Clarence H. St.John ╔tats-Unis Clarence H. St. John did not leave very many clues behind about his life, so frustratingly little can be found on this musician who turned out very few, yet very notable gems during the ragtime era. The following is the best information to date that our research has shown to be likely accurate. He was born just after the 1880 census in Berrien Springs, Michigan, to Luther St. John and Betsy Hoard. The 1900 census showed him living in Oronoko near present day Berrien Springs in the southwest corner of the state, with his profession listed as a musician. That notion may have lasted for close to a decade, during which three of his six known pieces were released by St. Louis-based publisher John Stark.
Since John Stark himself was based in New York City during this period (the company was still in St. Louis), it is very likely that the pieces were submitted by mail, and there is correspondence to support this contention. Why they were sent to Stark instead of local Detroit publisher Jerome H. Remick is unclear, since the quality of his work was unlikely to have been rejected by Remick.cole smoak cover Surviving correspondence between Clarence and the Stark company does not reveal any clues to this choice. However, it is plausible that St. John may have had more regard for the Stark catalog and wanted to be a part of it. Certainly the hyperbole that Stark applied to his innovative pieces like Cole Smoak and Meddlesome Rag were encouraging. (Hide extended text) ... (Read all) Source : Wikipedia