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George M. Clark, Musician, Civil War Veteran

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Catalog Information

Title
George M. Clark, Musician, Civil War Veteran
Accession Number
2020.011.0007
Date Added
9/12/2020 9:25:21 AM
Type
Historical People
Gift of
Robert Underhill
Collection Title
Misc
Collection Description
Misc
Source
Phil Mandolare
Format Description
*
Search Engine Type
Person
George M. Clark was born in Clarendon in 1833 to Nahum G. Clark and Ann Eliza Round; the Round family being very early settlers of Clarendon.  Ann was buried in the Chippenhook Cemetery when she died in 1843.  Nahum subsequently moved to Rutland where he worked as a stone engraver and is found in 1850 living with his parents and his other 3 children.  George struck out on his own by age 16 and is found in Weathersfield, VT at the time of the 1850 census. 

In 1855 George married Cornelia Paige in Weathersfield, VT. She passed away at age 20 Oct. 6, 1856 in Felchville (Reading), VT, less than 5 months after the birth of their son Edward. 

George married Lucinda A. Felch (1840 - 1912) in Felchville and with her had 2 additional sons; Frank H. in 1860 and Claude H. in 1863. 

On October 23, 1862, George mustered in as a Sergeant in Company E of the 16th Vermont regiment. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and mustered out on August 10, 1863.  His service included being at the Battle of Gettysburg where he was honorably mentioned in General George J. Stannard's report of the engagement. 

What George is best remembered for is his musical talent. As a boy, he played fiddle at community dances and gatherings.  As an adult he taught music in Vermont and in Jacksonville, FL when he moved there for a period.  He traveled the south performing and in 1860 became part of a touring company called the Broadway Minstrels.  George was one of the founders in 1866 of Whitmore & Clark's Minstrels, serving as the stage manager and musical director. The group's acts changed over time, but included gymnasts, comedians, singers, dancers, brass bands, and orchestras. He also worked as the "singing clown" with J.M. French's Oriental Circus & Egyptian Caravan. 

For many years, Whitmore & Clark's group concluded their annual tours with a benefit for the Felchville Library. Their initial benefit was credited with providing the funds for the first books purchased by the Library. A portrait of George Clark hung in the Gilbert A. Davis Library in Reading, Vermont.

In the Music, Poetry, Art collection you can see ten of his songs.  His son Frank is noted in the 1903 publication by Gilbert A. Davis History of Reading that George wrote and composed more than 25 songs. 

Below is a eulogy to George from the June 12, 1885 Springfield reporter at the time of his funeral.  It is perhaps the best bio of his life found.  Below that is a narrative on George from History of Reading.  The cover photo is also from History of Reading

For more info follow the links below.  With the vermontcivilwar.org link, scroll down to see a more comprehensive bio on George.

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