Chicken Farmer
BIIO- Pen Pictures

one of those who has done much to dvelop new industries, and thus demonstrate the great and varied capabilites of this region, is the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, a man of originality, enterprise, and push, who does not feel it incumbent upon him to follow in the old and worn grooves in which the first comers have moved so many years.  His ranch , of forty-seven acres, occupies a picturesque location,  distant from Mayfied about two and a half miles by the county road.  He has the most complete chicken farm on the Pacific Coast, while leghorns being his principal fancy, though he breeds simply for egg qualitites. His hatchery has a capacity of 5,000 eggs per month, while the brooding department has a capacity for turning out 4,500 chicks in one month.  This business is one which requires much experience and attention and a a slight difference in these respects means either a profit or loss of hundreds of dollars in a very short time. He has now brought this department of his business to such a state of perfection that it has become the source of a large and steady income.  He has five acres of orchard, and raises a variety of fruit for family use.  Another important feature of this place is the strawberry industry.  He has ten acres of land planted to this lucious fruit, and during the first year of the growth of the vines, raises onions between the rows.  Besides supplying the family table, he sold enought from this tract to average $800 per acre.  This fact alone demonstrates the ability in management, and the care and attention bestowed.  For irrigating purposes he has a engine of four-horse power, which pumps 250 gallons of water per minute and uses 1,800 feet of flume.

Mr. Clarke is a native of Canada, born at Brighton, Northumberland County, June 12, 1850, his parents being Robert C. and Jane (Powers) Clarke.  At the age of sixteen years he went to Elkhart, Indiana, and in 1866 commenced railroading on the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad, now the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern.  One year later he removed to Shelbina, Missouri, and entered the employ of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, in which he continued until  1872, when he went upon the Walbash road.  In 1877 he removed to Carson, Nevada, and was for five years on the Virginia City and Truckee Railroad.  He then came to California, and railroaded on the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge and on the Central Pacific, until coming to his present location in 1883.  It had long been his desire to enter into his present business, and he experimented for a  time in San Francisco, at chicken-raising, previous to coming to Santa Clara County.

Mr. Clarke was married, in San Rafael, to Miss Catherine F. Howe, a native of Madison, Wisconsin.  They have one child, Ira Howe Clarke,  Mr. Clarke is a menber of the United Order of Honor at San Francisco.  In politics he is a Republican.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p.  640-641

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