Windham Life and Times – January 18, 2019

Windham and the Summit

Part 6– Conclusion

Mattie Clarke was one of those independent woman who grew up in Windham in the nineteenth century and flourished both locally and in the wider world. Woman like Mary Bradish Titcomb, Margaret Hughes Berry, Julia Baker and many others. Mattie Clark had a demanding career both on the Summit of Mount Washington and in Ormond, Florida. Any many very successful men trusted her and sought her out for her managerial skills. She used those skills and improvised a flourishing hotel in the rustic “Tip-Top House,” after the first Summit House burned in 1908. She was there again to manage the New Summit House when it opened in 1915.

Mattie Clark’s Gravestone on the Cemetery on the Plain, Windham NH.

Not only did Mattie Smith have and interesting career but she also invested her money well, no doubt gaining insight from the many leading businessmen she dealt with and served as guests. “She was on her way north from Ormond, Florida in 1933 when sickness overtook her while in the Buttonswood Beach section of  Warwick, Rhode Island and she died at 81.”

Tim Lewis in his research provided information regarding her will. “Clarke bequeathed her farm in Windham; a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee Cottage;” stock from American Telephone and Telegraph, Swift and Co., Libby; Liberty Loan Bonds; Over $11-thousand dollars to friends; a thousand dollars to both the Ormond Union Church and the Colored Library of  Ormond, the latter to be invested to provide money for purchasing books. Two thousand dollars to the Windham Cemetery to be invested for perpetual care of the family plot. The Windham Library, Presbyterian Church, the New Hampshire Orphans Home in Franklin, the White Orphans Asylum in Jacksonville, Florida and the Nashua Protestant Home for Aged Women all received money from Miss Clarke.”

A path in Santa Lucia Plantation, Ormond Beach, where Mattie Clarke owned her cottage.

 

Windham Life and Times – January 11, 2018

WINDHAM AND THE SUMMIT

The Armstrong Homestead on Londonderry Road, was adjacent to the Clarke Farm.

 

Eugene Armstrong

Eugene Armstrong was I believe, a cousin of  Mattie Clarke, her mother being Deborah Armstrong. The Armstrong and the Clarke families lived on adjoining farms on Londonderry Road, in Windham. You may notice that I have changed the spelling of Clarke by adding an “e” to the end as carved on the family gravestone, not as spelled in Morrison’s History of Windham which eliminated the “e.”

Eugene Armstrong owned the store at Windham Depot for a number of years. In an Exeter Newsletter column written by William Harris . October 1, 1915, it says, “Eugene C. True of Derry, has bought of Eugene W. Armstrong the store, property and business at the Depot which the latter has conducted for a few years past. It is the stand formerly for a long period occupied by the late Edwin N. Stickney. Mr. True has been employed for some years in the furniture store of L.H. Pillsbury & Son, in Derry and is highly spoken of by those who know him.”

We also learn in The News-Letter, in November of 1912 that, “Fred S. Webster, Republican, was chosen representative by 60 votes to 41 for Eugene W. Armstrong, Democrat. Not known to me, was that Eugene Armstrong was also an engineer on the Cog Railway on Mount Washington. He was born in Windham on December 23, 1865. Tim “Jitney Jr.” Lewis says that he worked on Mount Washington from 1885 through 1908. “Eugene Armstrong is noted as a Mount Washington Railway engineer in 1907. ‘Engine No. 4 of the Mount Washington Railway, which has been in the shops at the Base for repairs, came up with freight on Saturday (August 17, 1907) for its trial trip and was put in regular service the same night, in charge of Engineer Armstrong.’ ” He was 12 years younger than his neighbor (cousin) Mattie Clarke. He worked twenty-four summers on the Mount Washington Railway and spent six winters working for Anderson and Price at the Ormond Hotel in Florida. He purchased the store in the Depot in 1910. He passed away on August 24, 1925 in Windham.

…Still looking for photographs of Mattie Clarke and Eugene Armstrong for Tim Lewis.

 

Windham Life and Times – January 4, 2018

Windham and the Summit

View of the Hotel Ormond, where Mattie Clark worked in Ormond Florida. Ormond Beach would become the winter home of John D. Rockefeller along with other noted residents.

Part 4—Mattie Clark and Ormond Florida

Mattie Clark’s employment at the Summit House on Mount Washington only lasted through the summer months. In the winter she was employed at to Hotel Ormond in Ormond Florida. Mattie Clark’s ties to Ormond, Florida, were through John Anderson. Anderson was of Scots-Irish descent as was Clark. Anderson’s family were pioneers in Wiscasset and later at Windham, Maine starting in the late 1600’s. John Anderson’s youth involved many adventures in and around the White Mountains…” “As mentioned earlier, John Anderson’s father (Samuel) was the organizer and leader of the movement resulting in the building of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad through the heart of the White Mountains. This was previously considered an incredible feat until accomplished by his father’s brother, John Farwell Anderson, Chief engineer (John’s uncle). General Samuel Anderson was president of this road up to the time of his death, in 1905.”

