John Clarke was born on 1 June, 1891, in Alberni to parents Daniel and Laura. He was one of twelve children. He enjoyed his childhood along the Somass River, and took part in swimming, fishing, and boating with his siblings.
The Clarke family was involved in the Anderson Company sawmill and farm in Alberni they were among the first pioneer families of the Alberni Valley. They had their own farm and home consisting of three-hundred-twenty acres on Mary Street. In addition to this on the western side of their property, they owned one-hundred-sixty acres, which was between Golden Street and Falls Road. The Clarke’s family farm became highly productive after expanding and cultivating over the next many years. John eventually followed his family’s footsteps and was also a farmer in and around the Alberni Valley.
John enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 7 November. He initially joined the Twentieth Bat- talion, and was wounded at the Battle of Ypres. After recovering, he returned to France this time ￼with Thirtieth Battalion and was later transferred to the Seventh Battalion at the front. He was discharged from the army on 11 August, 1919.
John married Maria Eklund on 20 December, 1920 in Vancouver, BC. Eventually, returning to the Alberni Valley, they had two children named Sonja, and Hilda. John died on 28 February, 1979 in Alberni, at age eighty-seven years.