Hillbillies & Vikings

This site is focused broadly on all descendants of John Denboe, an indentured servant who came to the Crown Colony of Maryland in about the year 1664. Also, it maintains a special emphasis on the descendants of John Denbow (1797-1862) and his brother Bazeleel (1795-1857), early pioneers in the hills of Southeastern Ohio, as well as the descendants of Jón Jónsson (1841-1934) of Dalasýsla, Iceland, who was an Icelandic immigrant to Canada and now has progeny throughout North America.


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Clark B. McLaughlin Newspaper Article.txt

Newspaper clipping in the possession of Jean Reid Edwards, dated September 15, 1982, probably printed in the Punxsutawney Spirit. 

People and Profiles by Terry Fye. 

For most of the 20th century, Clark B. (Mack) McLaughlin, East Mahoning Street, has been an interested eyewitness and a particpant in local and area history.  The well-known owner of Mack's Automotive Supply, Inc. readily recalls the people, the events, and the changes that have been a part of Punxsutawney during his 63 years in business.  Not only has this respected merchant found great pleasure in serving more than three generations of customers, but he has operated his store at the same address, 110South Gilpin Street, where he first went into business in 1919.  Sincethat time, Mack has been an active, dynamic supporter of the community. 

One recent example of the ways he has shown pride and faith in Punxsutawney is the extensive renovation project at the corner of Gilpin and Union Streets.  The dilapidated, fire-ravaged National Hotel has been torn down.  What was a dirty, unattractive site has been transformed into a spacious parking lot for his stores customers.  A nicely painted wall and colorful flower beds have added much to the overall appearance of the downtown area.  Mack generously provided thousands of dollars to pay for the property and costs of renovation.  "I like Punxsutawney," he explained. "This place has been good tome and it's been good for our family.  Over the years I've lived here, I've seen a great deal of progress.  As long as people take an interest in their community I know it is going to grow."      

His first imprsssions of the town, however, were much different.  With a laugh, he recalled that he first heard of the place in 1911 when his work with a water company resulted in his being transferred here from the Carlisle-York area.  "Punxsutawney?  What was it I asked my boss.  I couldn't pronounce it; I couldn't spell it.  I couldn't even find many people to tell me where it was," he stated.  Arriving here in 1911, he found a place that was often quite dirty because of the coal mines in the area and the long rows of coke ovens in Walston that filled the skies with the glow of their flames and the accompanying dirt.  Yet, Mr. McLaughlin also discovered the people of the town.      

His employment with the water company took him to each home twice a month. Soon, he knew the names of the residents and they recognized him.  He can quickly recall much local history in his interesting stories about long-established Punxsutawney families and the changing panorama of the downtown business district.      

Eventually, Mr. McLaughlin left his job with the utility company to go into business for himself. In June 1919, he started his store as an outlet for car batteries.  Since his career almost parallels the growth of the automobile industry, Mack can remember buying a Ford for $250, later a Buick for $990 and at one time a Cadillac for $1400.      

"Throughout my years in business, I have seen a great advancement in cars.  I'm still amazed at the remarkable changes that are still being made," he observed.  Noting that he earned about $140-$150 a month in his early years, Mack explained that his business underwent various changes.  At one time he was a Firestone dealer; another phase found him selling "baby dolls, toys, dishes, and appliances."  The store also vulcanized tires andl ater offered automotive electrical work. Today, Mack's is a retail and wholesale center for automotive parts for every kind of car. The store is managed by a son, Bill McLuaghlin.  Yet, the founder and owner is still a vital, contributing member of the staff of seven.  Even though he is 93 years old (a fact that is far from evident in his much younger apperarance), Mack still goes to work every day from 8:00 a.m. until 12;30 p.m.      

"I'm on the job and I'm never late," he said. "In fact, I pride myself on being alert. In all my years ofbusiness, I have only ever missed two discounts on anything."      

Mr. McLaughlin credits the success of his business to the fact that he has always worked to have a spotless credit rating.  He is justifiably proud of his AAA rating with Dunn and Bradstreet and with the nationally known suppliers with whom he deals.      

His zestful enthusiasm for life is evident in his interest in people, in his work and even in his fine penmanship.  In spite of the fact that he has been afflicted with several serious ailments during his life, Mack takes everything in stride and bounces back from adversity in remarkable form. When he was younger, he was a loyal hard-working member of numerous civic and social organizations.  Presently, he is a member ofthe Punxsutawney Country Club and he and his wife attend the First United Presbyterian Church.  Although he has relaxed the pace a little in recent years, he has no plans to withdraw fron his daily routine. "I'll probably retire when I'm 125 ," he chuckled. "As long as I can enjoy going down to the store and meeting the public, I plan to keep busy."      

As to finding satisfaction with his life, Mack quickly declared that his "family is everything in the world" to him. He and his wife, the former Mabel R. Reid, celebrated their 50th anniverary earlier this year. The McLaughlins are the parents of three sons: David, the first Doctor in Lake Havasu, Arizona;  Dick, owner of Mahoning Maid; Bill, manager of Mack's Automotive Supply. Their daughter Shug is married to attorney J. Kipp Lukehart.  There are seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren rounding out the family circle.

File nameClark B. McLaughlin Newspaper Article.txt
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Linked toClark B. McLaughlin

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