Mushing is a sport or transport method powered by dogs. It includes varieties such as carting, pulka, dog scootering, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting and weight pulling. One or more dogs are used to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land.
Florence Murray Clark, the subject of this article, became interested in mushing from neighbor Ed Clark who she later married. In addition to being a wife and mother, her life-long interest and career was entwined with dog sledding and the animals themselves. There has been much written about this remarkable woman, and in this article I will only cover the highlights and some of her genealogy. You can find links at the bottom of the page to learn more details of her life.
–The first (and only) woman to mush to the top of Mount Washington (1932)–
Reportedly John Brady of the Boston Post newspaper was the one to suggest to Florence Clark to drive a team up Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Twice, in January and April 1932 she reached the peak of that mountain. Prior to her achievement, only one person, the famed Klondike musher and dog sledder, Arthur T. Walden had performed such a feat (that he achieved in 1926).
–Picnic in the Snow (1935)–
In January of 1935 Mrs. Florence Murray Clark “gave a picnic in the snow” while the temperature was reading 10 degrees below zero. According to the story in the Boston Globe, “Arthur Pinette, a well-known hunter and trapper, who works for the Clarks, built a fire of young green timber about four feet in length and about two feet high. The food was originally prepared at the Clark home, then taken over the trails in dog sleds and reheated at the outdoor fire. Mr. and Mrs. Clark, their two sons, and a half-dozen guests attended the picnic. A kettle was put on the fire, as well as most of the good. The meal consisted of roast chicken, boiled potatoes with gravy, carrots, peas, stuffed celery, home-baked biscuits, cookies and coffee. When everyone had finished eating someone called for “mousse.” Mrs. Clark in surprised looked back into the woods. “Moose?” she inquired incredulously. Then she saw one of the boys looking toward the desert basked which contained the “mousse.”
— Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch, Lincoln NH, 1928–
Florence and Ed Clark opened a roadside attraction in Lincoln NH called “Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch. ” It was the forerunner of the tourist attraction known today as Clark’s Trading Post. During her lifetime, Florence participated in numerous dog mushing races and events.
–PARTIAL GENEALOGY of FLORENCE LAURA (MURRAY) CLARK–
John Murray was born 1816 Ireland, died 31 Oct 1891 in Van Buren, Onondaga Co. NY. He married Mary “Polly” Wright. She was born 1808 in Ireland and d. 1888 in Van Buren, Onondaga NY. They are buried in Riverview Cemetery, Baldwinsville NY.
1880 US Census > NY > Onondaga > Van Buren
John Murray 65 Ire
Mary Murray 70 Ire
William Murray 25 NY
Children of John & Mary (Wright) Murray:
1. +James Murray b Feb 1836 Ireland
2. William Murray b abt 1855 NY
James Murray b Feb 1836 Ireland d 11 Nov 1924 Baldwinsville, Onondaga, NY. He married abt 1870 in NY to Jane C. Prow, dau of Isaac & Mary (Reynolds) Prow. She was b. June 1839 in Ireland and d. 29 April 1924 in Baldwinsville, Onondaga, NY. He immigrated abt 1860. They are buried in Riverview Cemetery, Baldwinsville NY
Children of James & Jane C. (Prow) Murray:
1. David S. Murray, b March 1871 in Cold Springs, Onondaga, NY, d. 15 Jan 1933 Baldwinsville NY; he m. 29 Dec 1904 in Baldwinsville NY to Sarah W. Cornell.
2. +William Joseph Murray, b 20 Dec 1873 in NY
3. Mary J. Murray, b. Nov 1875 in NY; in 1880 and 1900 single living in Van Buren, Onondaga NY
William Joseph Murray b 20 Dec 1873 NY, d 3 June 1939 [SSDI]; m. 3 Oct 1897 in Kensico, Westchester NY to Emma Jane (Prow) Stillman, dau of Edward & Mary A. (Kasmir/Kasmire) Stillman, granddau of James & Jane (Prow) Stillman. She b. 9 Jan 1876 in Morrisana, Bronx NY died 22 March 1976 Cupertino, Santa Clara, California. In 1900 US Census living at 2577 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan NY. On 1917 WWI Draft Registration living 33 Barry Ave, Mamaroneck NY, supt of steam dept, In 1920-1930 living at Mamoroneck, Westchester Co. NYOccupation: steam fitter [father b NY mother b. Ire]
1880 US Census > NYC
Edward Stillman W M 41 Printer, NY England England
Mary A. Stillman W F 35 Wife, keeping House NY Ire Ire
Mary E. Stillman W F 18 daughter dress maker NY
Edward W. Stillman W M 16 son printer NY
Annie K. Stillman W F 12 dau at school Ny [Annie Kasmir Stillman m 1887 Franklin Hathaway]
Jessie A. Stillman W F 8 NY
Lillie F. Stillman W F 6 NY
Emma J. Stillman ** W F 4 NY
Albert H. Stillman W M 2 NY
1900 US Census > NY > NY > Manhattan, 2577 Eighth Avenue
William J Murray 26 NY, NY, Ire Steam fitter
Emma J Murray 24 NY England NY
Emma J Murray 1
Florence E Murray 1/12
1920 US Census > NY > Westchester > Mamaroneck > 33 Barry Street
William J Murray 46 NY NY Ireland Steamfitter, Power Co.
