Elmer C. Clark of Oswego, who for four years has so ably occupied the bench of the Sixteenth Judicial District of Kansas, began life as a poor country boy and has risen to his prominent station in life by a fixedness of purpose and an unfaltering pursuit of a lofty ideal. He was born May 16, 1863, on a farm eight miles from Leavenworth, Crawford county, Indiana, the son of worthy parents and the scion of noble and patriotic ancestors. His father, James A. Clark, married Harriet E. Gaither in Crawford county, Indiana, where both had been born, reared and educated. They remained residents of Indiana until 1883 when they removed to Kansas and located first in Independence, but three years later they removed to Parsons. Of their ten children, eight grew to maturity and four of the eight are still living. The father was a carpenter and builder by trade and continued to be thus employed until his death in Parsons. He was the son of Samuel M. Clark, native of Ohio. James Gaither, the maternal grandfather of Elmer C. Clark, was a descendant of John R. Gaither, a Virginian who represented the Old Dominion as an officer in the Revolutionary war. Mr. Clark was reared on the farm until six years of age when the family removed to Leavenworth, the county seat of Crawford county where the father was engaged in the furniture and undertaking business and where the youth Elmer received a common school education. At the age of fourteen he left school and the parental home, and began life's battle on his own account. He was thereafter variously employed several years in different states but in the meantime was, by dint of night study and special effort, preparing himself for the profession of his choice, that of law. He came to Kansas in 1882 and worked on a farm for a year and a half; then he became employed in the round house at Parsons, and later was fireman on a locomotive, having spent in all about three years in railroad service. By that time he had accumulated sufficient earnings to enable him to take up a systematic course of law study. He chose as his preceptor, W. L. Simons, later of Fort Scott, in whose office he prepared for his admission to the bar, which occurred in 1889. Being at that time without funds for his livelihood until he could build up a practice he accepted a position as deputy in the district clerk's office at Oswego and remained there in that capacity two years. He was then elected clerk of the district court of Labette county, to which he was reëlected, serving in all four years. In January, 1897, he began the practice of law in Oswego and ten years later, or on Feb. 1, 1907, he was appointed judge of the Sixteenth judicial district, with a division of the court between Oswego and Parsons. In 1908 he was elected to that office with no opposition either at the primaries or the regular election, a complimentary expression of the feeling as to his fitness for that responsible position. By steady steps he has made himself a man of mark and influence and has filled the position of judge in a conspicuously able manner. Both his professional and judicial record has been free at all times from adverse criticisms because of his unquestionable fidelity to duty and his wise interpretation of the law.
On Dec. 25, 1892, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Clark and Miss Linnie C. Smith, of Oswego. They have one son, Elmer C., Jr., a graduate of the Oswego High School and at the present time (1911) a student in the University of Kansas.
Judge Clark is a prominent Mason, being a Knight Templar and a member of Abdallah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church.Pages 869-870 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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