Bio: Clarion A. Youmans (1847  - ?)

Contact: on Sat, 10 Feb 2001




----Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge

Clarion A. Youmans---Among the men who, in former days took a leading part in developing the agricultural and stock raising industries of Clark County was Clarion A. Youmans, once a resident of Neillsville and later of Grant Township. He was the son of Jonas Hamilton and Adeline (Sill) Youmans, and was born in Kenosha, Wis., Oct. 14, 1847. The father, Jonas H., was born in Coeymans, Albany County, N. Y., June 17, 1817, and when about a year old was taken to Genessee County, that state, where he got his education.

There, on June 8, 1842, he was married to Adeline Sill, and in the following year they moved to Buffalo, N. Y., where Jonas worked at the carpenter's trade. In 1845 he came with his family to Wisconsin, locating first in Kenosha, which was then known as Southport. There they resided until 1852, in which year they removed to Columbia County, this state, settling at Empire Prairie, that locality being now the town of Arlington. There Jonas followed his trade and also engaged in farming. In 1872 he and his family made another removal, this time to Brown County, where they remained ten years, coming to Neillsville, Clark County in 1882. Jonas H. Youmans died, Oct. 15, 1899.

He and his wife had four children: Harlow J., now of Platteville; Clarion, subject of this sketch; Ada, now Mrs. George Bosworth, of Rice Lake, Wis., and Mattie, now deceased, who was the wife of James A. Kimball. Clarion A. Youmans, who had but a limited education, resided in Kenosha until his school days were over, working on a farm during the summers. At the age of 17 years he went to Poynette, and worked in the store of an uncle, remaining there until 1870, when he came to Neillsville, being now 23 years old. Here he went to work for George Farnum, who kept a dry goods and grocery store, and in whose employ he remained as clerk until 1875. Mr. Youmans then began the study of law at Wisconsin University, where he remained one year, subsequently returning to Neillsville. Here he entered into partnership with M. C. Ring, and was thereafter engaged in law practice, at first with Mr. Ring and afterwards alone. While associated with Mr. Ring he became interested in the lumber business to which he finally gave more attention than he did to his law practice. He soon began to see the great agricultural possibilities of Clark County, and in 1884 he purchased a farm on Pleasant Ridge, consisting of 400 acres, of which about 200 were cleared. There was also a fourteen-room house on the place. He now gave his attention of general farming, improving his place and raising cattle and horses. His first cattle were short horns, he being one of the first to keep that breed. On this farm he later had one of the finest herds of registered Holstein cattle in the county, which, about 1889, he imported from New York State, and which were among the first in Clark County. Subsequently, however, he disposed of them and gave his chief attention to the breeding of horses, bringing into the county one of the first registered English stallions ever seen here. In this branch of industry Mr. Youmans was particularly successful and the results of his work in this direction are still evident in the county. He also had a large flock of Shropshire sheep, in which he took great pride.

In association with George Austin he was the promoter and organizer of the first creamery in Clark County, and northern Wisconsin, which was located on the Austin farm east of Neillsville, and which was the beginning of an industry that has since grown to large proportions and has greatly added to the wealth of the county. Mr. Youmans was also interested in Florida pine lands, as well as in the logging industry of Clark County, and for some years was president of the Clark County Bank. He was also at different times elected to public office, serving as clerk of the school board for many years, as district attorney for two years, also as county judge, and as a member of the Wisconsin State Senate, to which he was electedin 1894, serving, two terms. He was also a member of the Judiciary Committee of the State. In politics he was a staunch Republican.

After a residence of eight years on the farm, he and his family returned to Neillsville, where they had formerly resided for seven years after his marriage, and here his death occurred, July 9, 1906. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 163, at Neillsville, and of the Commandery at Eau Claire. Clarion A. Youmans was married, at Neillsville, Jan. 10, 1877, to Nettie French, whose father, B. F. French, was a lawyer in Neillsville. Mr. French had removed from Saratoga County, N. Y., to Iowa, and from there came to Neillsville, when only 19 years old, and took a homestead of 160 acres in Levis Township. The tract consisted of wild land and he had built a log house and barn and begun pioneer farming with a yoke of oxen. He also engaged in logging on his own account. After living as a bachelor for two years he married Elizabeth R. Brown, who was born in Adrian, Mich. Three children: Nettie, Elva and one who died young, were born to them on the farm. Subsequently, after he had proceeded for some time with his improvements. Mr. French built a frame house of three rooms and a frame barn, and in time he cleared most of the land, staying on the farm until 1864. In the meanwhile he engaged in the study of law, borrowing books for that purpose from his brother at La Crosse, and when sufficiently qualified, he began law practice at Neillsville. He also continued farming and lumbering and, in addition, engaged in the practice of medicine.

In 1854 he was elected county treasurer of Clark County, being the first incumbent of that office. Two years later he was elected district attorney and served as such until 1866. He died at Neillsville, Feb. 11, 1888. During his residence in that place four more children were born to him: Viola, Irene, Edwin and Dr., J. R. French, now of Los Angeles, Cal. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Youmans were: Guy C., a separate mention of whom appears in this volume; Viola F., who is unmarried, and Beth, who married Capt. C. L. Sturdevant, of Pittsburgh, Pa. She has one child, named Elizabeth.



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