Annual Clark Day celebration Saturday

September 6, 2018

By Julie Traynor

The Marion Area Historical Society invites the community to the 17th Annual Clark Day, Saturday, September 8, 2018. The annual event honors Marion’s founders Christopher and Mary Ann Clark and the history of the Village and area. The Museum, barn building and the Compton Log Cabin will be open. Many well remembered items from the Village’s past are on display, making for a warm and friendly stroll down Marion’s memory lane.

This year the Museum will feature items are from the Marion Public School and surrounding district schools. These include text books and readers featuring Dick and Jane, photos, yearbooks and various sporting items and school related apparel.
As has become the custom, Jim Baughan will cook up a large pot filled with boiled ham dinner, prepared in the spirit of the past with members donating the ingredients. This fine fare is served up with a variety of homemade breads, jams and local honey. Cookies and lemonade make the perfect desert. This is a free event and dinner is by donation.

The Museum has honored Christopher Clark and his wife, Mary Hixon Clark since the first Clark Day, seventeen years ago. The Clarks 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.

The Marion Museum will be open for the Annual Clark Day celebration. Many well remembered items will be on display.

The Marion Museum will be open for the Annual Clark Day celebration. Many well remembered items will be on display.

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 during its 33 years of operation. It was destroyed by fire in1909.
 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 flames 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 8, 2018, at the Marion Area Historical Museum located at the Village Limits on South Mill Street, opposite the Fair Grounds. 

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