Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
The Clarkes in Miles City
Now that the insurance department of the Custer Abstract Company has been taken over and is now owned and operated by the Clarke Insurance Service, it might be well to tell those who are not familiar with the history of the Clarke family in this community, some of the interesting features which have tied this family to the community life here in Custer County. It has been said that "The Instinct of Workmanship is One of Mankind's Most Praiseworthy Attributes." How this instinct can be carried through several generations is portrayed by the Clarke family in this community. This family's connection with the community life of Custer County started way back in 1882, when R. R. Clarke purchased transportation in Liverpool, England, for himself, his wife and his three and a half year old son, which brought them direct from the British Isles to Miles City, Montana. Mr. Clarke was a brick mason, stone mason and plasterer by trade, having learned this trade through a five year apprenticeship in England. He plied his trade in this community from 1882 until 1920. That "The Instinct of Workmanship" showed up in his work is evidenced by the fact that there are still chimneys standing in this town and plaster still clings to the walls that were the results of his labor in the early eighties. His residence here for that entire time was at 316 North Tenth Street.

W. B. Clarke was born in Miles City in 1885, receiving his entire schooling in the old First Ward or Washington School that stood on the site of the present Washington School. Graduating from high school in 1901, he started his career on Main Street in Miles City in June of that year and is still "on the street", having been active in business pursuits in our town for a period of over 55 years. He compiled his first abstract of title in 1906, and since that time, following his determination to make each succeeding abstract a better product than the last one, "The Instinct of Workmanship" again asserted itself when he achieved what no other abstracter west of the Mississippi ever accomplished--the winning of first place in a national abstract contest, and he has also been honored by the state title association by being elected to the highest office in that association for seven consecutive years. He has been engaged in the insurance business since 1907.

W. Boyce Clarke was born in Miles City in 1913 and received all the education here that was available at that time--even to a post graduate course at the Custer County High School for one year. After attending Colorado A. & M. at Fort Collins, he returned to Miles City and in 1937 started his insurance career. After seven years in the insurance business, he did his stint for Uncle Sam. Following his discharge from the service, he was employed by one of the leading fire insurance companies as a special agent, his territory being the entire state of Montana. In 1946, he again entered the local agency field here in Miles City and has continued it until the present time. "The Instinct of Workmanship" is evidenced in his career by the fact that he is recognized throughout the state as being one of the state's better insurance agents.

Thus you will see that the Clarke family has rendered constructive service in the Miles City area since 1882, and is still active in making "The Instinct of Workmanship one of Mankind's Most Praiseworthy Attributes".