ELMER AND PERSIS CLARK
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
The Clarks, with 11 of their 13 children, moved to Montana from South Dakota, settling on a homestead south of Broadus - Graham was the post office. They lived there for two years and moved to Miles City in 1923 because of educational advantages.
Katie, the oldest daughter, married Earnest Harrsch that fall and moved to Biddle where she lived 31/2 years and then moved to Sheridan, Wyo. They had four children. She and Earnest divorced and she later married Leonard Long; they had three children. Later they moved to Idaho, Katie has seven children and 23 grandchildren.
Claude, the next youngest, stayed in South Dakota with an aunt so 12 of us moved to Miles City. The youngest son, June, was born in Miles City.
It wasn't easy to support a family of that size but each one did his or her part, finding work and helping out where possible. It was a long uphill struggle and it wasn't until 1933 that the next one was married and then eight of us married in four years. No fancy weddings! Mom and Dad Clark moved to Arizona in 1936 with the three left at home.
According to age here is what can happen to a large family.
Sam married Frances Reid and owns the Clark Upholstery Shop in Miles City. They have no family of their own but are busy helping everyone else. Katie is a nurse in Montpelier, Idaho. Velmer (deceased in 1970) married Irene Sloan and they had Clarks Furniture Store. They have two boys and six grandchildren. Clifford married Margaret McElheny and he has retired from the City Fire Dept. They have one son and two grandchildren. Bert married Mamie Berg and recently sold the garage and has a museum in Red Lodge. They have two children and six grandchildren. Fern married Bert Comstock, who was a stationary fireman on the Milwaukee Railroad. During the war they moved to Washington, working in the Bremerton Shipyards. They have two boys and eight grandchildren. Olive married George Lockie and moved to the ranch at Sheffield; in 1959 the Lockie Brothers sold and they now live in Bozeman and own the Mountain View Motel. They have six children and one grandchild. Amos married Gladys Ronning of Rock Springs and lives in Los Angeles where he was employed by Lockheed. After the war he moved to Red Lodge where he now has the school bus lines. They have one son. Earl married Mary Roberts and is a building contractor in Selah, Wash. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Cleo married Al Moody of Tempe, Ariz., and they travel a lot as he works for Bectel. They have one daughter and one grandchild. Claude married Elva and he was killed in a car accident in 1952. They had one boy who was six weeks old at the time. Kenneth married Shirley Sather; he is a fireman on the Milwaukee Railroad. They have one son. June, the youngest, is employed with the State Highway Dept., lives in Forsyth and has eight children.
Mother Clark passed on in 1964 but Dad Clark is still going strong at 88. He spent his 85th birthday in Hawaii, lives in his own apartment in Miles City and travels around seeing his family when possible. Of the 13 children, 11 are still living. There are 36 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren.
The only time in our lives we were all together, all 13 children and parents, was in 1948 when we had a family reunion. There were 49 of us; five years later in 1953, Elmer and Persis Clark celebrated their 50th Anniversary. They had been married 61 years when she passed on. In those years there was much joy, sorrow, suspense, hope and give and take. If the whole lifetime could be lived over, would there be any changes?