The Clarks of Willsborough Point
71 pages

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71 pages

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The author invites her reader to come with her on a journey into the past. It begins in the Connecticut Berkshires in 1801 and transports us north with George and Lydia who set forth to Willsborough, New York and, ultimately establish a family Clark legacy. The lure was an opportunity to better their lives financially and in every way. We experience the emotions they felt as they prepared to leave behind all that they had ever known and participate in their preparations for their long journey over terrain and under circumstances that were totally unknown to them. We too are on the wagon carrying Lydia and her four offspring over bumps along mere tracks and, sometimes a real road, while George rides alongside as the ultimate protector. We join them in their hastily prepared meals along the route and share their fears of nights so exposed. We step onto the sail ferry at Charlotte filled with trepidation as we stare at the vast expanse of water that lies before us and finally step gingerly onto the warm sand as they reach New York at last. We feel their fears when plunged into what they had termed “wilderness”.  Filled with excitement and a bit of trepidation we move toward Willsborough and, much to our delight and surprise, we are greeted warmly as we approach the doorway of our new home. We are certain that life will be good and that this “wilderness is not to be feared”. George takes us into the Iron Shop where we see he and his cohorts crafting huge anchors for the newly created ocean going vessels of the US Navy and then tells us how these get to their final destination. Through it all we become part of their lives and we develop our own reactions to who these early Clarks really are, reactions that can become immensely personal. In the end, we are drawn into the final drama of the series, filled with anguish and concern. What will happen next?


