Charlotte “Lottie” Clarke was a teacher at the Cornwall Plain schoolhouse in 1863 and 1864. She was the fourth woman to hold the position, which had traditionally been held by college-educated men.

After teaching in Cornwall, Lottie traveled to several locations to work as a teacher. Around 1880, she worked as a governess for a New Milford family, preparing their sons for college.

After retiring from teaching, Lottie returned to Cornwall. In 1899, she inherited enough money from her uncle, Edmund Hindman, to live comfortably for the rest of her life. Hindman had invested in California real estate, in San Francisco and Oakland, as well as in water and gas company stock.

Charlotte E. Clarke, c. 1864.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Miss Charlotte E. Clarke, of Cornwall, Conn., is responsible for the following cat stories, and others. She is an educated woman, has been a teacher, and seems to have had a faculty for developing the feline character.

     One of her cats habitually attended family worship. Once it was conducted without him: coming in afterwards, he looked around enquiringly, and finally jumped upon a chair, tapped his paw on the Bible and Prayer Book, which lay on a little table, looked at his mistress, and mewed several times.

A kitten taught to swim by being carried out in a boat, and thrown into the water, kept up the habit when grown, and would bathe, and clean herself in warm weather.

One of those cats who had been taught to slide down hill with the boys, continued the practice voluntarily. Following them up the hill, and seating herself in front of them, she seemed to enjoy the fun as much as any one.

The Churchman, December 10, 1904.

Pencil sketch of the Foreign Mission School by Charlotte E. Clarke
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Lottie served as President of the Cornwall Library Association for many years. Although she had become an Episcopalian during her years outside Cornwall, after her retirement she became active in the First Congregational Church, assisting with the Sunday School and prayer meetings.

Among her hobbies was autographs of Presidents, and she was able to collect at least one autograph for every President except George Washington. Lottie had a strong creative streak, writing poetry and making drawings such as one of the Foreign Mission School and an illuminated motto for the Cornwall Men’s Club.

Poem by Lottie Clarke in the Mary Bradford Autograph Album:

“Bitter – Sweet”
How true it is where’er we are
Whatever joys we meet,
We always find, the wide world o’er,
Some ‘bitter” with the “sweet.”

What pleasure phantoms we pursue,
To find them all a cheat –
Forgetting that the wide world o’er,
There’s “bitter” with the “sweet.”

Then let us often stop to hear
The still small voice repeat,
Seek naught of earth for in it all
Is “bitter” mixed with “sweet.”

And seek to have laid up in Heaven
A “treasure” at Christ’ss feet;
And pray that He will cleanse our way,
And make the “bitter,” “sweet” –

Seek ever with this prayer to gain
Before his face a seat.
For only there, our souls shall find
No “bitter” with the “sweet.”

And there may we, around His throne,
With joy each other greet,
To find thoughout Eternity
No “bitter” with the “sweet.”
Yours in love –
South Cornwall
Mar 27th 1863