Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918
J. WALTER CLARK. In no state in the Union, perhaps, have the public schools in recent years been given more careful consideration than in Kansas, and this is evidenced by the fact that school boards all over are insisting on higher qualifications and efficiency than ever before. They demand teachers not only of scholarship, but of high moral character, of equable temperament and conventional deportment, rightly contending that these instructors have lasting influence on the youth that is entrusted to them at the most impressionable age. Well qualified in every way is Prof. J. Walter Clark, who, for the past two years, has been superintendent of the schools of Buffalo, Kansas. Entering the teacher's profession when but sixteen years of age, he has continued in the educational field because he loves the work. No effort has been too great when it has enabled him to add to his store of knowledge, and, although yet a young man, he has many university honors to his credit, and prior to coming to Buffalo, had already admirably filled educational positions of responsibility.
J. Walter Clark was born November 6, 1888, at Piedmont, Wayne County, Missouri. His parents are D. M. and Charity L. (Chilton) Clark. The early ancestors came to Virginia, in colonial times, from England, moving later into Kentucky and still later to eastern Missouri. This name is honorably borne in many sections of the country at the present time in business, professional and public life.
D. M. Clark, father of Professor Clark, was born at Brunot, Wayne County, Missouri, in 1862, and was reared and educated there and later became a farmer and stockman in Wayne County. In 1912 he located at Benedict, in Wilson County, Kansas, subsequently removing to Scott City, where he yet resides and continues to be interested in farming and stock. He was quite prominent in politics in Wayne County, serving for a time as county clerk and also was a member of the state legislature representing Wayne County, elected on the democratic ticket. He married Charity L. Chilton, who was born at Brunot, Missouri, in 1868, and six children were born to them, as follows: Cleveland, who is his father's partner in business; H. L., who is a farmer and also a real estate agent at Chaonia, Missouri; J. Walter, of Buffalo, Kansas; Samantha R., who is the wife of T. R. Wilkinson, a farmer near Piedmont, Missouri; D. W., who is a farmer residing at Anahuac, Texas; and Myra, who resides with her parents and at present is interested in her studies, taking post-graduate work in the high school at Scott City.
J. Walter Clark attended the public schools at Piedmont, Missouri, until he was graduated from the high school in 1905, and in 1908 he was graduated from the Normal school at Cape Girardeau. Later he attended summer courses in the following educational institutions: two summers in the University of Colorado; one summer in the University of California, and one summer in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
In the meanwhile Professor Clark had been devoting himself to the cause of education as a teacher, almost without cessation from his sixteenth year. Before coming to Kansas in 1911, he had taught school for five years in Missouri, for one year in Oklahoma, and one year in Arkansas, and afterward, for three years he was superintendent of schools at Benedict, Kansas. He built up a fine school system there and made hosts of professional and personal friends. The only political office he has served in was that of deputy county clerk under his father in Wayne County, Missouri.
Professor Clark was married in 1915, at Lindsborg, in McPherson County, Kansas, to Miss Julia G. Fordice, who is a daughter of W. S. and Julia (Stover) Fordice. The father of Mrs. Clark is a retired farmer and he and wife live at Lindsborg. Since he was twelve years old, Professor Clark has been a member of the Baptist church and as teacher of the men's class in the Sunday school, at Buffalo, he proves that he is versatile enough to instruct and interest those of mature years as successfully as he has directed youth for so long a time. Earnest, alert and enthusiastic in his professional work, he is also pleasant and companionable with all with whom he is associated in other ways.
Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1963-1964 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed by Steven Lamberson, student at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 2, 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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