the latter now deceased. Mrs. Clark's father is a retired minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church living at De Pauw, Indiana. Mrs. Clark died in Sullivan County, Indiana, in 1904, and it was soon after her death that Mr. Clark left that state and returned to Kansas. She was the mother of three daughters: Lorena M., wife of J. E. Stockwell, an automobile mechanic at Zenda, Kansas; and Trella E. and Thelma E., both at home. In October, 1910, at Pratt, Kansas, Mr. Clark married Miss Verna B. Shinogle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shinogle, her father now deceased. Her mother is now Mrs. Minerva Evans, living at Dawn, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have four children: Charles Blaisdell, born March 2, 1912; Kenneth Donnell, born September 7, 1913; Virginia Frances, born May 2, 1916; and Richard Eugene, born July 1, 1917.

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