John Clark was a black businessman during the late 19th century. He made a fortune as a young man in transportation – selling carts and horses and eventually manufacturing motored four-wheeled buggies. Then he invested in the funeral home business. He was known to be discreet and secretive about both his business and client. Drawing on his previous trade, he was the first funeral home to operate a Hearse automobile. Up to this point the deceased were carried by the hands of pallbearers or in wagons.
Being a pioneer, he was also one of the first men to embalm deceased bodies before burial. Embalming with formaldehyde is a common practice today. Due to the tropical heat his embalming experiments failed and bodies were instead sealed down into boxes with glass lids and ice for refrigeration. This resulted in a condensation on the outside of the glass and coffin, which was used by Obeah men for various things. The called it deadman water.