JOHN W. CLACK. In reviewing the life of Mr. Clack one would readily believe that he had never known any other home than the west, so thoroughly is he imbued with the spirit of the native westerner, but the truth of the matter is that he did not set foot on its soil until he had reached his twenty-fifth year. It was in Barren county, Ky., that he first saw the light of day, and May 24, 1831, was the date thereof. Until about fourteen years of age he remained at home with his parents, doing whatever he could to assist in the work on the plantation, and also attending school as opportunity offered. At this early age, however, his independent spirit asserted itself and he determined to start out and earn his own living, which he did by working on plantations in the vicinity of his home and also by clerking in a store.
When eighteen years of age Mr. Clack went to Jackson county, Mo., where at first he worked for others by the month, but finally he was enabled to purchase land of his own and this he at once began to clear and improve. It was while a resident of that county that he met Miss Sela J. Lewis, a native of Ray county, Mo., and in 1852 they were united in marriage. At the time of his marriage Mr. Clack was not burdened with an over abundance of wealth, $40 being the extent of his moneyed possessions, but he had what was of more real value to him - a will to forge ahead, no matter what obstacles might interfere, and the help and sympathy of his wife. They began housekeeping on the farm in Jackson county, and this continued to be their home until 1856 when the farm was sold and with the proceeds, in May, the young people started across the plains, taking with them sixty head of cattle. It was in October that they reached their destination, which was Healdsburg, Cal., and here they have since resided, never having regretted their choice of a location. Mr. Clack soon after his arrival here purchased a half interest in a livery stable, and for eight years he conducted a livery business. About this time he was elected marshal of the town, holding the office for four terms, and so well pleased were his fellow-citizens with his method of handling public affairs that they continued him in public office, next as deputy county assessor, then school assessor, and finally as deputy. sheriff, holding the latter position two Years. Once again retiring to private life he became interested in the management of a store and also ran an auction store for a time. As time went on he carefully saved his earnings and was enabled to show a bank account many times the size of the $40 with which he started out in 1852. About 1876 he purchased the Sotoyoma hotel, paying for the same $15,000, and after running it for about six years disposed of the property and has since lived retired.
In national affairs Mr. Clack is a Democrat, but in local matters votes for the man who in his judgment is best fitted to fill the office. Mr. and Mrs. Clack have had no children of their own; but they have opened their hearts and home to two children whose mother died when they were infants, and in their foster-parents they have found all the love and attention it would have been possible for natural parents to bestow. Mr. Clack can look back upon his past efforts in life with satisfaction, for from practically nothing he has risen to an independent position, free from care from a monetary point of view, at least. As an evidence of his faith in the future growth of Healdsburg he has invested in real estate to a considerable extent and now owns three residences from which substantial rents accrue.
To speak of the success that has come to Mr. Clack and make no mention of his wife would be an injustice, for to her he gives credit for a large share of the success that has attended his efforts. Not only in her own home has she been a source of help and comfort, but in the homes within a wide radius of Healdsburg she is known as an efficient nurse and the dispenser of loving attention and good cheer to those in trouble or affliction. Both Mr. and Mrs. Clack are held in the highest esteem throughout Sonoma county, which was especially evidenced at their golden wedding anniversary, April 8, 1902.