chapter  5
20 Pages

William Smith Clark, Yatoi, 1826-1886

WithJohn M. Maki

William Smith Clark was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, a tiny village in the western part of the state on July 31,1826. Both his father, Atherton Clark, and his mother Harriet, were the offspring of country doctors. Clark grew up in Ashfield and two nearby villages, Cummington and Easthampton. As a boy, he early revealed a capacity of intense physical activity, a characteristic throughout his life until the broken health of his final years. In 1850 apparently with the advice and perhaps financial assistance of Samuel Williston, a wealthy businessman, founder of the seminary bearing his name, and the benefactor of Amherst College and Clark's future father-in-law, he decided to go to Germany to earn a doctorate in chemistry. Clark returned in 1852 to an appointment at Amherst College as professor of analytical and agricultural chemistry and an instructor in German.