Letter from Earl Clark: "My father was christened Winter William Clark, Winter being his mother's family name. By the time he reached high school he had become so tired of being kidded about the name ("Here comes Winter in the Summertime") that he changed it to William W. Clark. In his adult years he would occasionally run across an old high school friend who would address him as Winter instead of the preferred Bill, and I could see him wince.
"Dad enrolled at Ohio State University but dropped out after he married. Early in 1912, at the age of 20, he was named U.S. Consul at Cardenas, Cuba . . . He served in Cuba for two years, then moved stateside to Mount Vernon, Ohio, where he and Uncle Dale established a Ford Model T trucking business, which eventually failed, the only such failure my father ever experienced. In 1918 we moved to Mars Hill, Indiana . . . where he went to work for the Stenotype Company . . . Before the year was out we moved again to Charles City, Iowa, where he was hired for the sales force of the Hart-Parr Tractor Company.
"My father used nearly all his salary to repay the debts incurred by the trucking company, so in summer we lived in a tent on the banks of the Cedar River, and winters in a one-room upstairs flat heated by a kerosene stove. I think that lasted a year or two before he could afford a house. He then was appointed export sales manager for the tractor company, which meant he traveled abroad to Asia, Australia, Europe, possibly South America, setting up Hart-Parr dealerships. This was long before the days of air travel, so it meant going by steamship.
"I guess the job paid well, but Dad didn't like being away from home so much, so in 1924 we all moved back to Columbus, where he became sales manager for the . . . Hudson-Essex dealership on the swanky east side of Columbus. This went on very well during the Roaring 20's, and Dad bought a beautiful home at 4895 North High Street. But the dealership went broke in the Great Depression, about 1932 I think, and the folks lost the house when he was unable to keep up the mortgage payments. This had a traumatic effect on my father, to the extent that he never went in debt again for anything, be it a house or a business.
"For a time he sold washing machines, then finally started up a used car business in an empty storeroom near downtown Columbus. Eventually he had a chance to buy the Chevrolet dealership in Worthington, Ohio, which he did, paying cash on the barrel head of course.
"The business thrived, but in a few years came World War II and no more cars were produced. Dad survived on the service business and a few used car sales. When the war ended in 1945 the pent-up demand for cars was overwhelming, and he sold everything he could get from the factory. Some dealers took advantage of this seller's market to exact a heavy profit, but Dad refused to do that, and the word soon got around, so that he did a very prosperous business."
Letter from Bill to Edna, 24 Dec 1920: "Here is one thing that may act as an antidote for all the unhappy poison I have been spilling [in my letters]. I have loved you for ten years and then some, dear, and each year I have loved you a little more. I love you tonight and whether I succeed or fail on this trip I am doing the best I know how more for your sake than for the company I represent [Hart-Parr Tractor Co.]. Now, a good night kiss to you dear girl, an hour's walk around the sloppy streets of old London town and then my lonesome bed. Billy."
During all his world travels for the company, W.W. rarely failed to write a letter or a cablegram to Edna every day.
From Earl Clark, after a disappointing visit to Uncle Brady's: "He [Dad] just dropped whatever he was doing and to make up for my disappointment at Uncle Brady's, took me on an unforgettable trip over the mountains to Washington, Jefferson's home at Monticello, and Gettysburg. Dad had traveled so much as a salesman that I knew he hated this kind of travel, which made me appreciate it all the more. It was one of the very few times I ever shared so much time with my father, and I never forgot it."
William Winter Clark, "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994"
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.