Edwin Clark was born on February 25, 1834 in Bridgewater, New Hampshire. In 1857 he moved to St. Anthony, Minnesota. With William A. Croffut as his partner, Clark purchased the weekly Minnesota Republican and also began publishing the Falls Evening News, the first daily newspaper in Minneapolis. In 1863 Clark accepted a clerkship in the United States House of Representatives. He served in this position from December 1863 to April 1865, when he was appointed agent for the Ojibwe Indians in Minnesota and Dakota. He was located at the Chippewa Agency, near Crow Wing, Minnesota and, while stationed there, built agency buildings at Leech Lake. Removed from office in 1867, he moved to Melrose, Minnesota where he and his cousin, William H. Clark, built or improved the first dam, erected the first grist mill, and established the first store. In 1872 they platted the site of the present town of Melrose, giving half of the town site to the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad as a bonus for running a branch line through Melrose.
After 1878 Edwin Clark conducted the Melrose business alone. In 1893 or 1894 he returned to Minneapolis to work as an insurance agent. He was a founding member of the Territorial Pioneers associations of Minnesota and Hennepin County. In 1905 the Hennepin County Territorial Pioneers Association purchased the Ard Godfrey House, the oldest frame dwelling-house in Minneapolis. In 1920 Clark became curator of the house and its collection of pioneer relics. He lived in the house until his death on April 27, 1922.
Edwin Clark married Ellen (Nellie) Rowe in 1860. The couple had five children: Everett, Herbert, Mabelle, John G. Rowe, and Walter.
Biographical information was taken from the collection and from the following published sources: Minneapolis Journal, April 28, 1922, pp. 21, 34; Hage, George S., Newspapers on the Minnesota Frontier 1849-1869 (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1967), pp. 47, 73; Minnesota Territorial Pioneers, Proceedings and Report of Annual Meetings, 1899 and 1900 (St. Paul: Pioneer Press Company, 1901), pp. 101-103; History of the Upper Mississippi Valley (Minneapolis: Minnesota Historical Society, 1881), p. 435; and Castle, Henry A., Minnesota: Its Story and Biography (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1915), pp. 798-800.
From the guide to the Edwin Clark papers., 1855-1923., (Minnesota Historical Society)