Windows Through Time
By Amy L. Metzger Hunt, Curator, Heritage Frederick
Two tiny panes of glass cover the glowing images of a man in uniform and a young woman with golden ringlets. The woman is Ann Matthews Johnson Clark, born in Frederick in 1814, the daughter of James and Anne Richards Johnson. Her grandfather, also named James, was the youngest brother of Maryland’s first governor, Thomas Johnson. The man, Maj. Michael M. Clark, an 1826 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, is wearing his U.S. Army Artillery uniform.
Following his graduation, Clark was stationed throughout the South before fighting in the Second Seminole War in Florida, during which he was wounded. Following his recuperation, the couple was married in St. Louis, Missouri, and started their family. For the next 15 years, through the births of four sons and two daughters, the family moved with Michael Clark’s assignments in Georgia, Rhode Island, New York, Virginia and Washington state.
In 1859, the family settled in Baltimore, where Clark served as quartermaster. He suffered a stroke on May 10, 1861, and died the following day at the age of 58. Ann was 47 at the time and had six children, ages 10 to 21. Within days her oldest son, James, enlisted in the Confederate Army.
Michael Clark’s portrait, in a distinctive pendant case, was painted in New York in the 1830s by the most successful miniaturist of that era, Nathaniel Rogers. Ann Clark’s portrait was painted in the late 1830s or early 1840s by an unknown artist. These miniature portraits, painted on ivory, are part of the collection of Heritage Frederick.