The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., April 6, 1916, page 1

Mr. Clark Arrived Here In 1877
Grasshoppers Drove Him From Dakotas, Where Country Was Named For Him - Prominent Oregonian

     Married at North Freedom, Wis., on October 17, 1860, Mr. and Mrs. Newton Clark, of this city, have trodden the pathway of life's long journey together longer than the most couples of Oregon. Yet few men or women who have not yet reached the three score and ten mark are more active or vigorous than this sturdy couple, a typical product of the frontier and pioneer life. With all faculties alert and hale and hearty both are enjoying their old age. Both are possessed of an optimism and enthusiasm that youth might envy.
     Mr. Clark was born in Illinois, May 27, 1838. His wife is a native of Scotland. The former moved with his parents to Wisconsin, where he resided until 1870, when he and his wife moved to the Territory of Dakota, where he took up a homestead two miles from the present city of Sioux Falls. He built the first frame house erected in Minnehaha county. Mr. Clark, always a staunch Republican of the Abraham Lincoln school, has participated in policies prominently both in South Dakota and Oregon. He was a member of the legislative assembly of the former state, and introduced the bill defining the boundaries of the Minnehaha county as they at present exist.
     A graduate of Point Bluff Institute, Mr. Clark is a skilled civil engineer, and much government land has been surveyed by him. He laid out the sections and townships of much public land in the Territory of Dakota. Clark county, South Dakota, bears his name. From 1878 to 1886 he fulfilled contracts made with the government and surveyed hundreds of acres of the public lands of the rugged sections of the northwest. His crews of men laid out the section lines of land in the southern part of this county, and timber cruisers today find the marks made by him on trees in the forest reservation more than 30 years ago. No man has ever taken a greater interest in the exploration of the scenic mountain districts of the mid-Columbia. He was a pioneer in ascents of Mount Hood, and one of the mighty glaciers of that peak bears the name of Newton Clark. Even today he takes pleasure in jaunts over the great wilds of Oregon, both here and at Lake Lytle on the coast, where he and Mrs. Clark spend their summers at a cottage he has built.
     Destiny in the form of a surge of grasshoppers sent Mr. Clark and his family to Oregon.
     "I tried farming on my homestead in Dakota," he says, "but after two years of successful crops of grasshoppers, I became a disgusted with that form of agriculture and struck for Oregon, driving a team overland."
     Mr. Clark arrived here the first week of September, 1877, and his worldly wealth in addition to the outfit consisted of the sum of $1.50 in money.
     "We found the Hood River valley as nature had designed it and habited by a handful of the pioneers, none of them wealthy enough to look with scorn on their nearest neighbors miles away. The salubrity of the climate, its freedom from storms of wind and lightning of summer and its frigid blizzards of winter as compared with the Dakotas, all delighted us. And best of all, there were no grasshoppers to eat the fruit of hard labor before they were harvested. I cheerfully invested my fortune of good health and my little of worldly wealth.
    "The money went for the purchase of an axe -- an unfortunate investment; for it took many a hard day's work to wear it out. But had seen enough of pioneer life in the middle west to know that industry and economy would thrive upon hard times.
     "There was no such thing as organized industry in the valley at that time. No one wanted a hired man; no one had money to pay for help. Literally, there was no money to be had. Cordwood, with The Dalles as a bank and a scow as the means of exchange, was the only circulating currency, and it took the grace of a west wind to cash a check. It can be seen that the way of the pioneer was indeed a hard one.
     "There was only one way out for me -- to take the first work that came to hand, whether there was money or not. And when that was finished to take the next job that offered. Any kind of a task was better than being idle. I learned that Henry Coe, a pioneer, had planned to be-roof his house, but that he had not secured his supply of shingles. I took the job of supplying him with his material, although up to that time I had never made a shingle nor had I ever seen as cedar tree.
     "So I started up in the mountains to see if enough timber could be found. A wagon trail had been made to the cedar swamp, the present location of Parker Town. Reaching the swamp I found Hudson and Phelps, two other pioneers, in search of shingle timber. With plenty of timber in sight I took the job of furnishing for them as well as Mr. Coe. That was the dawn of prosperity for me.
     "We all started back down the trail, the other two men to return to their homes, while I went back for my outfit and my family. As we walked down the steep mountainside single file, Indian fashion, I was in the vanguard. Suddenly two bear broke from the timber right in front of us. I dropped to the ground to allow Hudson, who had a gun, to take a shot at the animals. Seeing that he seemed excited, I whispered softly, "Shoot low!" The bear evidently heard my whisper. He stopped in the trail, not 75 feet distant, and look us over, evidently surprised at such a thing as a human being. Hudson fired, but whether his bullet sped in the direction of the bear no one ever knew. The front animal jumped away into the bushes, while the rear bear took to a big fir tree standing beside the trail.
     "I knew the bear would not remain up the tree without persuasion. I rushed to the foot of the tree and began to punch him with a long stick. But instead of going higher he began to go around the trunk and finally made a jump over my head before Hudson was prepared to shoot him. That was my introduction to the Hood River valley."
     Mr. Clark finished his work in the mountains and had enough funds leftover after paying his advance expenses to lay in his winter supply of provisions.
     "I purchased a cook stove on time from E.L. Smith, the valley's first merchant, who with a small stock of goods and large supply of confidence in his fellow man was doing the liberal thing by every species of impecuniosity that tried to make a home in the valley," says Mr. Clark. "There was no labor in demand and not a dollar in sight so I took a job of cutting cordwood, taking my pay in an irrigation ditch that has never been dug, except on paper. I had no land to irrigate, if the ditch had been dug, but it was doing something, and that was the main thing.
     "The next spring I succeeded in purchasing 160 acres of school land at $2.50 per acre. I considered myself a permanent fixture in Hood River."
     Mr. Clark still owns some of his original purchase.
     Mr. Clark became a member of the Masonic fraternity at Sioux Falls on April 25, 1874. He was a charter member of the A.O.U.W., the first fraternal organization established in Hood River. For 20 years he was grand recorder of the order, the longest official experience of any member of the organization.
     Mr. Clark is a past commander of the Department of Oregon, Grand Army of the Republic, and a prominent member of Canby Post, the local post of the Grand Army. As a private in Company K, Wisconsin 14th Volunteer Infantry, he served for more than four years during the civil war. He fought in 14 battles under General Grant and was in the Red River campaign under General Canby. He was participating in the siege of Mobile when peace was declared. Mr. Clark furnished the flag that was flown over the Vicksburg court house at the close of the war.
     Mr. and Mrs. Clark have two children, W.L. Clark, a prominent businessman of this city, and Mrs. W.H. Brazleton, of Portland.
     Mr. Clark concluded his interview by saying: "You might tell them that I am still taking my regular rations."

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer