.. of New York City was said to have been one of the best jig dancers in the American Minstrel business in the 1860’s and was equally proficient as a player of the banjo. He was a maker of banjos, although not in large quantities and he sold the banjos he made only to professionals.
In the December 1909 issue of B.M.G. Clarence L Partee wrote “ I have seen several fine specimens of his (Clarkes) workmanship”
He is said to have improved the design and remedied many of the defects of the Wilson & Farnham “Silver Rim” banjos and is credited with evolving the “extension bar” (perch pole) thus giving rigidity between the neck and the hoop., although “Stewart said that the “majority” of wood rimmed banjos, even before that date, were so made.
Jimmy Clarke made EM Hall’s early banjos “Old Iron sides “ and “The Thunderer”. He died of TB in New York on 27th February 1880 and a measure of the respect in which Clarke banjos were held at that time can be gauged by a statement (by Stewart?) that “ in 1878 Stewart banjos were superior in quality and design to those hitherto made by JW Clarke”
J W Clarke c1835 to 1880
Do you have a banjo by this maker? can you supply us some images?