Biography of Louis G. Clarke
Oregon Biographies





The family of which Louis Gaylord Clarke is a representative has ever been characterized by a marked devotion to duty which has been manifest under changing conditions in many tangible forms, resulting to the benefit and upbuilding of community, commonwealth and country. This quality has found expression in Louis G. Clarke in the high ideals he has ever maintained in connection with the drug trade, of which he is one of the most prominent representatives on the Pacific coast, being president of the Clarke, Woodward Drug Company of Portland. It has been said that fully to understand any individual one must know something concerning his ancestry, and in tracing back the lineage of him whose name introduces this review, it is not surprising to learn that he is a descendant of Abraham Clarke, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who was a native of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, born February 15, 1726. He was the only child of Thomas Clarke. He acquired a good English education and was particularly interested in the study of mathematics and civil law. Although reared to farm life the labors of the fields were too arduous for his constitution and he turned his attention to surveying and also became well known as "the poor man's counselor," for his legal advice was continuously sought and given gratuitously. His reading and study covered a wide range and in the momentous times which preceded the Revolutionary war he was a close student of the vital questions and problems which confronted the colonists and became a recognized leader of public thought and opinion in his native state. The significance of the trend of events did not escape him, and while his judgment was never hastily formed he did not hesitate to express his honest convictions. His fellow townsmen, appreciative of his public spirit and fidelity to duty, elected him to fill various offices in the community in which he lived and they looked to him for advice and counsel concerning many of the issues which at that period were engaging public attention. As the trouble between the colonies and the mother country approached a focus he was appointed one of the committee of public safety and later was elected by the provincial congress a delegate to the continental congress, being conspicuous among his colleagues from New Jersey in that great body. A few days after he had taken his seat for the first time as a member of congress he was called upon to vote for or against the proclamation of independence. He was at no loss on which side to throw his influence, for his patriotism was of the purest character and personal interests in no wise colored his decision, although he knew full well that fortune and individual safety were at stake. His name was affixed to the Declaration of Independence and his vote cast for the dissolution of the ties that bound the colonies to England. Moreover, he stood stanchly by the struggling republic through all the period which tried men's souls - the period when patriotism was pitted against hardships, privations and danger. In 1787 Abraham Clarke was elected a member of the general convention which framed the constitution but in consequence of ill health was unable to participate in the deliberations of that body. Later he was elected a representative to the second congress of the United States, held under the federal constitution, and continued a member thereof until a short time prior to his death. On the adjournment of congress in June, 1794, he finally retired from public life and in the autumn of the same year suffered a sunstroke which terminated his life, he being then in his sixty ninth year. His remains were laid to rest in the churchyard at Rahway, New Jersey, where a marble slab marks his last resting place, upon which is found the following inscription: "Firm and decided as a patriot, zealous and faithful as a friend to the public, he loved his country and adhered to her cause in the darkest hours of her struggles against oppression."

Three sons of Abraham Clarke also served their country as active soldiers in the Revolutionary war, the record being attested by the adjutant general of the state of New Jersey. Noah Clarke served as a private in Captain Christopher Marsh's Troop of Light Horse of the Essex County (New Jersey) Militia. Thomas Clarke was commissioned a first lieutenant in Captain Frederick Frelinghuysen's Eastern Company of Artillery, New Jersey State Troops, March 1, 1776. He was promoted captain lieutenant of the same company and was commissioned captain thereof on the 8th of January, 1778, so serving until the end of the war. William Clarke served as sergeant in Captain Daniel Neil's Eastern Company of Artillery, New Jersey State Troops, enlisting March 7, 1776. He was wounded at Short Hills, New Jersey, June 26, 1777, and was honorably discharged January 17, 1778. In all this period in which his sons were serving in the army, the father, Abraham Clarke, never utilized his influence in their behalf, notwithstanding the fact that their sufferings were in the extreme. it was only on one occasion that Mr. Clarke invoked the aid of congress. This was when his son, Captain Clarke, was captured and cast into a dungeon, where he received no other food than that which was conveyed to him by his fellow prisoners through a keyhole. On a representation of these facts to congress, that body immediately directed a course of retaliation in respect to a British officer. This had the desired effect and Captain Clarke's condition as a prisoner of war was improved.

