Harvey Spaulding Clapp was born in Moretown, Vermont, in 1817 to Rufus Clapp and Wealthy Parkhurst Spaulding.
He traveled extensively throughout the Great Lakes as a marble salesman and kept a diary, which, although it consists almost entirely of mundane business transactions, shows him to have possessed an extraordinary intellect. The diary, written in the summer of 1847, follows Harvey from his home in Moretown, Vermont, through New York, Northern Ohio, Michigan, and as far as Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
One fascinating feature of the diary is that he wrote some pages in backwards script – decoding the journal required extensive use of a mirror!
Harvey married Jane Abigail Vandercook in Genesee County, New York, on September 21st, 1849 (shortly after the trip that he documented in his diary). Harvey and Jane eventually moved to Indiana, and had four children:
- Moses Edwin Vail Clapp, born on May 21st, 1851.
- Hiram Clapp, born in 1853.
- William Rufus Clapp, born in 1862.
- Lucy Spaulding Clapp.
The 1850 US census lists Harvey as a farmer, apparently living with the Vandercook family in Indiana. In the 1860 census he is listed as “Dept Register” – he held various minor public offices throughout his life. By 1880 the Clapps had moved to Star Prairie, Wisconsin, and Harvey is listed as a real estate dealer.
Harvey Spaulding Clapp died in 1889 and was buried in St. Croix, Wisconsin.