Henry N. Clark ran a bottling business and later a grocery store in Southampton, Long Island around the turn of the century.
Born in Connecticut, upon moving across the Sound to Long Island he first lived in nearby Bridgehampton where, according to his obituary, he operated a plumbing business. His move to nearby Southampton was announced in a September 30, 1896 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Henry C. Clark has bought the property and bottling works of Harvey C. Halsey at Southampton and will shortly locate in that village.
That following summer, he was certainly up and running as evidenced by this advertisement published in the July 8, 1897 edition of Southampton’s Sea-Side Times.
A May 5, 1898 story in the Sea-Side Times, described the business as being entirely focused on non-alcoholic beverages.
Every few weeks he introduces a new specialty which usually hits the mark and has a good run. The latest he has introduced is champagne cider, a delightfully refreshing drink, which notwithstanding its suspicious name is a thoroughly temperance drink, containing neither champagne nor cider nor any trace of alcohol. In fact all Mr. Clark’s beverages are temperance drinks.
It appears that it wasn’t long before Clark was well established in Southampton.The May 5, 1898 story mentioned that in addition to many small scale customers Clark had contracts to furnish all the soft drinks for the Golf Club as well as several nearby hotels. It went on to say that the business was in the process of expanding.
Mr. Henry N. Clark, manufacturer of carbonated beverages is building a large addition to his bottling works. The addition is 44×14 feet extending from the original building almost to the Main Street front, more than trebling his former space.
The enlargement of his quarters is made necessary by his rapidly increasing business. He is to be joined by his brother Mr. Orrin A. Clark, now of Amagansett, as a partner in business, on June 1.
Two new bottling machines have been added to the outfit which will give a capacity of many hundreds of bottles per day. The new machines use the crown seal, a new device for sealing bottles which is far superior to any of the older methods.
After these improvements are complete Mr. Clark will have one of the largest bottling works in the county.
In March, 1901 Clark bought a bicycle business, also in Southampton. The purchase was reported in the March 8, 1901 edition of the Sea-Side Times.
Grundy & Co. have sold their bicycle business to Henry N. Clark. It is said that Mr. Clark will form a partnership with Merton L. Packard, who recently bought Grundy & Co.’s repair department.
That summer Clark apparently maintained both businesses as evidenced by these two August 1901 advertisements from the Sea-Side Times. The advertisements, one for the bicycle business and the other for the bottling business appeared in the August 1 and August 8 editions of the Sea-Side Times respectively.
Sometime in late 1901 or early 1902 Clark apparently sold the bottling business to James Allen Smith whose advertisements began appearing in the Sea-Side Times in April of 1902. The advertisements specifically mentioned that they were “Successors to Henry N. Clark.”
By 1904 Smith was advertising the business as the Southampton Bottling Works.
Recently a bottle from that era (with a crown finish) embossed “Southhampton Bottling Works” that included the embossed name of “James Allen Smith” recently appeared for sale on the internet.
Meanwhile Clark continued advertising his bicycle business until 1904 when a March 26 item in The (Sag Harbor) Corrector announced that he was back in the bottling business albeit in Mystic Connecticut.
Henry N Clark, the Southampton bottler, has purchased a bottling business in Mystic, Conn. He will move to that place about April 1.
Its not clear if he actually established the Mystic Connecticut business because, as reported in the October 26, 1905 edition of the Sea-Side Times, within a year and a half Clark was back living on Long Island.
Mr. Henry N. Clark and family returned to this village last week from Mystic Conn., where he has been for the last year and is at his house on North Main Street where he expects to reside hereafter.
Subsequently the April 11, 1907 edition of the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark had purchased a local grocery business.
Mr. Henry Clark has bought the stock of goods which Mr. William Henry had in his store on North Main Street and will continue the grocery business at the old stand.
Advertisements for his grocery store ran in the Sea-Side Times from April, 1907 through December, 1908. The advertisements specifically mentioned soda water so it’s likely that he was manufacturing and bottling it as part of grocery business.
Advertisements for the grocery store disappear from the local newspapers in December of 1908, and around the same time a November 19, 1908 news item in the Sea-Side Times announced that Clark was going to spend the winter in Florida.
Mr. Henry Clark has decided to go to Florida for the winter. He will leave here within a few weeks and go to Lake Wier, near Sanford, where many Long Island and New England people are located, and if he finds a favorable opportunity he expects to purchase a tract of land there with a view to spending future winters in the south hoping that his health will be benefitted by the change..
Over the next several years local newspaper items indicated that Clark spent the winter months in Florida, however, he continued to list his occupation as “proprietor – grocery store” in 1910 census records. Based on this it’s not clear how long the grocery remained active under his ownership.
He ultimately moved to Florida full time and passed away there on September 3, 1923. His obituary was published in the September 6, 1923 edition of the Southampton Press.
The bottle I found is a Hutchinson soda. Based on the May 5, 1898 newspaper story quoted above he was converting to crown finish bottles at that time so the bottle likely dates back to the first year or so of the business in late 1896 or 1897.
In closing….a little bit of American History.
The following news item regarding Henry Clark’s nephew, Orrin (I’ve also seen it spelled Orin and Oren) Clark’s son – appeared in the July 23, 1909 edition of the (Sayville L. I.) Suffolk County News.
President Taft has appointed Walter Eli Clark, son of Orin A. Clark, formerly of Bridgehampton and Amagansett, and a nephew of Henry N. Clark of Southampton, to be governor of the territory of Alaska. Mr Clark was born in Ashford, Conn. in 1869.
In fact, he was the First governor of the Alaskan territory.