Emma J Murray 43
Florence L Murray 19 Clerk in Insurance Co.
Anna M Murray 18
William Murray 0
Children of William J. & Emma Jane (Stillman) Murray
1. Emma J. Murray, b 20/21 Sep 1898 NY, d. 22 Oct 1986; m1st) 12 Feb 1919 to William F. Trowbridge. She m2d) 15 July 1945 in Greenwich CT to Alfred Callahan. She served in the U.S. Armed Services enlisting 11 Feb 1918 and released 11 Nov 1920.
2. +Florence Laura Murray, b 25 April 1900 Mamaroneck NY; d. 1950
3. Anna M. Murray, b 8 Sep 1901 NY NY; m1) James B. Miller; m2d) 11 Aug 1933 in Staten Island NY NY to William J. McDonald; moved to Rhode Island
4. William Murray, b 24 Oct 1919 Mamaroneck, NY; He m. 23 July 1948 in Mamaroneck NY to Elsa E. Krossner.
Florence Laura Murray, b 25 April 1900 Mamaroneck N.Y., daughter of William & Emma Jane (Stettman) Murray. She married 20 October 1922 Manhattan New York to Edward Pullman Clark, son of Edward M. & Nellie (Pullman) Clark. He was born was born 5 Aug 1888. Florence (Murray) Clark died in 1950 of tuberculosis at Glencliff Sanitarium, Glencliff [Warren] NH and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Lincoln NH.
OBITUARY: DIED 22 February 1950, Glencliff NH . The Boston Globe newspaper, 23 Feb 1950, page 21. Mrs. E.P. Clark, NH Sled Dog Racer and Huskie Trainer, Lincoln N.H. Feb 22–Mrs. Florence Murray Clark, only woman to reach the top of Mt. Washington with a dog team, and who won high commendation from two governments for outstanding service in the last war, died early this morning at Glencliff Sanitarium where she had been a patient for several months. Born in Mamaroneck, N.Y., her husband is Edward P. Clark, a former Labrador fur buyer. The couple came to New Hampshire from Mamaroneck to raise and train huskies. In the earlier days of sled dog racing, both had colorful adventures. In recent years Mrs. Clark was known for social and civic work. Survivors include her husband; two sons, Edward and Murray Clark; her mother, Mrs. William J. Murray of Mamaroneck, and one sister, Mrs. C. Callahan of Brooklyn. Services will be held at the North Woodstock Baptist Church Friday afternoon with burial in Riverside Cemetery, Lincoln.
1930 US Census > NH > Grafton > Lincoln >
Edward P Clark 41 Buyer, Raw Furs
Florence L Clark 29 Asst Manager, Eskimo Dog Ranch
Edward M Clark 6
William M Clark 3
Thomas Howard 40 boarder, Eng Eng Eng paper mill finisher
Children of Edward P. & Florence L. (Murray) Clark:
1. Edward Murray Clark b 9 February 1924 in Mamorandeck NY married 28 Aug 1944 in North Woodstock NH to Joycelyn Mavis Avery dau of Shirley Bertram & Emily Bertha (Andrews) Avery. He died 24 Sep 2009, buried Riverside Cemetery, Lincoln NH.
2. William Murray Clark b 26 January 1927 West Milan NH; married 25 Oct 1952 in North Woodstock NH to Barbara Lillian Avery, dau of Shirley Bertram & Emily Bertha (Andrews) Avery. He died 7 Jan 2010 buried Riverside Cemetery, Lincoln NH.
Tribute to Ed & Murray Clark (Florence’s sons) – from ‘Clarks Bears’ web site
Book Preview: Clark’s Trading Post and the White Mountain Central Railroad, by Linda Eisenhart