John Anderson was an early settler in Ormond, Florida where he owned and developed citrus plantations and later with his business partner Joseph Price, railroads and hotels. The connection with Mattie Clark must have begun with Anderson’s hotels and railroad in the White Mountains. “By this time, Anderson and Price had formed a partnership and were planning activities in New Hampshire during the summer season and in Florida during the winter months. The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad was nearing completion in 1875 through the Crawford notch. Consequently, several hotels in the area were being designed and built, or expanded to accommodate rapidly increasing tourism in the White Mountains. The tourist activity in the White Mountains continued and by the mid 1880’s certainly inspired Anderson and Price to look into the possibility of a North-South railroad through Volusia County, Florida, and consideration for a hotel to accommodate guests during Florida’s mild winter months. The caveat was that Anderson and Price would be almost guaranteed year-round patronage by owning and managing hotels in both the north and the south… The first section of “The Ormond” hotel was constructed in the summer of 1887. Eventually Henry Flagler would purchase the hotel.

Pier on the Halifax River.

Of course, Mattie Clark was a manager at this hotel. She also owned a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee” Cottage in the Santa Lucia Plantation. A brochure describes it this way; “Heavily laden with oranges and grapefruit, Santa Lucia Grove is in plain view from the veranda or front windows of the Hotel Ormond…The shell walk under the grape arbor upon the high river bank along the front of the orange grove an easy and most enjoyable stroll, particularly in the morning, when the red birds, mocking birds and blue jays are making merry a mong the orange trees, and in the dense foliage of the glossy green bays, and squirrels are chasing through the tops of oaks. The vine arbor is the scuppernong grape, the wine grape of Florida…On the walk you encircle the orange grove, passing when nearly back to the hotel, the luxurious log camp, ‘Coacooche’ pronounced Coa-coo-chee, the Indian name of the ‘Little Wild Cat,’ the great Seminole chief who lived, loved and made savage war along the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers.” At his death, John Anderson left Mattie Clark $500 in his will, stating that, “I give and bequeath to Miss Clark – Mattie A. Clark, of  Windham Depot, N. H. – to whose never-flagging interest and untiring efforts is due much of  the success I have had in my hotel business, $500, and I would also have sent to her the knitted afghan which she has made for me and in the possession of  which I have had much comfort and satisfaction.”  John Anderson, His Life and Times in Ormand Florida. Ronald  L. Howell.

 

Windham Life and Times – December 28, 2018

Windham and the Summit

Passengers arrive on the Cog Railway at the Summit House

Part 3 – Mattie Clark Remembered in Windham

In spite of spending most of her grown life travelling between Ormond Florida and the Summit of Mount Washington, Mattie Clark remained connected to Windham throughout her life. She grew up here on her  parents farm here and her exploits were written about by Will Harris in the Exeter Newsletter.

WINDHAM, August 25, 1899: “Miss Mattie A. Clark of this town holds the responsible position of manager and housekeeper of the Summit House on Mount Washington. Among the Clouds thus speaks of her in a recent issue: ‘Miss Mattie A. Clark, who first became connected with the Summit House in 1884, and who has so successfully managed it for several years past, is the manager this year, and that is saying quite enough to assure the Summit visitors of first class treatment. Both here and in Ormond Florida, where she is superintending housekeeper, Miss Clark has the most enviable reputation, and is known as one of the most capable woman hotel managers in the country.’ ”

October 11, 1900: “Miss Mattie A. Clark, the efficient manager of the Summit House on Mt Washington, is at home to remain until December, when she goes to Florida for the winter season at the Hotel Ormond where she is housekeeper.”

WINDHAM, April 21, 1903: “Mrs. Deborah E. Clark, 77 years of age, had a paralytic shock some days ago, and remains quite feeble. Her daughter, Miss Mattie B. Clark, well known as a hotel manager at the White Mountains and in Florida, came home from Florida as soon as the news of her mother’s illness reached her.”