Chapter 1: An Invitation    

Chapter 1: The Scene is Set

Chapter 2: Lives Intertwined   

Chapter 3: Preparations for the Journey   

Chapter 4: The Long Trek North 

Chapter 5: Lake Champlain at Last 

Chapter 6: Journey’s End   

Chapter 7: A New Life Begins   

Chapter 8: The Anchor Shop  

Chapter 9: Willsborough Is Home   

Chapter 10:Happy Years for George and Lydia   

Chapter 11: Good Years for All 

Chapter 12: The Community’s Embrace  in Tragedy




About The Author   

Hale Historical Research Foundation   



Publié par
Date de parution 04 juillet 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781947626133
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0250€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Copyright © 2018 by Darcey Hale and TBR Books
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission.
TBR Books
146 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
For a listing of books published by TBR Books, visit our website at or contact us by email at: contact@
Front Cover Illustration: Willsboro Point © Philip Hall
Back Cover Portrait: Darcey Hale © Nancie Battaglia
Cover Design © Nathalie Charles
ISBN 978-1-947626-12-6 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-947626-13-3 (eBook)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2018951082
It is with sincere gratitude that I dedicate this, my first book, to those who have stayed with me through thick and thin. Without their encouragement and support I would never have had the courage to undertake such an endeavor in my eighty-fourth year.
Thank you Morris for being such a good friend and mentor, and for your wise guidance as I learned to work with the Clark Collection in a respectful and professional manner.
Thank you, son, Philip for your tireless willingness to pick up the pieces as I drowned over and over dealing with the vicissitudes of a computer, and for your beautiful cover photograph.
Thank you Ron, our Town Historian, for so willingly sharing your vast knowledge of the history of Willsboro and guiding me to the resources that I have needed.
Thank you a thousand times over, Fabrice, for having such faith that I could actually write a book and then spending endless hours editing and publishing it.
And, finally, I owe a huge vote of appreciation for the unending patience of my husband, Bruce, who has given me the time and support I needed in order to bring my story to life.
I wish to acknowledge the many individuals and organizations that have played such an important role in celebrating the importance of the Clark Collection, as it represents the Clarks of Willsboro Point and their landholdings, and now by beginning to tell their story through this book and those to follow.
Each member of the Hale Historical Research Foundation Board so generously shared their skills and expertise, as well as their professional support, as we sought a permanent home for the Clark Collection. Many thanks to Joe Burke, Art Cohn, Jim Fuller, Cory Gillilland, Bruce Hale, Nick Muller, Patty Paine, Teresa Sayward and Lorilee Sheehan. You have accomplished your goal!
Several New York State professionals have been of great assistance in a variety of ways. Thank you Bernie Margolis (New York State Librarian until his untimely death) for your enthusiastic support of what I have done and your eagerness to make the Clark Collection a part of greater State Library Collection. Thank you Peter Nastasi, New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, for your commitment to ensuring that the Clark Collection will always be cared for and will be accessible to a wide audience in the future. Thank you Bill Krattinger, of the New York State Historic Preservation Office, for seeing that the former Clark property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Ligonier Point Historic District. Thank you Connie Frisbee Houde, New York State Museum, for sharing your knowledge of textiles and clothing with me as we sifted through 2,100 of them.
Thank you Hallie Bond for bearing with me as I have tried to learn about quilts and quilting, as well as Jane McIntosh and Ed Comstock who taught us so much during the month-long appraisal of the paper portion of the Clark Collection.
Thank you Teresa Sayward, formerly our State Assemblywoman and Town Supervisor, and Shaun Gilliland, our Town Supervisor, for your support and encouragement in all regards. Finally, thank you Linda Hacker, Rinda Foster and those others who have read my story and encouraged me to keep going.
An Invitation
The Scene Is Set
Lives Intertwined
Preparations For The Journey
The Long Trek North
Lake Champlain At Last
Journey’s End
A New Life Begins
The Anchor Shop
Willsborough Is Home
Happy Years For George And Lydia
Good Years For All
The Community’s Embrace In Tragedy
About The Author
Hale Historical Research Foundation
S ometimes destiny and fate land one in the most unexpected places, places that hold untold treasures and unknown opportunities. This is just what happened one day in 1996, when my husband, Bruce, first introduced me to Willsboro, New York - a small, rural town on the western shore of Lake Champlain that is packed full of history. We drove through the Village, over the bridge that spans the Boquet River, up the steep hill that leads one out of the river valley, and on north to Willsboro Point. Before long, we turned east onto Ligonier Point, a thumb of land stretching out into the lake, where we started down a quiet country lane lined with stately 150-year-old sugar maple trees that arched their gnarled limbs overhead. When we made our way toward the lake I had no idea that I would soon be embarking upon an amazing journey into the past - a journey that would change my life forever.
As we continued down Ligonier Way, a complex of nineteenth century family homes and outbuildings that Orrin Clark and his descendants had created to support their lives as farmers, quarrymen and boat builders came within our view. Bruce explained that by the end of the century the once thriving community they had created began to slowly wither away. Buildings that no longer had a purpose were torn down, or simply left to fall to the earth as their timbers rotted away. The property began to assume a seasonal nature and the houses only came to life during the warm summer months. As the days grew shorter, and the first whispers of the coming of Autumn were heard, windows were shuttered and doors were closed once again. Ligonier Point and its yet unknown treasures lapsed back into silent darkness, hidden from view, lost from the human mind, except for brief moments of activity during the warmer months.
Over that weekend, Bruce told me stories of the Clark family and the lives they lived - stories that he had heard from his parents who had spent summers on Ligonier Point since 1924. Initially, they vacationed in the old quarry worker’s schoolhouse and, subsequently, they acquired the quarry master’s house, Scragwood. The stories he related piqued my innate curiosity and fed directly into my lifelong love of history. For the next three years, we spent weekends and vacations salvaging and hastily storing everything that we could from an old icehouse as it slowly sank into the earth below, and would soon be nothing but a fragile shell. All manner of memorabilia from stacks of correspondence to photographs, books to discarded pieces of furniture, and even an unused coffin, lay jumbled together in heaps on the damp earthen floor.
Finally, in 2001 we left city and professional lives behind and took up permanent residency on Ligonier Point. At last, I was able to step aside as an educator and put my college degree in American Cultural History to use. Did I have any concept of what lay ahead of me? Definitely not! Did I know that every building and outbuilding on our property was filled with historical gems that were just waiting to be discovered? Not at all! If I had known I might not have had the courage to move forward and tackle what awaited me.
One by one, we opened shutters and unlocked doors, exposing the contents of each structure to light and air, and awakening them from their slumbers. Remnants of the past were hidden in nooks and crannies, beneath floors, inside walls, in attics and cellars, tucked away in old steamer trunks, and even behind books of a more contemporary nature. Dresser drawers and chests overflowed with beautiful quilts, linens and clothing that had been made by hand so many years ago, and boxes of china and crystal that had been stored away for decades revealed their beautiful contents that were lovingly collected over several generations. At last, objects that had lain hidden from the outside world for almost a century were coming to life again.
While I stood in awe, amazement, and feeling quite overwhelmed by it all, historian and author, Morris Glenn, stepped into my life and provided the guidance and oversight that I so desperately needed. With each passing day as we worked together the pile of articles and artifacts, dating from 1759 to 1920, grew at a truly alarming rate, provoking Morris to continually remark, “This is the gift that won’t stop giving.” To date, we have amassed over 51,000 letters, business records, diaries, architectural and engineering drawings, letters, and a wide variety of other paper items: almost 1,000 books, pamphlets, magazines and periodicals; over 6,000 photographs; and 2,100 textiles. Each has been handled with respect and loving care, categorized, conserved, archived, and shared with others through tours, presentations and written materials that Morris and I have prepared.
As we worked through the abundance before us, questions kept bubbling up to the surface. We found answers to some, but certainly not all. Who were these Clarks who lived and worked amid the rocks, on the land, on the lake, and in those old buildings? What sorts of endeavors did they engage in? What were their daily lives like? Were they educated? Were they religious? Did they participate in local affairs? How were they viewed within their community? Did they ever travel beyond the shores of Lake Champlain? Were they participants in the making of regional and national history? What did they contribute that was truly lasting and meaningful? The list of questions went on and on. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers yet - and maybe we never will – but we do have an ever-increasing understanding of the Clarks and the “world” in which they lived.

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