William Clark's parents were among the millions of
Europeans to immigrate to the U.S. in the 19th Century. In 1820, the
total U.S. population was about 9 or 10 million people. By 1900, the
population grew to 76 million. A very large part of this was due to immigration.
Between 1820 and 1880, approximately 3 million Germans, 2.8 million Irish,
2 million British and 1 million AustroHungarians came to this country.
They were largely fleeing poor living conditions in their own countries.
The peak years in this time period were around 1850, and it seems that
it is this "wave" that brought about half of our family to
Another wave peaking around 1900 brought about twice
as many immigrants.
Clark was born in Brooklyn, NY, probably around 1860. His father, George
Clark, was born in Glasgow, Scotland and his mother, Mary Jane Hale,
was born in Manchester, England, according to baby book records. We do
not know if William had any siblings. We do not know why his parents
moved to the United States, or what occupations they had.
He married Catherine Lyle McMullen and they had
three children: Mabel, Marguerite and William. William never
married and lived in the New York City area all his life. Mabel married
Royal Washington Altreuter. We have no record of what happened to Marguerite.
In the last photo we have of her she appears to be about 20 years old.
William's marriage to Catherine may have been a
problem for both their families. From his parents' origins, it is likely
that his family was Protestant. Catherine's parents were from Northern
Ireland and likely Catholic. Her parents left Ireland around the
time of the potato famine, and resentment for the British was high amongst