July 8th, 1903 Clarke Funeral:

“For the first time in many years Miss Mattie A. Clarke has failed to be in attendance at the opening of  the Summit House to greet the visitors to whom she is so pleasantly known. After returning from Ormond, Fla., in the spring, Miss Clarke was detained at the bedside of  her mother, Mrs. Deborah Elizabeth Clarke, who after many weeks of  suffering died on Monday, July 6, aged 77 years. The funeral was held Wednesday at her late home at Windham Depot, N.H.  Mrs. Clarke was a bright and lovable woman, of  a most kind and motherly disposition. Besides Miss Clarke, her only other child was a son, who died in the Civil War. Her whole life was spent in Windham, and the family homestead was a welcome resting place for the daughter in the intervals between her summers on Mount Washington and her winters in Florida. Miss Clarke has the sympathy of her many friends, who hope in a few days to welcome her back to the Summit.” Among the Clouds

     Season Opening Notes: “The Mount Washington Railway, which sent its first train to the Summit this year the week of  June 15th, retains in its service nearly the entire personnel of  last season’s employees….An old guest at the Summit House will note but few changes here this season. The same homelike atmosphere pervades the whole establishment, and that the former excellence of  its service will be maintained this year is assured by the presence of  so many of  the heads of  departments of  long continued service. Miss Mattie A. Clarke, whose attention to visitors makes them to feel that they are personal guests, is still manager of  the house, with Mr. A. Frank Curtis as clerk. The cuisine will be prepared by Mr. A. J. Miller, the accomplished chef  of  1904, and Mrs. George Howland. Mrs. Myron Browley assists at the souvenir stand, Mr. Maurice J. Dineen is in charge of  the telegraph and post office, Mr. Park Horan of  the wine room, and Mr. Mark A. Davis of  Middlebury, Vt., fills the position of  head waiter, and James Powers, watchman. Nor should mention be omitted of  John Tice, bellman, who for several years has been an alert messenger upon the arrival of  each train…All in all, each and every details of  the hotel management has already received such careful attention that it is difficult to realize only a few days have intervened since the arrival of  the first train to the Summit, and that so much could be accomplished against such great odds of  location and climate.”

– Among the Clouds – Thu, Jul 13, 1905

 

Windham Life and Times – December 21, 2018

Windham and the Summit

A June Snowstorm Brings Christmas to the Summit. Among the Clouds, July 13, 1905.

Part 2 – June Christmas

Summit House Opens: “The formal opening of  every hotel is an important date in its calendar, and often the management endeavor to introduce some special attraction for the pleasure of  those guests first to arrive. Mount Washington – always zealous of  its individuality, this season outdid itself.”

“The Summit House was ‘opened,’ Monday, June 26th. The morning was rainy and dense clouds obscured the slightest vision of  the outside world. There was wisdom in this arrangement, for it was not the scenery but the completeness of  the hotel that was to be made manifest that day. The thermometer, which registered 46 in the morning, having heard a student waiter reciting “What is so rare as a day in June” was not forgetful of  its part of  the program and toward noon settled slowly to 38, and at 4 o’clock gave a decided novelty by sinking below the freezing point. Immediately the torrents of  rain became a driving snow storm, and throughout the night and Tuesday and until late Wednesday (6/29) Mount Washington was in the clutches of  a winter tempest, at time the roaring of  the wind and the beating of  ice and hail against the summit House was almost deafening. But within all was good cheer and comfort. “Dolly” the boiler was never more faithful, and steam whizzed through the pipes assuredly and without cessation, while the huge coal stores performed nobly the extra service required of  them. But those were days to be remembered, and the few guests who braved the mountain will not soon forget their experiences. After all, it is not the weather that decides the amount of  pleasure to be had in a visit to Mount Washington. ‘For the dissatisfied man all life is unsatisfactory, and for one that is contented the world is full of comforts, and for the cheerful man even the easterly wind is musical in the window crevices.’ ”

—Among the Clouds – Thu, Jul 13, 1905

“A June Christmas Tree: ‘On Wednesday evening, June 28th, the Summit House colony indulged in festivities unique in the history of  Mount Washington. The platforms that morning covered with snow and the whole cone of  the mountain glistening with frost work and ice suggested midwinter rather than a rare June day. Someone remarked that ‘it would be proper to observe Christmas.’ The idea was a popular one and immediately following breakfast preparations were continued throughout the day for an unusual festival. The manager of  the hotel, Miss Mattie A. Clarke, ordered a fir tree brought up from the Base, which through the kindness of  the Mount Pleasant House was later made attractive by many festoons of  pop corn. Then came the search for gifts. There were about thirty-five employees of  the Summit House and Mount Washington Railway to be remembered. Trunks, boxes, even coat pockets were divested of  their treasures and by nightfall the tree was overloaded with offerings. Nearly 150 presents were ready for distribution. What they may have lacked in value was made up in quantity. About 8 o’clock the parlor doors were opened. Mr. John Tice presided at the piano and a merry company was soon seated. Hardly had an exchange of  greetings been made when Mount Washington’s Santa Claus, Mr. Ed Colter, costumed in a style to make St. Nick himself  envious appeared on the scene to the  delight of  everyone save Leon (the Summit dog), whose association with the genial gentleman had heretofore been confined to an almanac interpretation of  seasons. Among the Clouds at this date not having commended an issue, one of  the staff  presented the initial number of  a possible evening addition for midwinter circulation “Among the Snow Flakes.” Next Santa ably assisted by Mark Lee, distributed the presents, a description of  which would be impossible. Then followed an excellent musical program, including solos by Mr. Chandler and Mr. Horan, and a chorus selected from the company. While the storm was furious, and together with the freezing temperature made all without wild and terrible, this little Summit House party – warm and comfortable, were living the sentiment of  Dr. Van Dyke ‘and best of  all along the way is friendship and mirth.’ ” —Among the Clouds July 13, 1905

