WHAT A LIFE: Jacob Wilkie Clock

Photo of my great grandfather, Jacob. Perhaps taken in early 1860s, when he was in his late 40’s or early 50’s. Do you notice any similarities to the appearance of the Clocks today? I do: the chin, eyebrows, nose, etc. Perhaps a tad more hair though!
“J W Clock, Father Clock”
(printed by studio)
“R.A. Lewis, 160 Chatham Street, New York
Negative kept. Duplicates made at any time.”
(This photo was given to me by my father, Charles L Clock …grandson of JWC.)



This is a Biographical Sketch (2 pages) of Jacob W Clock (1811-1886) made by Ruth Pickard of Morgantown, Indiana (descendant of Caroline Clock, Jacob’s older sister) and kindly shared with the Charles Clock Family.

Patrick Clock 12.27.2011



In 1879 Jacob Clock received a return letter from Levi Pitts who evidently still lives in the  Danby, NY area. Levi had been a friend and neighbor of Jacob when they were growing up in upstate New York.  In Levi’s return letter he listed the where abouts of many of the families that lived there when Jacob in his youth lived with his father and stepmother, Abraham and Sarah (Walmsey) Clock. What lies below this introduction is:
1) that portion of Levi Pitts letter that remains as copied by Barry Clock in a letter,
2) a page from Jacob Clock’s autobiography that refers to the letter,
3) an 1853 survey map of the Danby, NY area done by L Fagan that shows the home and family locations at the time of the survey,
4) a 2007 google aerial photo showing a large portion of the area coverd by the 1853 survey map with some features and homes identified in the letter and in JW Clock’s Autobiography,
5) a 2007 google aerial photo showing a greater area including the town of Danby, NY with the Pitts and Clock/Marsh homsite shown.

Patrick Clock 01.29.2012


JWC’s NY MILITIA ENLISTMENT (1829) ….18 years old.


While living in Albion, NY (1835) …24 years old.


MORTIMER LEGGETT: JWC’s Famous Friend, Neighbor & Brother-In-Law

Mortimer Leggett was a neighbor of Jacob Wilkie Clock (my great grandfather) at first in upstate New York and later outside of Montville, Ohio (near Cleveland). Mortimer was probably his closest friend when they were both young men. Jacob Wilkie Clock married Hannah Leggett, Mortimer’s sister. They appear to have all lived in one household …the Clocks and the Leggetts, for a period of time in Ohio. Mortimer is mentioned dozens and dozens of times in Jacob’s diaries during the 1830s and 1840’s.

A few excerpts from JWC’s diary, while living in Albion, New York:
“Went into the village to look for a letter from Mortimer.” (6 June 1837)
“Mortimer here tomorrow, afraid he will not come.”. (8 June 1837)
“Looked for Mortimer all day, but has not come yet, wonder what keeps him?” (12 June 1837)
“Mortimer came this morning & called us up – found out he could not help us to Ohio. Concluded finally that Hannah better go with him & I come as soon as I can.”. (June 1837)

JWC diary excerpts in Ohio:
“Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene. Father, Mother, Hannah, Nancy, Mortimer, Miranda, Nottingham, Margette & Louise all coming in. Now for our usual cheer.” (5 July 1837)
“Had a pot pie made of pigeon & robin! Rare! Chopped with Mortimer – hands sore, but they’ll get over it.”. (8 July 1837)
“Last night Jacob & Mortimer came home from the deer lick about 11 o’ clock without any game – they saw a great deer but before they had a chance to fire, it was off.” (18 July 1837)
“Chopped all day with Mortimer & Charles. Too lame to help much.” (14 August 1837)
“Pleasant. Mortimer with me in school (JWC did teach school for several yrs), helps me a great deal, could not have got along without him. Home at night to see the folks.” (30 November 1838)


Mortimer Dormer Leggett

(From Wikipedia)
Mortimer Dormer Leggett (April 19, 1821 – January 6, 1896) was a lawyer, school administrator, professor, and major general in the Union Army during theAmerican Civil War.

