MAJOR AUGUSTUS P. CLARKE, A.M., civil engineer, who has wrought efficiently in many of the country's works of internal improvement, was born in the town of Cazenovia, of which he is a resident, July 23, 1835. His grandfather, Joseph Colville Clarke, a native of England, was born in 1768, was married December 9, 1790, to Elizabeth Clark, and died July 16, 1799. His widow was married December 25, 1808, to Benjamin
Benjamin Tarbox Clarke, son of Joseph and father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Middletown, Conn., February 21, 1797, and was but two years old when his father died. He continued to live with his mother, and came to Madison County with her and other members of the family, making the journey by team to Schenectady, and thence by flat-boat on the Mohawk River. He was with the troops sent to the defence of Sackett's Harbor in the War of 1812, and for service there rendered was a pensioner during his later years. Learning the trade of cabinetmaker, for a number of years he dealt in furniture, building up a flourishing business, accumulating a handsome property, including the business block erected by him on the south-east corner of Lincklaen and Albany Streets. His long and honorable life was terminated by an accident August 14, 1875.
The maiden name of the wife of Benjamin T. Clarke was Harriet Kingsbury; and she was a member of the seventh generation in a direct line from Henry Kingsbury, Sr., of England. She was born in Cazenovia, September 26, 1800. Her father was Lemuel Kingsbury, who was born in Andover, Tolland County, Conn., a son of Dennison Kingsbury, a native of the same town. Captain Nathaniel Kingsbury, father of Dennison, was born in Haverhill, Mass., August 23, 1684. He was a son of Lieutenant Joseph Kingsbury, who was born in Ipswich, Mass., about the year 1656, and grandson of Henry Kingsbury, Jr., who, from the best information at hand, was born in England in 1615. Henry Kingsbury, Sr., father of Henry, Jr., was born in England. He came to America in the same fleet with his friend Governor Winthrop, landing at Salem, July 30, 1630. Both he and his wife, Margaret, joined the first church in Boston, being the twenty-fifth and the twenty-sixth members on the list. Later they settled in Ipswich, Mass. Their son, Henry, Jr., removed from Ipswich to Haverhill, Mass., where he died October 1, 1687. His wife died February 21, 1678. Their son, Lieutenant Joseph Kingsbury, removed from Haverhill to Norwich, Conn., in June, 1708, and died there in 1741. He married in 1679 Lois Ayres. Their son, Captain Nathaniel Kingsbury, after his marriage went to Windham, now Hampton, Conn., and in 1731 or 1732 moved to Coventry, now Andover, in the same State, where he died in 1750.
An old letter preserved in the State House in Boston, by permission given here in full, is interesting as. containing the earliest known references to the ancestors of the American Kingsburys. Edward Flint, Esq., of New York City, is authority for the statement that it was written from Groton Manor, Suffolk, England, in November, 1629, to "the right worshipful John Winthrop, Esquire," newly elected Governor of the colony of Massachusetts Bay:--
My deare Husband
I reioyce in thy welfayre and in the expectacion of thy presence wch I hope shortly to enioy. I send up my daughter M. somewhat the soner by reson of Mr. P. cominge up and would pray thee to send word this weeke when I shall send up thy horsses. I pray make what hast you can for the hart of your good servant is fallen so loe that she sayth if you do not com home presently you will never lift it up agayne. But I think hir desyre is that she may confir with you about
Mr. P., whome I think she will scarce have power to deny. He preached with us the last Lord's day and did very well. He seemeth to be a very godly wise man, but I am sure my sister will not make any promise till she hath confired with thyselfe and the rest of hir frends. Coles Kinsman shall come up next weeke. Kingesbery will goe for N. E., his wife and two children. You must pardon me that I am so short in righting to you, for my affections are longe enough if I had time to expresse them. But I must leave thee for this time, beinge in hast. Desyringe the good Lord to prosper all thy businesse and affayres and send us a comfortable meetinge, I commend my best love to thee, and commit you to the Lord and rest Your faythfull and obedient wife,
Mr. Flint also gives the following additional particulars: "Governor Winthrop was at the time sitting in Parliament, and selling his property preparatory to leaving England. The Kingesbery mentioned is the first Henry, who came to this country in 1630. As a neighbor of the Winthrops, our ancestor came from Suffolk, Groton Manor House being about fifteen miles north-east of London. In April, 1630, four ships of the fleet anchored in the Solent, off Cowes in the Isle of Wight. The 'Arbella' contained the governor and sons, Deputy Governor and Madame Dudley, the Lady Arbella, daughter of the late pious Theophilus, Earl of Lincoln, and other leaders. The Kingsbury family were on board the 'Talbot.' In this month Governor Winthrop wrote to his wife, who was still at the Manor House (she joining him at Boston the next year) : 'Henry Kingesbery hath a child or two on the "Talbot," sick with measles; but I hear they are apt to do well.'