Remember, we’re looking for a photograph of Mattie Clark for Tim Lewis. Does anyone know of one?

 

Windham Life and Times – December 14, 2018

Windham and the Summit

Mattie Clark Part 1

The “Old” Summit House that Mattie Clark from Windham, managed for many years.

Can you imagine a time when visitors could take the Cog Railway to the summit of Mount Washington, take in all the spectacular scenery and most extreme weather conditions, and enjoy it all while staying in well appointed accommodations there. Such was the world of the Summit House, a popular hotel that graced the summit of Mount Washington from 1873 until it was destroyed by fire in 1908.

For many years, a Windham native, was at the very center of this enterprise and was the popular manager of this well loved landmark. Miss Mattie Clark began working at the Summit House starting in 1884. Prior to that she had worked for the Profile House. When the hotel was destroyed the proprietors began providing accommodations in the rustic, stone, Tip-Top House, with Mattie Clark as manager. Finally, when the New Summit House was built in 1915 she again was put in charge. In the winter, she was employed by the Ormond Hotel in Florida, whose owner credited her with much of its success.

Miss Clark was a remarkable woman for the time; independent, and highly skilled, who died with a very sizable estate.  William Harris in the Exeter Newsletter of August 25, 1899 says, “Miss Mattie A. Clark of this town holds the responsible position of manager and housekeeper of the Summit House on Mount Washington. Among the Clouds thus speaks of her in a recent issue: ‘Miss Mattie A. Clark, who first became connected with the Summit House in 1884, and who has so successfully managed if for several years past, is the manager this year, and that is saying quite enough to assure the Summit visitors of first class treatment. Both here and in Ormand Florida, where she is superintending housekeeper, Miss Clark has made the most enviable reputation, and is known as one of the most capable woman hotel managers in the country.’ ”

My interest in Mattie Clark and Mount Washington was rekindled by Tim Lewis, who has done a remarkable job chronicling the exploits of the men and woman who worked on the Cog Railway, and on and around Mount Washington. He is doing additional research and he recently wrote me because he is looking for a photograph of Mattie Clark, so that he can put a face to the well known name. Much of what is presented here came from his incredibly in depth research.

“Putting a hotel on top of Mount Washington was no easy task. A casual observer would speak of  the Summit House as a three story wooden structure, with accommodations for one hundred and fifty guests. Were he of  an inquiring disposition he would learn that it is built in the most substantial manner possible, of  huge timbers bound by iron bolts, enabling it to withstand the fiercest storms of  winter, that the main building cost $56,599.57, not including freightage; that the lumber and materials, 250 train loads, used in its construction weighed 596 tons; that the thirty-three carpenters employed upon it, handicapped by storms, erected the frame and accomplished its ‘boarding in’ only after many delays – at one time able to work but one-half  day during a storm which lasted nine; that it was first opened to the public in 1873, and numerous other facts of  greater or lesser interest. It is said that transportation facilities are such that 10,000,000 people could breakfast at home and reach the White Mountains before retiring. To you one and all the Among the Clouds sends greetings, urging you to visit Mount Washington and learn for yourselves just what enthusiasm that writer felt who told of  a ‘warmest welcome in an inn.’ ”

Among the Clouds – Sat, Aug 13, 1904

Martha A. “Mattie” Clark was the middle child of  three born February 11, 1852 to Joseph S. and Deborah Armstrong Clark in Windham, New Hampshire. Mattie’s parents were Joseph-Scoby Clark and Deborah Elizabeth Armstrong the daughter of Joseph Armstrong. They lived on the Archibald farm in Windham. Mattie’s only sibling who lived to adulthood was a brother, Burnham who was born October 16, 1849 and who died fighting in the Civil War,  March 22, 1865.

Hopefully someone who reads this may have a photograph of Mattie Clark for Tim Lewis.