As A Clark Rathbun nears his birthday anniversary on May 7, he sums up the years with the comment, ” I’ve had a wonderful life.” From the comments of townsmen in Redkey, where he has spent 62 of his 88 years, he is still having a “wonderful life,” intensely interested in what is going around in his home town and the world around him. He also enjoys good health with the exception of arthritis in his knees. In a busy life Mr. Rathbun never had time for a hobby, but he now has one, television, and his interest in these programs ranges from opera to wrestling matches.
Mr. Rathbun, the son of Alfred and Sarah Rathbun, was born at Boundary. The Rathbuns also resided east of Salamonia, previous to moving to Redkey 62 years ago, where they built the home still occupied by Mr. Rathbun and two nieces, Maggie and Eleanor Rathbun.
Accepts Saleman’s Job
During the three years Mr. Rathbun was employed as day clerk in the Redkey Hotel, he met many salesman, as these fellows traveled by train and would stop in Redkey for the night. As the result of these contacts he became interested in a selling job, and accepted a salesman’s job with a fountain pen company out of New York.
He remained with the New York firm for 21 years, being in every state in the U.S. in Canada and old Mexico. He has never owned a car, but has traveled in air planes, cars, trains, and once took a ride in a dirigible over Cleveland and Lake Erie. The dirigible was too quiet to suit him, commented that he liked the roar of an airplane motor as company while riding above the earth. Mr. Rathbun has also been a submarine passenger and sailed on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the five great lakes. Although an ardent travel fan in his younger days, Mr. Rathbun states that he will never had any desire to go to the Old Country.
To the query, “What is your favorite state?” he replied “Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin are the cream of the entire United States in my opinion.””
In 1915 while Mr. Rathbun was in North Dakota a registration for *****. He got a homestead, 160 acres, which cost him $6.25 per acre, and the deed was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. After proving the homestead he stayed there for three years during the summer months and traveled during the winter. He sold the homestead in 1945.
One of the fascinating things about traveling, Mr. Rathbun said, was he constantly met people from Jay County. He recalled that while in the post office in Chattanooga, Tenn., several years ago, a lady approached him for a Red Cross donation, and to the surprise of both, they were acquaintances, the lady being a Portland resident, previous to marrying and moving to Tennessee.
Mr. Rathbun never married. He laughingly surmised that he had probably went with a hundred girls, and nearly tied the knot three different times.
The Redkey man retired 25 years ago, and has one brother living, Grant Rathbun, who resides two houses from him. There are two brothers and one sister dead.
Lets Hair Grow
In the accompanying photo Mr. Rathbun is shown with long hair, which has been the winter getting to this stage. Asked why he let his hair grow, he commented that due to the inclement weather he just didn’t get to the barber shop for a few weeks, then noticed his hair was getting curly, so decided to let it grow awhile and see how it would look. However, with summer just around the corner, Mr. Rathbun says he will soon be making a trip to the barber shop, as he doesn’t think his long hairdo will be too comfortable in warm weather.
Excerpts from The Comercial Review, Portland, Indiana, Wednesday Evening, April 11, 1955 page 3 and written by Lucille Gelzleichter.