The children recovered, one of them being the second Henry from whom we descend. A storm separated the vessels, and small-pox broke out in the 'Talbot.' But the Kingsburys were spared, and in June, 1630, landed at Salem, Mass."
In politics Benjamin T. Clarke was a Whig. Intelligent and well informed, he took a lively interest in all matters pertaining to the public good. He served a term as Postmaster in Cazenovia, and fifteen years as a justice of the Peace.
After a preparatory course of study at Cazenovia Academy, in 1851 Augustus P. Clarke entered Union College at Schenectady, where he was graduated in 1855, having taken the scientific and engineering course, with the degree of C.E., later receiving the degree of A.M. in course. Leaving college, he went to Wisconsin, and assisted in the survey of the Fox River Valley and of the Milwaukee & Beloit Railroads. The panic of 1857 Practically putting a stop to railroad building, he engaged in teaching in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, and later was employed in introducing text-books into the schools of that part of the country. Returning East in 1860, he enlisted, August 9, 1862, in Company K, One Hundred and Fourteenth New York Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in as a private, he was promoted to the post of Quartermaster Sergeant, and from that to the adjutancy of the regiment. Before receiving his commission as such, he was transferred to the engineer corps, and joined the Department of the Gulf. He was made Captain of Engineers, and later Major, and had charge of the construction of various important works, including the fort at Brazos Island near the mouth of the Rio Grande, in sight of the first two battle-grounds of the Mexican War--Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma--and the works at Port Hudson, a completely bastioned fortress. He was with General Banks at the Red River expedition. He was taken sick while in charge of the works at Mobile, in April, 1865, and was honorably discharged from Le Vert Hospital May 12, 1865, his health being very much impaired.
After the war Major Clarke was stationed for a brief period at Toledo, as Trainmaster of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad. Resigning that position on account of continuing ill-health, he afterward went to Kansas, and assisted in locating the surveys for the central branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. A few months later he entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, in the engineer department, and made surveys for the bridges at Burlington and Quincy, and also had charge of the building of many other bridges and culverts. The year 1868 found him working for the Illinois Central Railroad, with headquarters at Dubuque, Ia. The following year he formed a partnership with L. C. Mitchell to carry on the book and stationery business in Chicago. Selling out this business after a short time, he moved to Red Wing, Minn., and was engaged in surveying a route from Wabasha, via Lake City and Red Wing, to Hastings, and later on the Hastings and Dakota road. In 1871 he came back to his native village. When the company was organized for building the West Shore Railroad, he entered its service and did important work, to him being assigned the construction of some of the most difficult parts of the road. His efforts did much toward securing the right of way through Syracuse.
Major Clarke married in 1866 Frances S. Groff, who was born, reared, and educated in Cazenovia, and who has been a devoted wife and mother. They have four children living--Harriet Elizabeth, Theodore Paul, Sophia Brightman, and Robert Augustus. Major and Mrs. Clarke are members of the Presbyterian church at Cazenovia.. He is a member of Knowlton Post, No. 160, Grand Army of the Republic, and of Sullivan Lodge, No. 148, A. F. & A. M. Politically, he is a Republican. In his busy life, much of which has been spent away from his early home, he has found some time to devote to the public affairs of his native town. He has for sixteen years served as Trustee and Treasurer of Cazenovia Seminary.
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