Born on January 5, 1873 in Jacksonville, Illinois; Emma was the only child of Charles W. Clark and Eleanor Shuler The family moved to Jackson, Michigan, then to Chicago, Illinois, where Emma was in charge of the Auditing Department of Fair’s Department Store for five years. She was in charge of thirty-two clerical workers. Later she worked for two years in the bookkeeping and auditing offices of Sears Roebuck and Company.
On October 29, 1902, in Chicago, she married Israel Weeks. Israel passed away in March of 1912 and on December 21stof that year, Emma, age 39, married John M. Raymond, a 65-year-old Civil War veteran. In Chicago, Emma was heavily involved in church, fraternal and patriotic endeavors – Women’s Relief Corp, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic and organizer of the Halsey Street Mother’s Club of the Halsey Street Methodist Church.
In late April of 1923, Emma, John, and Emma’s parents moved to St. Cloud, Florida, where she quickly became an ardent worker in the community’s veterans organizations and women’s auxiliaries. She was elected in 1929 to serve as treasurer of the St. Cloud Publicity Commission, a group formed to promote the city to Spanish-American and World War I Veterans. There were so few Civil War Veterans remaining, there was a need for “up-building” the town. The slogan “St. Cloud, The Soldier City of Sunny Florida” began to appear in advertising across the nation.
When Emma decided to run for St. Cloud City Commissioner in 1930, she used the slogan in her campaign ads. By a majority of two-to-one in a field of half a dozen opponents, Emma was elected commissioner. She was the first woman in Florida to be elected to hold this position. News of her election appeared in newspapers across the county – Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas, as well as on nationwide newsreels.
In 1931, Emma was re-elected for another year. John passed away in February 1941, and Emma remained active in not only local organizations but held offices in state groups of a patriotic nature. Emma died at the age of 87 on May 7, 1960. Her obituary noted she was “wife, daughter and granddaughter to Civil War veterans. In 1915 she carried two full-sized flags, one a 13-star and the other 48-star, during a non-stop mile and a half parade in Washington, D.C.”. Emma, John and Emma’s parents are all buried in Mt. Peace Cemetery in St. Cloud.
By: Anza Bast
Sources: Ancestry.com; “St. Cloud Tribune” issues 1929, 1930; “The Orlando Sentinel” issues1930, 1931, 1935, 1960; Mt. Peace Cemetery database
Image source: “Republican and Herald” April 26, 1930