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  • Old Family Photo

    Ethel Farrington Smith

    Published Date : December 1986
     Recently while shuffling through some old family photos I came across a turn-of-the-century picture, given to me some years back by a now deceased aunt.  On its back she had written “Henry Clough, brother of John Clough who gave the State Reservation (now Clough State Park, Weare, N.H.).  Henry received the Carnegie medal for saving a child at Old Orchard Beach.  He was a first cousin of Lewis A. Clough.”

    Curiously, about three days later, in sorting a box of papers from my sister’s estate, I found a yellowed news clipping from the Biddeford, Maine, Journal, undated, also telling of Henry and his Carnegie medal, as follows: “STICK PIN IS RECOVERED AFTER TWELVE YEARS. Henry C. Clough of Saco has old relic returned to him by woman.  Henry C. Clough, a molder, who lives on Main St., Saco, and is the happy possessor of a Carnegie medal for saving a woman from being killed at Old Orchard a few years ago, was greatly surprised Monday when he was approached by a woman who wanted to know if he remembered losing a stick pin a dozen or more years ago.  The woman then brought forth the pin and Mr. Clough readily identified it.  The pin had been found in the Boston & Maine yard.  It is not a valuable pin but is highly prized by the Saco man.  The woman refused to accept any reward, stating that she was only too glad to give it to the rightful owner.”

    The information above posed two questions. First, did Henry save a child from drowning or did he save an adult female from being struck down by a train?  And second, was his address really Saco, Maine, while my memory told me clearly that in the 1920s and 30s he resided in West Manchester, N.H.?  I never met Henry but knew his older brother John well, and heard John speak of stopping to see Henry in West Manchester many times when en route to visit my home in another part of the city.  The two-volume Genealogy of the Descendants of John Clough of Salisbury, Massachusetts, compiled by Eva Clough Speare (1966), gave no clarification though it did list the brothers and their half-brother, Albion, all descended from John1 through Thomas2, Zaccheus3, Jabez4, Daniel5, a Revolutionary War soldier, Daniel6, and Daniel7. Henry was born in 1850.

    A trip to the local library produced the 1984 edition of the World Book where, on page 179, there was a description of the Andrew Carnegie Hero Fund, founded in 1904, together with its address in Pittsburgh. A letter seeking information brought a prompt and fruitful reply, together with a brochure describing the founding and purpose of the fund.  It was established by Andrew Carnegie “to recognize outstanding acts of selfless heroism performed in the US and Canada.”  He was concerned over the tragic events of the Hardwick Mine disaster that year, which took the lives of 178 men and boys, and caused untold distress among the survivors.  A five million dollar fund was created, while Mr. Carnegie specified that each hero, or next of kin, was to receive a medal reciting the heroic deed it commemorated, and carrying the Biblical quotation “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Arrangements were made for monetary awards also, to heros, their widows or dependents “for support, education or other worthy purposes.”  Requirements are stringent: evidence must be conclusive and is carefully evaluated.  The person must have voluntarily risked his or her life in saving or attempting to save the life of another.

    The record shows that Henry dough was the 1,286th person to win a Carnegie Hero Medal, and that to date approximately 7,000 have been awarded.  The record, in the Fund’s annual report, states: “Henry Clough, aged sixty-three, crossing watchman, saved an unidentified woman from being killed by a train at Old Orchard, Maine, August 13, 1913.  A woman stepped on a track on which a train was approaching at a speed of thirty-five miles an hour.  Clough sprang on the track, grasped the woman, and pushed her on across, clearing the path of the engine barely in time to avoid being struck.  Awarded Bronze Medal and $500.00 for a worthy purpose as needed.”  The Unspecified Betterment Case Record gives Henry’s address, exact date of birth, occupation, dates of act and award, and information about the incident.  The Home Purchase Case Record gives description and location of property, and pertinent information. From these facts, we find that Henry took his award and added it to his savings in order to leave Saco and purchase a home at 101 McDuffie St., Manchester, N.H., the deed being recorded on 10 April 1923.

    A scan of other cases presented along with Henry Clough’s shows a variety of dramatic episodes in widely scattered states.  Names and places are clearly stated.  It would seem indicated, then, that any researcher whose relative or ancestor was involved in a life-saving act should check with the Carnegie Hero Fund in hope of obtaining full details of the event.

    Below is our second Ahnentafel, or Ancestor Table, of a current NEHGS member, in this case Dr. Daniel Turner of Cranston, Rhode Island.  Places below are birthplaces, and asterisks indicate that the ancestor appears more than once in the table.  We welcome a few such tables for publication in future issues, but we wish to emphasize that ancestor tables should be compiled after most research in printed and readily available primary sources is completed, not while it is still in progress.  In particular we hope that each Ahnentafel compiler can spend a few days or more in our library, combing those sources here that might extend his or her ancestry through the first 10 or 12 generations, back to the immigrant ancestors.  As with other NEXUS articles, however, we welcome correspondence from fellow members sharing the same lines, and we will publish any additions and corrections.

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