Saturday, October 1, 2016

John Clark - b1784

John Clark -The Beer connection

The name Clark is an old one, it is derived from 'clericus,' meaning a priest, or one connected with the service of the Church.  At first the term was used only to designate those in clerical orders, but as in early times the Church was the only source of learning, any person who had been educated by the clergy eventually came to be called a 'clerk.' The designation was finally given to all who were able to read and write.  The name dates back to at least the reign of William the Conqueror (1066).
My Clark family is from Kent where the name goes back a very long way indeed.  The men in the family were carpenters and builders, and probably apprenticed to their fathers along the way to avoid paying tax.  Although the family line in Australia no longer seem to be builders, they are all handy with a hammer and nail!


John Clark was the son of William Clark and Mary Hatcher from Kent. We know the Clark name goes back another 2 generations at least in Kent to another John Clark, probably born around 1710 and his wife Mary Watts, both from Biddenden, Kent, England.

My Great Great Great Grandfather John was born in 1784 in Dover, Kent England, and Christened on 7th March 1784 in the St James the Apostle Church, Dover, Kent, England.  The church, built in 1070,  no longer stands today, only ruins are visible due to the damage it sustained in WW2.

The remnants of St James the Apostle Church, Dover

This is probably what it looked like:
By W Fairclough - 1949 - old antique vintage print


John Clark married Jane Beer on 28th October, 1809 at Dover, Kent England.  There was an extensive Beer family in Kent at this time.  They had 9 children, Mary, Jane, William, James, Mary, Elizabeth, John, George and Edmund Charles Clark who is my GG Grandfather.  The family appears to have lived in Dover until about 1815 when James was born in Ramsgate, after that date all the records are from Ramsgate, Kent, ENG.

C1830 Ramsgate Harbour

Now I should say something about the name Beer - my family are very happy with it, assuming it has something to do with brewing.  It may do, but I have not found the link yet.  (still looking)
John Clark was a builder, and his sons were carpenters and builders.  (Edmund immigrated to Australia and helped build the town of Bendigo).  This is confirmed by the 1841 census, which holds the following information (pg 2)

Township:Ramsgate,  Place:Addington
John Clark, aged 56, born abt 1785, Builder, born Kent
Jane Clark, aged 56, born abt 1785, born Kent
John Clark, aged 20, born abt 1821, Carpenter AC born Kent
George Clark, aged 10, born abt 1831, Carpenter
AC born Kent
Edmund Clark, aged 16, born abt 1825, Carpenter,
AC born Kent

1841 census

Eight years after this census, in 1849, Jane died aged 64 and is buried at St Georges Church Cemetery, Ramsgate, Kent, ENG.

John Clark is in the 1851 census aged 67, living with his grandson who was his errand boy.  (His daughter Jane Clark had married John Clunn and they had 6 children).

Wellington Place (no number), Ramsgate, Kent, England
John Clark, Head, widower, age 67, Master Builder, born Dover Kent.
John Clunn, Grandson, unmarried, age 14, errand boy, born Ramsgate, Kent

John Clark died when he was still living at Wellington Row on  8th April, 1856, he is listed as formerly a builder, aged 72.  He died of  "Aproplexey".  John Clark is also buried at St Georges Church Cemetery, Ramsgate, Kent, ENG.   

More Information? If you are researching John Clark and Jane Beer
 and would like the sources for this story, 
please contact me or comment below.  I would be happy to collaborate with you.

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