Such is the ancestral record of the family of which Louis Gaylord Clarke is a representative. Born in Zanesville, Ohio, July 31, 1855, he attended the public schools of his native city while spending his youthful days in the home of his parents, Levi and Mary Ellen Clarke, and after completing his high school course became a student in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, of which he is an alumnus of the class of 1876. His identification with Portland dates from 1876. Early in his business career he had been employed as general assistant in the office of the Pacific Christian Advocate and he became identified with the drug business of Portland when appointed head clerk in the establishment of Charles H. Woodward, then a leading druggist of this city. Somewhat later he was admitted to a partnership under the firm style of Woodward, Clarke & Company, the retail branch of the business being thus conducted. At a later period the Clarke, Woodward Drug Company was organized as manufacturing chemists and wholesale druggists, with Mr. Clarke as the president and manager. The business has been developed along most progressive lines and also with remarkable loyalty to the drug trade, which excludes the sale of goods to cut rate stores and all mail order business. It has ever been their plan to assist retail druggists in every way and today their business covers Oregon, Washington, northern California, Idaho and Montana, and their manufactured specialties are also sold upon the Atlantic coast. The Clarke, Woodward Drug Company manufactures more than three hundred specialties, many of which are put out under the name of the Hoyt Chemical Company, and in addition it handles the stock products of the drug trade and is represented on the road by a number of traveling salesmen. The partners in the undertaking have surrounded themselves with a corps of able assistants, all being expert men in their respective lines, and the business is conducted in accordance with the highest commercial standards and ethics. In fact the house is today known throughout the Pacific coast country and to a large extent in the east. Mr. Clarke has long been regarded as one of the foremost representatives of the drug trade west of the Rockies. He became one of the organizers of the Oregon State Pharmaceutical Association, which later called him to the presidency, and he was made a member of the first state board of pharmacy through appointment of Governor Pennoyer and was elected its first president. He has ever advocated the highest standard and the most stringent demands for service to the public in the drug trade and absolute freedom from all drug adulterations, and the name of the house which he represents has come to be recognized as a synonym for business honor and integrity wherever known. Mr. Clarke has not confined his efforts solely to the manufacturing and wholesale drug trade, important and extensive as is his business in this connection, for he is now the second vice president of the Oregon Life Insurance Company and treasurer of the Pacific States Fire Insurance Company, both well known and important corporate interests.

Mr. Clarke is most happily situated in his home life, which had its inception on the 14th of October, 1891, in his marriage to Miss Elizabeth L. Church, a daughter of Stephen L. Church, one of the pioneer steamboat men of the west and the secretary of the People's Transportation Company, which operated a line of steamboats on both the Willamette and Columbia rivers in opposition to the first transportation monopoly of the Pacific northwest, the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, and rendered a great service to the people in reducing the cost of transportation and opening up new rezions to settlement. Mr. Church was one of the largest stockholders as well as the secretary of the company and his name is inseparably interwoven with the history of Portland and the upbuilding of this section of the state, for he was at all times a public spirited man and labored untiringly to promote the general welfare.

In 1886 Mr. Clarke became identified with military interests as hospital steward of the First Regiment of the Oregon National Guard, thus serving for three years. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and under the mayoralty of Joseph Simon he served as police commissioner. He is a very prominent representative of Masonic interests and has held many offices, serving as master of Portland Lodge, No. 55, A. F. & A. M.; eminent commander of Oregon Commandery No. 1, K. T., and Grand Commander of Knights Templars of Oregon in 1916; master of Kadosh Oregon Consistory, No. 1, A. & A. S. R.; and potentate of Al Kader Temple of the Mystic Shrine. On the 27th of January, 1894, the honorary thirty third degree was conferred upon him in recognition of valuable service rendered to Masonry in Oregon. He maintains keen interest and helpfulness in public affairs as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and is also identified with the Rotary Club. His appreciation of the social amenities of life is manifest in his connection with the Waverly Country Club and in the warm friendships which are accorded him wherever he is known. His life has ever been characterized by constructive measures, manifest in the upbuilding of important and mammoth business interests, in his efforts for the upbuilding of his city and state and in his support of all those civic interests which promote the public good. The same spirit which dominated his ancestors in the Revolutionary war is under present day conditions manifest in his relations to the public, while thoroughness and reliability in all that he has undertaken have been dominant factors in his career.

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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