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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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CLARKE, THOMAS ALEXANDER (1857-1935)

CLARKE, THOMAS ALEXANDER, retail merchant and insurance agent; b. Upper Nelson, 30 May 1857, s/o Abraham Clarke and Hannah Astle; m. 1888, Annie Jane MacLeod, d/o Donald D. MacLeod and Annie Margaret MacLachlan, of Chatham Head; d. Newcastle, 13 Apr 1935.

Thomas A. Clarke was a general merchant in Newcastle in 1891 but later sold only dry-goods. The business was being conducted under the name of Clarke & Co. in 1901 and was primarily, or exclusively, a men's wear store. In 1908, Clarke hired a store manager so he could work full time in the insurance field. In 1911, he and the family relocated in Jacquet River, and in 1912 the store in Newcastle was reorganized under its manager, Harry A. Moody, as Moody & Co.

After a short stay on the Chaleur coast, the Clarkes moved to Sackville, N.B., and in 1916 they returned to Newcastle. Both before and after their five-year absence Clarke and his wife were very active in town and church affairs. He sat on the town council, served as superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school, and was later an elder of the United Church. He was also a leading figure in the temperance movement, being grand scribe of the Sons of Temperance of New Brunswick and president of the New Brunswick Temperance Alliance. She was one of the first women trustees of the Newcastle School Board and was both president of the Ladies' Aid Society of the Newcastle Methodist church and treasurer of the Women's Missionary Society for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. She also served a term as grand treasurer of the provincial Sons of Temperance. A diligent worker for the Red Cross Society, she was made a life member of both that body and the WMS.

When Clarke's wife died in 1923, at age sixty-two, she was survived by him, five sons and four daughters. The sons included H. Allison Clarke, the future Newcastle postmaster; Percy M. Clarke, a dentist who practiced in St Stephen; and Austin M. Clarke, a physician who worked in the health service field. The daughters included Delphine A. Clarke, the second wife of Guyon A. Mersereau. The well-known Woodstock writer Dr George Frederick Clarke was a nephew.

Sources

[b] church records [m] World 7 Jan 1888 [d] Advocate 17 Apr 1935 / Advocate 21 Aug 1901, 20 May 1908, 14 Feb 1911, 7 Jun 1911, 10 Apr 1912, 5 Jul 1916, 14 Jun 1917, 31 Jul 1923; Leader 4 Jun 1970; News 24 Oct 1979, 10 Feb 1982


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