SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 26, 2012

Clark remembered for his love of history, government

(Continued)

Morrison said Clark loved studying about American history and the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and he was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He had a keen interest in tracing his family’s genealogy.

“He basically found out all of our friends in town were 15th cousins,” said Mattson, who said her father’s computer program traces thousands of people as ancestors.

Morrison said it was fitting that Clark not only served as the Topsfield town moderator, but also as moderator of the iconic Congregational Church of Topsfield. It was from this type of church government that the open Town Meeting form of government grew. The post was another way Clark kept connected to the past.

In addition to serving on the Planning Board and being a selectman, one of his favorite positions in town was that of fence viewer, a Colonial-era position that mediated fence disputes among farmers. The fence viewer post linked Clark with the town’s early settlement days, Morrison said.

In recent years, Clark moved to Middleton, then moved back to town. As soon as he did so, Morrison moved to reappoint him to the vacant fence viewer position.

“We have been enriched by his spirit, his dedication, his thoughtful leadership, and his love of people and of community,” Morrison said.

A memorial service was held yesterday in the Congregational Church of Topsfield, the same church where he served as moderator.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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