Biography of Dr. Wallace Clarke
Oneida County, NY Biographies





Wallace Clarke, A. M., M. D. C. M., of Utica was born in Montreal, Canada, May 30, 1849, the son of William Roxborough Clarke, of that city who was the son of Thomas and Janet Roxborough Clarke of Kilmarnock, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1820, to go into business with his uncle William Roxborough of Quebec, one of the first importers and wholesale merchants in Canada. After graduating from the Montreal high school, Wallace Clarke entered McGill University in Montreal, at the age of sixteen years and, during his six years in that institution of learning, achieved a record in scholarship never before attained by any student of McGill. Not only did he complete the eight years' work, required for the B. A. and M D degrees, in six years, but while doing the double work received the second year's honor prize in English and the Shakespeare Gold Medal, the most sought after prize in the college, graduated with high honors from the medical school and was captain of the university cricket team. He received his B. A. degree, in 1869, and the M. D. C. M. and L. R. C. P. S., in 1871, and the M. A., in 1873. During the latter part of his medical course he was personal assistant to the eminent Canadian surgeon, Doctor William Hingston, upon whom later on was bestowed a Knighthood by the king of England. After graduation from the Medical School Dr. Clarke began the practice of medicine in Marquette, Michigan, where he rapidly built up a flourishing practice. While in Marquette he met Miss Sarah Elizabeth Scoville, the stepdaughter of Mr. Thomas H. Wood, of Utica and granddaughter of Mr. Stalham Williams, one of the pioneers of Utica, whom he married in this city, November 30, 1875. In 1875 Dr. Clarke settled in Utica, where he soon became one of the leading physicians of the city. He was one of the attending physicians to Faxton and St. Luke's Hospitals and the Utica Orphan Asylum and, after an extended period of postgraduate work in Europe, in 1889, in which he made a special study of the diseases of the eye, ear, throat and nose, he was appointed attending ophthalmologist to the Utica State Hospital. Dr. Clarke was for several years the only attending physician to the Utica Dispensary; was the founder of the Utica Medical Library Association, and was actively associated with Dr. Hutchinson in the development of St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Deeply interested in out of door sports Dr. Clarke organized the very successful Utica Toboggan Club, of which he was elected president, the Utica Cricket Club, of which he was for many years captain and the Utica Lacrosse Club. He was a charter member of the Fort Schuyler Club. In 1892 he was appointed chairman of the civil service commission, and in 1897 was made health officer of Utica, which position he held until 1900. In 1903 on the appearance of smallpox in the city Dr. Clarke, against his will, consented again to assume the duties of the health officership and he held this office until 1907. Immediately after the assumption of his office, in 1897, Dr. Clarke inaugurated a campaign of hygienic reform, which not only resulted in making Utica one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in the country, but attracted to it the attention of samtarians of the whole country as is described in the chapter on the Medical Profession, in volume I, of this history. In 1902 Dr. Clarke was appointed smallpox expert of the New York state board of health thus becoming one of the two physicians in the state to constitute the final court of appeal in all questions of the diagnosis, care and quarantining of cases of smallpox. It was largely due to his labors during the epidemic of smallpox in 1903, when every city in the state was in the grip of the disease, that Utica and the surrounding towns escaped with so few cases. Dr. Clarke was at one time vice president of the Oneida County Medical Society, and is a member of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association. He has had two sons Wallace Roxborough Clarke, who died at the age of eight years and Dr. Thomas Wood Clarke of Utica.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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