Early life

1821, Leggett was born in Ithaca, New York, but moved to Geauga County, Ohio, with his parents when he was fifteen. He and his father created a farm out of the wilderness area. He studied first medicine and then law, which he practiced with some success in Akron, Ohio. He turned to education to supplement his income from his legal business and taught in the Akron and Warren public schools, helping to establish the graded-school system now common. From 1855 to 1858, he was a professor of pleading and practice in the Ohio College of Law inPoland, and in 1858 became superintendent of schools at Zanesville, Ohio. He was a law partner of Jacob D. Cox.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Leggett served as a volunteer on the staff of his friend, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan in western Virginia. He helped raise the 78th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was commissioned as its colonel in January 1862. He commanded hisregiment at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Corinth. In November 1862, he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, suffering a painful wound. After he recovered, Leggett commanded the 3rd Division of the VII Corps during theAtlanta Campaign and Sherman’s March to the Sea. He was brevetted major general of volunteers in July 1864, and was commissioned as a major general a year later. His last action was in the Carolinas Campaign in the spring of 1865.

Postbellum career

Following the war, Leggett returned to Zanesville and resumed his law practice. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as United States Commissioner of Patents in 1871 and, Leggett held that position until 1881, when he resigned to resume his private practice. In 1884, he founded a highly successful company that would become a part of General Electric.

His son, Mortimer M. Leggett, was accidentally killed on October 14, 1873, during an initiation to the Cornell chapter of the Kappa Alpha Society. The younger Leggett was blindfolded and walking along a railroad trestle with other initiates, when he fell, striking the back of his head. Leggett was the first person to die in a college fraternity initiation.[1]

1896 Leggett died in Cleveland, Ohio, aged 82, and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery.


TOMBSTONE:  HANNAH LEGGETT CLOCK ….1st wife of JWC …died Montville, OH.  She was just 26 years old.



Helen Eugenia Clock was the only daughter of Jacob Wilkie & Hannah Leggett Clock.  She was 18 years old during the census of 1860 and born in NY. Hannah Leggett (“the wife of my youth”) was JWCs first wife, who died in 1844, Montville, OH, when she was in her 20’s. Helen was the oldest of Jacob’s 4 children. His first 2 wives died young, so he married 3 times …his 3rd wife outlived him by decades.  Hannah, Sarah and Margaret. 

TWO CHILDREN WITH HANNAH: Homer, born in 1840 (he died as an infant) and Helen Eugenia, born in 1842. ONE CHILD WITH SARAH: Hannah Cornelia born in 1846.  ONE CHILD WITH MARGARET: Wilkie Clyde (my grandfather) born in 1875.

The 1875 census states that Helen was 32 years old, a seamstress and living in Kansas at the time. I have no idea if she married or if she ever had children.

“Helen E. Clock
born in New York state
Mother, Hannah B Leggett Clock
born near 1840
Died in Centropolis, Kans
(lovable), bright, great Bible student
& student of astronomy.
Studied Latin at 6 yrs of age.”


TOMBSTONE:  HELEN CLOCK ….the only child of Jacob Wilkie and Hannah Leggett Clock.  JWC’s first child.


We know that Helen E. Clock is the daughter of J. W. Clock and Hannah Leggett. She died in Centropolis Kansas at the age of only 33 …this headstone is in Pleasant Hill Cemetery. From the picture online it looks to be a very old cemetery. BUT, note the inscription at the bottom….”Infant son of Rev. J. W. & M. A. Clock” It seems since Wilkie C. was born Sept 1875, that Margaret had a son who died before Wilkie was born. Did I miss this in letters or notes from Jacob?
(Above photo & text from Karon Clock Lemming, 2013)

I would assume that JWC & MAC had a son that died in childbirth not long before Helen died, perhaps late 1874?, and it was decided to note that on her tombstone. But that is just a guess on my part.

SARAH GROVES CLOCK:  Jacob Wilkie Clock’s 2nd wife.  Died at the age of only 31, in upstate NY.  Mother of Nellie Clock.  

NOTE: Some of the info below is incorrect ….parents & siblings …WRONG!  Not sure about the place of burial.  I suspect Ohio or even Indiana is more likely.

NELLIE CLOCK: She was the only child born to JWC & Sarah Groves Clock.  JWC’s second child, after Helen.  Lived to be 68 years old.  Died in Rome City, Indiana …where JWC once lived, before moving to Kansas.  Her given name seems to be Hannah Cornelia …so perhaps Nellie was her nickname that she adopted.

*NOTE: See all the information on JWC’s 3rd wife, Margaret …on her separate post.  She is the mother of Wilkie Clyde Clock …my grandfather.  JWC’s 3rd child …one in each of his 3 marriages. 


