He married Ella Nette (Ellanette Best) and established the store at Wilmot in 1899 which was later purchased by the Coles family.
He was born in the was born in the U.S.A. in 1860. during the time of the Civil War. "Soon after the termination of the Civil War, his family removed to Ireland, and he was sent to Lismore College to complete his education. At the age of 16, he went into business withthe firm of Morrick and Son, at Youghal (in East Cork, Ireland). There he remained for seven years, and in 1880 he and other young men decided to migrate to Australia, and arrived in Melbourne in 1881. He came to Tasmania in 1887
Thomas John Clerke had been a Lieutenant in the Tasmanian Rangers (re-organised to the 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment) in 1903. He transferred in 1906 to the Tasmanian Mounted Infantry. He had traveled to France in 1916 in connection with the distribution of Trench Comforts. His own son, 1830 Sergeant Arthur George Clerke, 40th Infantry Battalion, had been killed in action when buried by a shell burst at Armentieres on 3 January 1917, less than two months after reaching the Western Front
1903: 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Tasmania Appointments: Lieutenant Thomas John Clerke
1906: Lieutenant Thomas John Clerke was promoted from the 12th Light Horse 
An advert for the "Sheffield Emporium" describes its wares: "The well-known emporium conducted by Mr. T. J. Clerke is replete with every want that the householders or the farmer may need. Of groceries there is a full and complete range, produce (including the best butter and freshest eggs) being a specialty. Of boots there is an abundance, suitable for young and old. The drapery depart, meat is replete with a well chosen stock, of all the latest wearables. Special attention is devoted to men's requirements, as well as to the daintiest feminine wear. Travelling bags are a special line."
Died 21 September 1937 at Sheffield, Tasmania He was buried in the Wilmot cemetery. He also appears to have been a member of the Roland Lodge, No. 36, T.C., Sheffield.
His obituary gives his age as 77 at the time of death and also mentions his involvement in the Roland lodge as a "foundation member of Roland Lodge, No. 36, T.C., Sheffield, and was Worshipful Master in 1923. Ho was initiated in Creswick Lodge, Victoria, in 1884, and at the time of his death was one of tho oldest Masons in Tasmania."
Another obituary states that "Mr. Clerke was born in U.S.A. in 1860, during the American Civil War. He arrived in Melbourne in January, 1881, and obtained employment withthe firm of Jebb and Son, in Creswick, Victoria, where he remained till 1887."
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