John Thompson who was born in Bedale, North Yorkshire, England in 1871 – relocated to Galveston in the USA.
Where he changed his name to J.T. Clark and married Bertha Ritchie the tattooed lady – who went by the show name Princess Beatrice and who had a portrait of George Washington on her chest and a rendition of the last supper tattooed on her back – as well as having various other tattoos on her arms. With much of her work having been put on by Clark himself, who was her second husband.
Later Clark ended up in South Africa fighting in the Boer War (1899-1902) after which he opened a tattoo shop and at one time an amusement arcade at 31a Rissik Street, Johannesburg – where not only did he employ tattooed oddities to exhibit themselves – it was also the location where Britains George Burchett ran a tattooing studio after he and Clark (of whom Burchett referred to as Alfred in his book Memoirs Of A Tattooist) went into partnership together.
J.T. Clark also tattooed at 30a Simmonds Street (Johannesburg) at one time – and had many tattoos himself – including a portrait of the SA president Paul Kruger (even-though Clark was English) tattooed on the top of his head in which he would show in exhibitions to make ends meet. He also sold tattoo kits and even tattooed identity numbers on Whippets (dogs) for the South African Whippet league. It’s also believed that he tattooed all over the world including Cape Town, Durban, Sydney in Australia and in London, England, but it is not known whether or not Bertha joined him on his travels.
J.T. Clark died on the 14th of April 1918, from a prolonged illness he contracted during in the Boer War.