Studio portrait of a Victorian young woman

Portrait of Elizabeth Johnson Clark, c. 1881. (Gift of Wilbur and Robin Grant, The Wilbur and Robin Grant Collection)

January 23, 1881 – John L. Clark and Elizabeth “Lizzie” J. Johnson were married at Russian Gulch by Reverend Thomas Kirkland. Lizzie was born in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1863, the daughter of Laughlin and Margaret Elliot Johnson. The Johnson family moved to Mendocino when she was just a young girl.

John was born in Ellsworth, Maine in 1853. After arriving in California in 1875, he sailed coastal vessels for a year, before settling in Mendocino, where he went to work in the woods. In 1879, he partnered with Joshua Grindle, guiding log rafts from the boom to the mill. They used a double-ender rowboat for their work and would transport passengers or freight on their return trip upriver for a fee.

Studio portrait of a mustached Victorian man in a suit

Portrait of John Luther Clark, c. 1881. (Gift of Wilbur and Robin Grant, The Wilbur and Robin Grant Collection)

John and Lizzie had 2 daughters, Ivy and Estelle. Ivy married Wilbur Grant, an oil and mining engineer and spent her married life in San Francisco. Estelle became a nurse and married Dr. Russell Preston, Mendocino’s beloved physician.

John took an active interest in the community. He was a member of the board of school trustees for many years and a director of the Mendocino Discount Bank. He was also a member of the Mendocino Masonic Lodge.

After working on the river for 20 years, John returned to the sea. He accepted a position as purser on the steamer Point Arena, and later, he became co-owner of the barkentine Portland. He was made captain of this vessel, and in 1902, the Clark family moved to San Francisco. The Portland engaged in the lumber-carrying trade until 1906 when she wrecked in a dense fog on the Southern California coast. John drowned a few months later while attempting to go ashore in a small boat from the wrecked steamer, Shasta, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Lizzie died at the home of her daughter, Ivy Clark Grant, in San Francisco in 1931. She was buried in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.

On display until January 31! See the elaborate gown worn by Jennie Blair in 1887 when she was presented at the Court of Saint James in England. Museum hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm. The Museum is located at 45007 Albion Street in Mendocino.