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Roy Palmer Clark (1893 - 1980)

Roy Palmer Clark, born in San Francisco, was taken by his father, Lincoln, to Pitcairn Island in 1909 as their new home. Roy was 16 years old at the time. Lincoln, a seaman, had years earlier been shipwrecked on the ship Arcadia on Ducie Island, one of the Pitcairn islands, and had made his way to Pitcairn to seek passage back to his home port. One of Lincoln’s shipmates making the boat trip to Pitcairn was Philip Coffin. Lincoln returned to the United States, Philip stayed on Pitcairn, married, and started a family.

Not long after arriving on Pitcairn, young Roy became friendly with Hyacinth May Coffin, the daughter of Philip Coffin who had been a shipmate of Roy’s father, Lincoln. Hycainth, or “May” as she was known on the island, received her name as the result of a request by Captain May of HMS Hyacinth. In a visit to Pitcairn he had asked that the next baby born on the island after his departure be named after him and his ship. Roy and May were married on February 17, 1913.

For some years Roy served as Head Schoolmaster of Pitcairn Island. His experiences in this work were chronicled in a feature article in Atlantic Monthly magazine.

In addition to being Head Elder of the Pitcairn Island Seventh-day Adventist Church for a number of years, Roy on December 1, 1940, was named Postmaster of Pitcairn. He held that position for 18 years. Roy was an avid reader, a keen student of the Bible, and was without doubt the most prolific on-island writer in Pitcairn’s history. Many of his literary offerings appeared in Pitcairn Miscellany the island’s monthly newspaper. He created a world-wide circle of friends by means of the thousands of letters he wrote to them throughout the years.

In the early 1970's, Roy Palmer Clark granted permission to Herbert Ford, director of the Pitcairn Island Study Center, for unrestricted use of his writing. Since then, Ford has successfully defended his unrestricted right to all of Roy's literary output and incorporated a number of items into his own The Miscellany of PItcairn's Island.

--Herbert Ford

["Trip to Oeno Island from Pitcairn"]