James Swales Clark 1812-1851
Born at Scarborough, Yorkshire, on the 28 December 1812,the son of James CLARK 1777-1863 and Susanna SWALES 1776-1831 who were married at Liverton on the 2 April 1798.
James was employed as a steward at 'Flowery Field' the residence of Cheshire merchant Thomas Ashton. In 1835 he married Elizabeth MCDONALD 1810-1899 from Largs, Scotland, the daughter of David MCDONALD 1781-1835 and Catherine YOUNG.(Catherine died at Black Creek,Branxton,NSW in 1844)
Elizabeth's brother Thomas McDonald, persuaded by family friend, the Rev. John DUNMORE LANG, had emigrated to Australia in 1831. James and Elizabeth with their children, Macdonald (b.1836), Susanna (b.1838), and James (b.1840), and Elizabeth's widowed mother, Catherine, left for Australia in 1842 on the 'Thomas Hughes'.
Arriving in Sydney in early 1843 the family went to the Hunter district; James worked for Helenus SCOTT at 'Glendon' and then later settled at Bulga, near Singleton.
The Clarks had four more children, Ashton (b.1844), Mary (b.1847), Harriet (b.1849) and Elizabeth, born in 1852 after her father's death the previous year. Of the Clark children, Mary died in 1857 and the others were married as follows : Macdonald to Susannah MCALPIN in 1863; Susanna to William T. SQUIRE in 1875; James to Mary DAWES in 1875; Harriet to John W. EATHER in 1872; Ashton to Sara EATHER in 1885; Elizabeth to Thomas S. COLLINS in 1879.
The Bulga farmers were plunged into sadness over the new year of 1852 when word reached them that their neighbour, James Swales CLARK of "Willow Farm", had been drowned on Christmas Eve in the river at Narromine. He had gone out there with his team of bullocks to load wool for transporting down to the coast. With him were his two eldest sons, McDonald and James Jnr. The news arrived in a letter from the station manager advising Elizabeth CLARK that her husband had drowned in the river and had been buried. When her sons returned she heard how James had gone swimming after lunch to help some of the station hands to learn to swim. He had appeared to dive but did not resurface and an aborigine who was a strong swimmer dived repeatedly and eventually found his body. They had buried him on Christmas Day on the bank of the river.James CLARK and his family had become popular members of the community in the three years that they had lived at "Willow Farm", and the community grieved with them in their sad loss. Six months later Elizabeth CLARK gave birth to another daughter and named her Elizabeth Catherine after her two grandmothers. James CLARK had wanted a daughter named after his own mother, so his wish was fulfilled. Elizabeth CLARK and her family continued to live on at "Willow Farm" in the years that followed.