CLARKSON W WEESNER
By H. G. Cutler
Since the death of Elijah Hackleman, January 16, 1901, there is no person living in Wabash County who has done
more to record and preserve its history than Clark W. Weesner. Had it not been for his forethought and persistent
efforts, there would have been no Lincoln Cabin in the city park to commemorate the grand mind and grander virtues
of the most rugged democrat and republican of history; the man closer to the hearts of his countrymen than any
who has lived before or after him. Here is a park with a purpose, a place for inspiration, as well as rest and
recreation; it is suggestive of Clark Weesner, the supervising editor of this history; and it is the general verdict
that no better selection could have been made.
It may be going too far to say that Mr. Weesner has taken more pride and pleasure as president of the Old Settlers'
Association than as mayor of Wabash, but the statement is quite safe that its interests have never been overshadowed
either in his heart or mind by those of any other institution. In the upbuilding of the society, as in all other
works to which he has put his hand, he has been patient, methodical, persistent, wise and affectionate.
Mr. Weesner's name indicates his German origin. It has been intimated by family historians that the name was derived
from the River Weser in the Fatherland, in whose valley the American ancestor was born. Michael Weesner, the great
great grandfather of Clarkson W., settled in North Carolina in Colonial times. Through Micajah and Michael the
family tree spread into Wayne and Henry counties, Indiana, and at length Jonathan Weesner, the father of Clark,
became a resident of Waltz Township, Wabash County. This was in 1844. Two years afterward his first wife (nee Ruth
Williams) died, the mother of five children, of whom the third was Clarkson W., who was born in Henry County, August
12, 1841. Both the oldest and the youngest sons were soldiers of the Civil war, the latter dying in the Union service,
and had it not been for a congenital lameness Clarkson W. would have gone to the front as promptly as they.
By his second wife, Jonathan Weesner had six children. The father of these two families, most of whom reached maturity,
was in many respects a remarkable man. The most vigorous period of his middle manhood and the earlier period of
his old age were passed in Waltz Township, where he cleared his heavily timbered land, opened up and cultivated
his farm, faithfully reared his families in the paths of honesty, industry and piety, read industriously, grasped
tenaciously and thought strongly. He was strong bodily and mentally, and possessed remarkable abilities as a mathematician
and mechanician. The last years of his life were passed at the county seat, at the home of his daughter, Elvira
Ridenour, until his death April 15, 1902, marked the demise of a man of strong purpose, rugged mentality, manly
accomplishments and true scientific convictions.
Clarkson W. Weesner inherited good and strong traits from both his parents. Early in youth he learned the value
of mental training coupled with ceaseless and straightforward work. As a pupil in the public schools, a country
teacher and a practical farmer he built up a solid and influential character which brought him into personal and
public favor. In 1863 he was appointed deputy treasurer of Wabash County under Elias Hubbard, not long afterward
commenced the study of law and in 1870 was admitted to the bar. Six years afterward he was chosen mayor, and his
administration was a credit to his training, his family name and the city.
In 1878 Mr. Weesner was elected clerk of the Circuit Court, which position he filled by reelection until 1887.
He has the honor of being the last clerk who has held office for two terms. His previous experience as deputy had
given him some ideas for improvements in methods, which he proceeded to put into practice. Among other innovations
which commended itself to bench and bar alike was a clear and complete index to judgments and other records, of
especial value to persons having occasion to examine the proceedings of the court and the records of the office.
Since retiring from the office of the clerk of the Circuit Court, Mr. Weesner has mainly devoted his professional
abilities to probate and abstract business, and there are few better authorities in the state on these subjects
than he. He is the examiner of abstracts in his locality for such companies as the Penn Mutual, Connecticut Mutual
and Aetna. Years ago, at the height of its usefulness, Mr. Weesner was secretary of the Wabash County Agricultural
Society, and was the organizer and secretary of the first building and loan association of Wabash County. His several
years of service as president of the Old Settlers' Association have added both to his responsibilities and influence.
Like his father, he has always been a wide yet careful reader, and as he has digested what he has read his mind
is well nourished and vigorous. Finally, his life is rounded out by marriage to a congenial companion, the birth
of children and a harmonious household. In 1865 he married Miss Anna E. Leeson, and of their four sons only one
has failed to reach a vigorous manhood. But providence thus gives us the weak to soften our hearts and strengthen
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