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Hon. Joseph J. Clark, M. D. For several generations there has been a tradition among physicians that the average doctor is a poor collector and the story cites the example of a village doctor who always, if possible, avoided meeting a debtor for fear that latter might feel the doctor was going to “dun” him. This tradition is mentioned only to point the contrast to the case of Dr. Joseph Clark, who was one of the first physicians and surgeons to establish a practice at the new Town of Milburn and who among many other activities is now a member of the Oklahoma State Legislature. While Doctor Clark does not classify with the type of doctor just mentioned, neither is he a gruff, obtrusive, exacting fellow who scares money out of his clients. Early in his professional career he provided facilities for taking care of calves, pigs and other livestock which he might take on debts, and the result is interesting in that his accumulations of livestock instead of coin of the realm almost drove him involuntarily from his profession into the livestock business. Near Milburn he operates a ranch of 5,000 acres, growing fine breeds of livestock. The two lines of activity have kept him pretty busy, but he found time in 1914 to be elected to the State Legislature and time the following year to devote four months to legislative duties at the capital.
A Kentuckian by birth, Doctor Clark was born in Crittenden County, December 17, 1874, a son of Dr. J. R. and Nannie (Johnson) Clark. In the several generations of the family there has been a large number of physicians. His father was for many years one of the leading doctors of Kentucky and served one or more terms in the State Legislature. His mother, who is a native of Tennessee and is still living in Kentucky, is descended from patriots of colonial and revolutionary periods. She had the distinction of having two sons elected to the Legislature from two different states at the same time, J. J. Clark, from Oklahoma, and W. H. Clark, from Sheridan County, Kansas, who had been serving two terms as prosecuting attorney as a democrat from a republican county.
The literary education of Doctor Clark was obtained from the common schools of Kentucky and from the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Lexington in that state. In March, 1896, he graduated from the medical department of .the University of Louisville, and several years later, in 1901, he took post-graduate work in the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis. His practice began at Marion, Kentucky in 1896, and while living there he was surgeon for the Illinois Central Railroad, and also served on the state and county boards of health. In 1901, owing to failing health, he removed to St. Louis, lived there several months, and then returned to Marion, Kentucky, which city he left for the Indian Territory in 1903. He located at Milburn which had been founded only a few months previously, and in connection with his early practice conducted a drug store, and as already related began the foundation of his present extensive ranch interests.
While a physician of the ability and popularity of Doctor Clark has abundance of employment in his profession, he has shown his versatility in his active relations with many local movements and with politics. Ho served as the first chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee after statehood, and for eight years has been a member of that committee. He has been a member of the Milburn City Council, city physician, and during the administration of State Health Commissioner Dr. J. C. Mohr was county health commissioner.
On entering the halls of the Legislature at Oklahoma City, Doctor Clark was appointed chairman of the Committee on Public Health, Pure Food and Drugs, and was the author of several measures relating to public health. He was a member of the committees on Public Roads and Highways, Elections, Practice of Medicine, and Initiative and Referendum. Some of his important accomplishments were in securing an adequate appropriation for the Murray School of Agriculture, which is located in his home county, and he also assisted to secure appropriations for the Central State Normal School at Edmond, of which his brother-in-law, Dr. Charles Evans, is president. In 1912 Doctor Clark was named by Governor Leo Cruce, his old neighbor back in Kentucky, as a member of the board of commissioners to the Southern Congress on Tuberculosis at Waco, Texas.
In 1896 at Marion, Kentucky, Doctor Clark married Miss Frances B. Blue, who is a woman of thorough culture and of a prominent Kentucky family. She was educated in the public schools of Marion and in St. Louis. Her father, Hon. John W. Blue, was for many years one of the most prominent lawyers in Kentucky, and served in the State Legislature. He was born in Union County, Kentucky, graduated from Princeton College, and his own attainments have been continued by members of his family. Mrs. Clark’s brother, John Blue, a prominent lawyer and a graduate of the Louisville Law School, was the first mayor of Marion, has held the position of judge in his county, is president of the Bank of Marion, three times has attended as a delegate the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and was once delegate to the Pan-American Assembly of that denomination. One of Mrs. Clark’s sisters is Mrs. Charles Evans, wife of the president of the Central State Normal School at Edmond; another is Mrs. E. B. Krausse, wife of a St. Louis manufacturer; and still another is Miss Nora Blue of St. Louis.
Doctor and Mrs. Clark have four children: John Kenneth, aged fifteen; Johnson Blue, aged twelve; Joseph Stanley, aged nine; and Francis Marion, aged five. Doctor Clark is a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Presbyterian Church, the Milburn Good Roads Club, and belongs to the county and state medical societies.