Since no local newspapers survive from the time of the Civil War, there is a lack of information about what the local response to the war was. The West Chicago City Museum does have a transcript of the 1861-1863 diary of Arvilla Currier Clark, which provides some details of wartime life in Turner. From time to time an excerpt from Arvilla’s diary will be presented in this blog.
Arvilla was a young married woman who wrote almost daily of the events of the War. Born in New Hampshire in 1833, she had come west to Illinois with her family about 1850. They lived in the stately home on the hill at 241 E. Washington.
As a young adult, Arvilla worked as a schoolteacher in Turner’s first school and at Gary’s Mill School. In 1859 she married Charles M. Clark, a local businessman. As was the custom, after her marriage, Arvilla stopped teaching. She and Charles moved to 249 E. Washington, next door to her family. To earn some money, Arvilla tutored the 17 children of a neighbor, and made candles and brooms.
The Clarks would have a son, Charles D. Clark, who would become a successful attorney and DuPage County judge.
Arvilla’s family was touched very personally by the War when her father William Currier enlisted. William was in his early 50s and at the time was Turner’s oldest volunteer for service.
At the young age of 32, Arvilla died in 1865. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery alongside her parents and siblings.