-Beneath are two obituaries, summarizing his life …with a surprising touch of humor. Actually the humor is not surprising, if you read them both. It’s obviously the only way he would have wanted it!




Below is a letter written by Jacob W. Clock to his niece, Harriett Cluff ….the daughter of Jacob’s sister, Caroline.  Jacob & Caroline’s father was Abraham Clock and their mother was Margaret Dodge Clock. Margaret died young.  So they both grew up with their stepmother …Sarah Wamsley Clock …whom JWC seems to have disliked intensely. 

The Ann Marie mentioned in the letter is Jacob and Caroline’s younger half sister.  Ann Marie Clock’s mother was Sarah Wamsley (2nd wife of Abraham Clock).  Kinda confusing ….both Abraham & JWC’s (father & son) second wives were named Sarah. 

Hannah Leggett, Jacob W. Clock’s first wife died in 1844. He then married Sarah Groves and evidently at the writing of this letter they were living with her parents. His sentence “A trial of three pleasant years has proved to my full satisfaction that I have an excellent wife.” refers to his marriage of three years to Sarah Groves Clock. The “child of 21 months”, mentioned in the letter, was Nellie Clock, born to Jacob (JWC) and Sarah.


Patrick Clock 12.29.2011


Business card of Reverend J. W. Clock, my great grandfather. Probably late 1870’s or 1880’s. TEXT:
“Rev. J. W. Clock, Kansas Conference M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church. Assistant Financial Agent Baker University.
Preacher of a Temperance Gospel.
General Newspaper Correspondent.
‘Methodist Humorist and Poet’ – Denver Tribune
Address, Clinton, Kansas”


CENSUS OF 1880.  Note: Wilkie, my granddad is 4 years old.  Also, Margaret’s 2 children from her previous marriage, from which she was widowed …living with the family.  Both were teachers.



Jacob W Clock was the pastor at St. Marys Methodist Church from 1884 until his death in 1886. A google picture of St. Marys Methodist Church within St. Marys, Kansas is in the post above. His obituary and some history of the Church at St. Marys, KS are posted below below.

Patrick Clock 12.27.2011



Patrick Lewis Clock visited the cemetery in Topeka, KS and did these rubbings from the grave site of his great grandparents, Jacob Wilkie Clock & Margaret A. (Lewis Powell) Clock. The Topeka Cemetery is located at 1601 E. 10th Street. Jacob & Margaret Clock are buried in lot 38, section 42, next to James Lewis (her father?), Mary Powell Wilson and Baby Powell …all relatives of Margaret, who was born a Lewis and married a Powell, before marrying Jacob. She already had two children with Charles Powell when he died in 1861 (…the year the Civil War began).

I enhanced the rubbing by outlining the letters he took from the granite …because I thought it wouldn’t scan clearly enough to be readable without my help. Wrong! Oh well.

Pat also got a copy of the forms the Topeka Cemetery had:
JWC- “last residence St Mary’s, Kansas; internment 1886 April 4; #4282; lot owner MA Clock (Which explains why J & M were buried next to the Lewis’s & Powell’s. Margaret was a member of both of those families)..
MAC- “born Feb 14, 1836, Ohio; last residence: 701 Taylor St, Topeka; disease apoplexy; sons Rev WC Clock & LM Powell; internment fees $8”.
Baby Powell- child of Dr LM Powell (Margaret’s grandchild), died the day it was born.

(Most of the above are from Barry Clock’s SUPERB, WONDERFUL, INSPIRING & INSIGHTFUL book, “The Diary of Jacob W. Clock”, 1987.)!!! Now there is a little Clock humor that old Jacob would have appreciated, huh?




Jacob W Clock funeral and burial were on April 4, 1886. The funeral was held at 3pm at the Kansas Avenue Methodist Church in North Topeka, KS. His burial was at the Topeka Cemetery and later his wife, Margaret Ann Clock (my great grandmother) and three of her relatives were buried at the same site.



TOMBSTONE:  CAROLINE CLOCK …..JWC’s older sister.  Both were the only children of Abraham and Margaret Dodge Clock.  After she died young ….they had a number of half brothers and sisters …from Abraham’s 2nd marriage, to Sarah Wamsley.



About clockbear13

Enough about me. More importantly, this blog is intended to be a gathering spot for all available materials relating to the Clock family, past, present & future ....an interest of mine for many years.
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