Quilts to highlight 16th Clark Day festivities

September 7, 2017

By Julie Traynor

Antique quilts will be one of the many highlights at the Marion Area Historical Museum’s 16th Annual Clark Day celebration this Saturday, September 9, 2017. The annual tribute to the first residents and founders of our village, Christopher and Marion Clark, will begin at noon at the Museum grounds.

The Marion Area Historical Society will host an afternoon honoring the Clark’s and Village history. The Museum, barn building and the Compton Log Cabin will be open for visiting. Many well remembered items from the Village’s past are on display, making for a warm and friendly a stroll down Marion’s memory lane.

This year the Quilt Show will feature Museum, member and antique quilts from the area. Perhaps you will find your local ancestors names on one of the popular signature quilts on display.   

Visitors will be treated to a tempting pot of Jim Baughan’s famous boiled dinner, slow-cooked over an open fire. This fine fare is served up with a variety of homemade breads, cookies and lemonade. This is a free event and dinner is by donation.
For the past sixteen years the Museum has honored Christopher Clark and his wife, Mary Hixon Clark, our founders. They were not the first settlers in our area; however, they were the first to see the potential in this wooded valley on the Middle Branch River. In 1876 Clark bought 240 acres from his former employers, dammed the river, and built his sawmill. The Clarks spent the winter of 1876-77 alone in a former cookhouse cabin, anticipating a busy spring. It was, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Panoramic postcard of Marion Ca. 1920. The Clark home is the large white home at the far right.  Photo a digital donation courtesy Bonnie Hamer.

Panoramic postcard of Marion Ca. 1920. The Clark home is the large white home at the far right.
Photo a digital donation courtesy Bonnie Hamer.

The Clarks first home, a log cabin left by a lumber company, served many purposes. It was the dining hall, camp store, post office and served briefly as the first school. The Clark home, located appropriately located on Clark Street and overlooking the mill pond, was the site of the meeting at which Marion Township was born.

The Clark Sawmill was located on what is now Water Street, near the dam, and a stone’s throw from their home. The mill worked daily, turning out hundreds of thousands of feet of lumber in during its 33 years of operation. It was destroyed by fire in 1909.

 Even though it appears that both township and town were named for a well remembered place in Ohio instead of Mrs. Clark, the fact remains that Christopher and Mary were the first settlers here and our little village in the valley of the Middle Branch would probably not be if it were not for the Clarks.

They, like many pioneers and early settlers, were not opposed to making a few dollars and used their home to this advantage, renting rooms, providing weekly entertainments and maintaining a general store.  The original log structure was replaced by an ample two story house in 1884. Christopher Clark died in August 1910 and Mrs. Clark in 1933. She had lived on the Clark Street location for 57 years. The home was completely lost to fire in 1947.

Although fires consumed the Mill and home of Marion’s first residents, their legacy remains all about us. The Clarks gave the land and much of the lumber for the first school, at the site of the present elementary school, and the original Methodist Church structure, which still stands on East Main Street. It was used for many years by the Free Methodists. Clark’s Mill provided the lumber to build much of the original town, both businesses and homes. It is safe to say that there is still plenty of Clark milled lumber in the village.

Clark Day is celebrated on the second Saturday of September. The festivities are from noon to 4pm, Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the Marion Area Historical Museum located at the Village Limits on South Mill Street, opposite the Fair Grounds.    

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