My grandfather, Wilkie traveled to Europe in 1900 with a friend from Kansas University. This was nearly 15 years before World War I destroyed much of what he saw. Although Europe is still something today, it must have really been something else to see it before two world wars tore it apart and it was rebuilt.
This 2 page letter was later typed from the original, by my dad …Charles L Clock. Out of all the large number of family letters that were saved throughout the years, I would guess this one from his father, was my Dad’s favorite …since it was the only one he transcribed, perhaps in the 1960s.
It was from Wilkie Clock to his mother, Margaret Ann Clock (Jacob W Clock’s widow). He was finishing up at KU and was in Boston at this time (1900). He and his college buddy, Joe Nichols were getting ready to go to Europe.
Interlaken, Switzerland – July 1900
“You have no idea how hard it is to leave this glorious country. Have climbed 3 mountains, 2 glaciers, etc. Will start for Paris Monday. Best wishes to all. -Yours, WCC.”
Stratford-On-Avon, Britain – 1900
“Greetings from Stratford. Am having a glorious time. Never was so well in all my life. Adjectives would fail me to tell all I’ve seen. -WCC”
One of the postcards is addressed to Mary Goode back in the States …Wilkie and Mary were married sometime after he returned home and then had George Clock. He was my dad’s (Charles) oldest brother… half brother actually. Mary died in her 20’s. Wilkie had all the other Clock children with his second wife, Margaret M. McCullick Clock …my grandmother.
JESSE NICHOLS’ RECOLLECTIONS:
Jesse gave this speech a number of years after he and my grandpa returned from Europe. I don’t know if the two of them remained friends. I have heard rumors that he contributed to the construction of Wilkie’s church in West Tulsa and to some of his other endeavors as well. I gather that the Nichols family was rather wealthy, but couldn’t say for sure.
NICHOLS’ SPEECH RECALLING THE TRIP:
“Between Junior and Senior years a fellow student by the name of Clock, who was studying for the ministry, and I herded four cars of cattle on a freight train to Boston thereby getting free transportation…and hired out on a cattle boat bound for Europe. On the boat we were kept below deck…slept on baled hay, and scrambled with the rest of the hands for food out of big pans on the floor. Unfortunately, I was terribly sea sick a good part of the way and my friend Clock fed my ‘cattle run’ for me during that time.
Before we left Boston we paid $15.00 each for Hanford bicycles and dead-headed them across in the cook’s meat box. Upon arrival in Britain we rode our bicycles to London and put them in a repair shop, which burned that night! Next day they gave us fine new bikes equipped with coaster brakes, headlights and a lot of up-to-date things that our Boston bikes had not had. We rode these bicycles through Belgium, Holland and into Germany carrying what few clothes we had with us on the bikes. We allowed ourselves a dollar a day for room and board…wherever we thought we could get away with it we used a sympathy gag and got free room and board! In Cologne, Germany we sold our bikes for $60.00 each.
Then we went up the Rhine by boat…working part of our way…toured Switzerland on foot with knapsacks on our backs and when we got hungry (which was almost every day) my pal, Wilkie Clock, who was a good singer, would sing in the street and I would take up a collection. In Switzerland we climbed Mount Rigi and then claimed we were expert guides, and made good money for a few days as guides and then were on our way again.
When we got to Paris we saw a lot of “Rue” life which my religious pal insisted he did not want to see (even threatened to part our ways); and then we came home on immigration tickets in steerage to Montreal. After purchasing my ticket to Kansas City I had eighty-five cents left…lived on apples and ginger snaps for three days, and landed in Kansas City with six cents in my pocket. Fortunately, I met a friend in the Union Station to whom I was able to sell my old worn out sweater for fifty-nine cents (cut price) which, plus the six cents, paid my fare to Olathe. I arrived home with nothing much but a greatly prized Alpine stock, and the rather forlorn looking clothes on my back, and the memory of a wonderful trip. When I sold the story of the trip to the Olathe Mirror for $25.00 I thought I had struck it rich!
This three months’ trip made a lasting impression on me…I was struck most forcibly with the imposing plans, and permanent character of the cities and the buildings, and I believe it was then that the spark was struck that ultimately brought the Country Club District into being.” -J Nichols