Clark Wayne was a native of Jane Lew, West Virginia, a town
he that had a population of about 500 back in 1919. In an
article attributed to him in August 1949 in WIBW Round-Up, he
noted he started his education at McWhorter, WV but he attended
various schools as he grew up because his dad was a coal miner
and the family would move to "greener pastures" every so often
as he put it.
For many country musicians back then, music came into their life at
an early age and for Clark it was no exception. He said he first
started playing the mandolin, then moved on to the violin, which
he said he played cello style due to the short arms he said he had.
Then, when he was just seven years old, he and his brother started playing
as a team and played at the local picnics, square dances and school
Clark's first radio broadcast was over what he called the "...old type
carbon mikes" at a radio station in Fairmont, West Virginia (We think
he's probably referring to WMMN.)
Along about 1931, he got the itch to learn how to play a guitar, so
he ordered one from a mail order outlet. He didn't take any music
lessons, but his brother Chuck and "lots of practice" helped
him become good enough to start playing the guitar.
As time went on with his guitar playing, Clark and his brothers
formed a trio using the name "The Plainsmen" and were broadcasting
over the station in Fairmont, WV. The group included Clark and Chuck
playing the guitar while Max played the bass fiddle. He said they
were a good group, but they weren't making that much money but were
getting some "...valuable experience." This stint at the station
in Fairmont appears to be around the mid-1930s.
Clark then mentioned that he joined up with a group called "Doc
Schneider's Texans" in 1937 as he had decided it was time to do
some travelling. He toured the Atlantic Coast, from the swamps in
Florida up to the northern border areas near Canada. They'd go
to a town and get a spot on a local radio station and stay there
a while and then move on to another town.
He returned to Fairmont in 1940, but he found out that his brother
was at WIBW in Topeka, Kansas, so he headed out west and when he
got there on June 2, 1940, his brother was just getting ready to
leave on a two week vacation. Miss Maudie asked Clark to fill
in for Chuck. And he was so good, that when his brother got back,
they asked him to become a part of the cast.
Topeka was also where he met his wife, the former Louanna
Nedeau of Topeka, who became his wife on December 28, 1940.
They had a daughter, Judith Louise on March 31, 1942 and another
daughter Sharon Denise was born on September 19, 1943.
On January 8, 1945, Clark joined the military service. During that
time he mentioned he traveld for about 17 months, from Leavenworth
to Camp Roberts in California to Oahu in Hawaii. But he didn't give
up the music during that time as he played with a few bands during
that time and played with a few small combos while in Hawaii.
Clark returned to civilian life in July of 1946 and after he took
a short vacation, went back to work at WIBW.
Credits & Sources
- WIBW Round-Up; August 1949;
Published by WIBW Round-Up; Topeka, Kansas