Jonathan Clark was born in 1812 in northern Vermont. At age 21 he enlisted in the US Army and was stationed in Wisconsin at Fort Howard (now known as Green Bay) where his troop was assigned to build the military road from the fort to Fond du Lac.
After his military service, Jonathan settled in Mequon. In 1839 he purchased 80 acres and he purchased another 80 acres in 1843, creating a large 160 acre farm. At the time of purchase, the land would have been mostly forested with some prairie grasses.
Jonathan married Mary Turck in 1840. They most likely lived in a modest log cabin until, in 1848, they built a stone house - what is now the Jonathan Clark House Museum. Their family had grown to eight children by 1857 - 7 girls and 1 boy. In addition, the Clark family had a hired man. The hired man’s bedroom tells the story of the meager space and narrow rope bed used by this hard working man.
The life of the young Clark children was filled with hard work as well as fun with the few neighbors that had also settled in the area. They walked one-half mile to Bonniwell School. They used an outhouse instead of an indoor bathroom and they shared beds in the upper floor of the house.
We are proud to tell the story of Jonathan Clark because he was not only an ambitious farmer, but he was also a businessman. Along with his father-in-law Peter Turck and friend William Bonniwell, Jonathan worked hard to develop the government of the new township of Mequon. One of their most important accomplishments was the creation of the area’s first public school.