Jess W. Clark

Page 551/553 - Jess W. Clark, who is now serving his third consecutive term as treasurer of Kent county, is the son of a Civil war veteran and was himself a captain in the army during the World war, serving in France in all of the major engagements in which his organization participated. His father, Charles D. Clark, served during the Civil war in a New York regiment under General Custer. In 1866, he came to Grand Rapids where he engaged in the trade of carriage maker, his shop being located opposite the old Eagle hotel. In 1868, he removed to Marshall where he continued to follow his trade of carriage maker. Again in 1880, he changed his place of residence, then moving to Cedar Springs still following the same trade, continuing in that work until 1890 when he retired from active life. He returned to Grand Rapids in that year and after the death of his wife in 1902, he went to California, where he remained until the time of his death in 1907. He married Josephine Vail and to them were born three children. Jess W. Clark was born in Marshall, Michigan, April 9, 1868. He attended the public schools in Cedar Springs and was graduated from the high school there. In his early manhood he spent several years working in a grocery store and later with the Grand Rapids Railway Company. In 1905 he moved to a farm near the city which he farmed until 1916. He had always been an enthusiastic member of the National Guard, and in 1916 when the Mexican trouble was imminent; he went to the border with the Grand Rapids battalion of the Thirty-second Michigan Infantry. He returned to Michigan with his organization in February, 1917. His soldierly qualities and his evident ability in military science and tactics won him successive promotions until by July, 1917, he was holding the rank of captain of Company L of his regiment. With the outbreak of the World war, his regiment became the 126th Infantry of the Thirty-second Division, and Captain Clark was put in command of the headquarters company of his regiment. He sailed for France February 19, 1918, and landed March 4. He participated in nearly all the operations of his organization, and the day before the signing of the armistice he was invalided to the hospital where he remained until Mach 23, 1919. He was then transferred to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, from which he was discharged October 25, 1919. Upon his return to Grand Rapids, he became the unanimous choice of the Republican party as its nominee for election to the office of treasurer of Kent county. He was elected over slight opposition and took office January 1, 1921. His conduct of his office won him re-election in 1922 for the years 1923-24. Before the end of his second term a law had been passed allowing county treasurers to serve a third term, and in November, 1924, Captain Clark was again the choice of the people of Kent county for treasurer, a position which he now fills. That he has been thrice elected to a position of trust and responsibility by the people of his county, attests to their confidence in his integrity and ability, and he is regarded by all who know him as a man of forceful personality and keen business judgment. Captain Clark married Mabel Vanderhoff, of Gratiot county, Michigan, on December 24, 1901, and to them have been born four children, Marian Josephine, Bernice Annetta, William Irving, and May June. Mrs. Clark is the daughter of Isaac and Rachael (Graham) Vanderhoff.


Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 7 January 2004