In that blog comments you'll note that a woman named Denise who is actively searching the Perkins family tree commented several times with a theory, which has taken me (with her help) months to work through.
She sent me this gem from "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, by Newton Bateman, LL.D. & Paul Selby, A.M. (1903) in the sketch about Rollin Waite" (Rollin is a descendant of Mary Ann Perkins, daughter of Thomas Harlow Perkins that I have surmised was Clarence's grandfather).
So William remarried about a year and a half after Clarence's birth and I see the births of many children after that. The census records contain Augusta and Darwin (born to Adeline - Lucinda and John died young) so he obviously took those children with him. Where the hell is Clarence?
Denise suggested to me that I see about getting a yDNA test done on a Perkins descendant. I'm not at all well-versed on DNA testing yet and the yDNA stuff makes my eyes gloss over -but- it does test something passed only from father to son so if I had a candidate he could at least prove that Clarence was or was not a Perkins. From my 2014 blog I mentioned I talked with the wife of Jay Perkins in NY. Their son Danny agreed (thank you Danny!) and Denise contributed toward the cost of the test, with the help of the Perkins group at familytreedna.
The results came back last week. Danny does not match the Perkins line (of which a fair sample has been collected) AND doesn't match the Lathrop line (which admittedly doesn't have as many samples). These results leave me scratching my head. The lack of a match on the Perkins line makes sense if Adeline was his mother but no Lathrop matches possibly rules out William as the father. Danny matches with 6 tests, with the surnames Ames, Comptin, Rankin and Engelen. Obviously the disconnect in the male lines could have happened at any generation, but given the points I've laid out it would appear that Adeline was unfaithful to William and Clarence was a result of that. Yesterday I received an email that solidified to me that Adeline is Clarence's mother:
Not sure where to go with things from here but I'm in the middle of adding William Lathrop's children to my tree in the hopes of another DNA match down the road. If nothing else, a few of them are half-siblings to my ancestor. Hopefully it doesn't take another 4 years to figure out who Clarence's father was :).