CLARK, JOSEPH NELSON, M. D., physician and pharmacist was born in Monaghan township, near Dillsburg, York county, Pa., November 12, 1839. He is a son of James and Margaret (Nelson) Clark, the former of Cumberland, the latter of York county; both deceased. The grandfather Clark was one of the original settlers of Cumberland county, and the grandfather Nelson one of the original settlers of York county, having come with their parents to these counties when the country was a wilderness inhabited by Indians. They received their lands from William Penn. The Clark family were of Scotch, and the Nelsons of English ancestry. The father of Dr. Clark was a miller by trade, and lived in Cumberland county all his life. His later years were spent in agricultural pursuits. He had a family of fourteen children; ten lived to maturity, four died in infancy. Seven survive, namely: Francis Elizabeth, wife of George C., Chamberlin, of Manly, Worth county, Iowa; Mary A., widow of the late Col. Henry I. Zinn, of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Joseph Nelson, subject of this sketch; Hannah H. (Mrs. Wilson), of New Orleans, La.; Elizabeth E., wife of John J. Palmer, of Medical Lake, Wash.; Calvin M., Woonsocket, S. D.; and Emma, wife of John Moul, of Carlisle, Pa.
When but one year old, Joseph Nelson Clark removed with his parents to Cumberland county, and was educated in the public schools of Churchtown and the Normal School of Newville, Pa., now the State Normal School of Shippensburg, receiving a diploma from this institution with the class of 1860. He studied in the medical department of the University of Georgetown, at Washington, D. C., and was graduated from the institution with the class of 1867; he took a post-graduate course in 1868. He practiced medicine for one year at St. Louis, Mo., then returned to Mechanicsburg and practiced there. During 1870 and 1871 he was president of the Female Collegiate Institute, at York, Pa. In 1872 he removed to Harrisburg, where he has resided continuously for twenty-three years. Until 1887 he devoted his attention solely to the practice of his profession. For the past eight years he has given the greater part of his time to the drug business He is proprietor of McNeil’s Pain Exterminator, a popular remedy of wide sale. In 1861 Dr. Clark volunteered for service in the army, under the call for three months’ men, and was assigned to the Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves. He enlisted for three years but served four years, on account of one year’s imprisonment, participating in the most important battles of the war. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Gaines’ Mill, and spent eight weeks in Libby prison. Two years later he was again captured with his entire regiment at the battle of the Wilderness, and was confined in Andersonville prison from May until September, 1864, and in Florence prison from September until December, 1864. On February 22, 1865, he was mustered out of service at Philadelphia as sergeant major. After receiving his discharge, he returned to his home in Cumberland county, and from there went to Washington, D. C., and was connected with the war department until 1868.
Dr Clark was married at Mechanicsburg, Pa., February 28, 1871, to Miss Kate E. Gorgas, daughter of Soloman P. and Elizabeth Gorgas, of Mechanicsburg. They have five children: William Gorgas, residing in Philadelphia, Mary E., Joseph Nelson, Jr., Raymond Perry, and Edgar George. Dr. Clark is a member of Robert Burns Lodge, No. 464, F. & A. M., and of Post No 58, G. A. R. In political views he is a Republican. He was a member of the school board for ten years and secretary of this body for one year. Dr. Clark and his wife are members of the Westminster Presbyterian church. He enjoys the respect and esteem of the community. On account of his recognized business ability and personal worth, he is regarded as justly entitled to his phenomenal success.