LOOKING BACK: Tubby Clark was hardworking teen with deep roots in county

The Tubby Clark story we share with you today is another of the wonderful interviews, of Brown County Folks, by Dick Reed. Tubby’s story appeared in the Wednesday, April 28, 1976, issue of the Brown County Democrat.

Speak of Theron Clark and no bells ring in the memory of most people who’ve known him all his life. But say just “Tubby” anywhere in the county and the once fleshy figure of this retired trucker springs to mind at once.

He was nudging the 300-pound mark, a few years back, and his annual physical exams for Ellis Trucking Company showed a rise in his blood pressure. So, Tubby who had weighed 200 at age 18, decided he’d better shape up.

Without medication or professional help, he slimmed down to 155, finally backslid a little and is now “holding” at 180. On him that looks pretty good, although many other native Brown Countians still fail to recognize him on the street.

Tubby and his wife, Blanch, had no children. They live in a neat, white frame house on the west side of North Jefferson Street, next to the Bell telephone property. Tubby retired from a 40-year driving career in 1970.

Their home once belonged to Tubby’s paternal grandmother. In fact it was built for her, and it has been occupied by Tubby and Blanch since they married on March 25, 1935.

Tubby was born Oct. 8, 1912, to Andrew Clarence (Can) Clark and Emma Keckley Clark, also lifelong residents of Brown County. He is the only living child of that marriage and grew up with a step-brother and four step-sisters.

“Can” had been married earlier to the former Daisy White, of near Elkinsville. Two girls were born of that union. Fern is deceased and Wanda who is Mrs. Harold Adams of Columbus, Ind.

Emma had earlier married another Clark, George Clark of Eastern Brown County, no relation to “Can.” They had two daughters, Faye and Fern and one son, Verlyn, who lives at Indianapolis. Faye also of Indianapolis is Mrs. Harold English. Fern, (who was called “little Fern” to distinguish her from Can’s daughter, Fern) is Mrs. Emmerson Coy of Martinsville.

Tubby had one full sister, but she died in infancy. Every one of his stepsiblings is a retired schoolteacher. Tubby, who had only four days in high school, and describes himself as the black sheep of the family.

Blanch is a daughter of Jim Schooley and Rella Vandagrifft Schooley. Jim was born in Brown County but went as a boy to Morgan County, where he later farmed and operated a rural taxi service. Rella was born in Morgan County.

The house where Tubby’s family lived now belongs to Gale David. It was, then, only the second house up Salt Creek Road. The first house was Charlie and Edna David’s farm. Charlie and Edna were the parents of Gale David. There may be a dozen or so dwellings, now, in between.

Can, Tubby’s dad, was a banker at Nashville, a farmer and politician who once was county treasurer. The family lived for a time in the town of Nashville. Their house was across the street from the old sanitarium, (also known as the Maple Hotel and the Pittman Inn) and next to the Christian Church. Tubby remembers he’d escape to the “heart” of the village on his tricycle, where he’d hide from his mother when she came to retrieve him.

By the time Tubby was school age he was living again on the farm, up Salt Creek Road. From there he’d walk, lunchbox in hand, about half a mile to the old Brown School, which was located in the little village of Sherman. As a lad he did the usual farm chores and now recalls those carefree days as probably the happiest days in his lifetime.

His first job away from home earned him $1 per day at “Tubal Cain’s Garage.” Tubby was always attracted to motor cars, especially trucks, and yearned for a truck of his own while still a young boy.

In 1929, as a 200-pound, 16-year-old he managed to buy a truck and, from then on, was in the trucking business. His first job along that line was hauling dirt from cuts made in the hill on 46, so they could put up a bridge over the creek at the south edge of town.

Afterward, he hired out on various construction and road building hauling jobs, including stretches of road between Switz City and Linton and from Brownstown to Seymour, reconstruction of 135 North from Nashville, the State Park roads and more hauling when Abe Martin Lodge was put in at the park.

He also transported Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers to and from the park and remembers the good (satisfying even for him) 20-cent lunches he ate with the CCC crews.

He got to trucking locally and hauled livestock, much of it horses for the county’s foremost horse-traders, described by Tubby as Clarence Aynes, Charley David and Jack Gregg (who ran the horse barn at the park). He also moved furniture.

To be continued.

Submitted by Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society