John Clough, current President and JCGS Bulletin Editor, recently forwarded an article titled “The Ark of Maine and the Misogynist of Cape Neddick” he found at SoMeOldNews– Surpringing Southern Maine History. That site is run by Sharon Cummins, who writes the weekly Old News column in the York County Coast Star. Originally published in May 2009, this article describes Albion Clough as a “self-proclaimed, World’s Champion Woman-Hater who lived in a converted boat on Cape Neddick’s River Road from 1936 to 1944.”
Albion Clough (Daniel 7-6-5, Jabez, Zacheus, Thomas, John), #2153, was born 16 Jun 1864 in Auburn, NH to Daniel Clough and Angeline Riddle and is found on page 70 of The Genealogy of the Descendants of John Clough of Salisbury, MA, Volume II- 1966. Albion had two older brothers; John (B. 1847) and Henry (B. 1850). As a name, Albion is of Latin and Celtic origin- the meaning is white rock or crag.
Albion appears in a few of the US Census records:
- The 1880 Federal Census lists him as 16 yo, living in Weare, NH with his father Daniel (then 63 yo) and step-mother Sarah T. (then 45 yo). His father is listed as a stone mason while his step-mother kept house.
Albion first married Emma Hopkins (B. 1862), daughter of William Hopkins, on 21 Nov 1883 in Goffstown Centre, New Hampshire. At the time, he was 19 years old (she was 22) and listed his profession as Taxidermist and she, a box maker. They divorced 15 Apr 1893. It appears one daughter was produced by this marriage (Esther Pearl) on 5 Jan 1890. As an aside, Esther appears to have married Charles Edward Bowen, son of William L Bowen, on 6 Apr 1910.
In 1891, it’s believed that Albion was working as a watchman when he was savagely attacked. As noted in the Boston Journal (Boston, MA), Volume: LVIII, Issue 19093, Page 3 (see below left picture):
He then married Eleanor Lambert, daughter of Harrison Cook, in Northampton, MA on 25 Jul 1899. It was her first marriage. He was 35, she 29. They appear to have had two children Nelson (B. 1902) and Byron (B. 1905).
It’s somewhat unknown how long his second marriage actually lasted, for as Cummins reports in her article, “Albion Clough told anyone who would listen that he had walked away from a lucrative fishing camp business in Brighton, Maine to escape his second wife, Eleanor’s caustic disposition.” Further, “…his contention that “women prefer dummies” smacks of sour grapes in light of the fact that, contrary to Albion’s claims, Eleanor had actually left him…”
- The 1910 Federal Census lists Albion as 35 yo. Eleanor is listed as living with him (then 39 yo) at this time, as is his step-mother, Sarah T, (then 77 yo) as are his two sons- Nelson (then 7 yo) and Byron (then 4 yo).
- The 1920 Federal Census lists Albion as a farmer, 55 yo, living in Brighton Plantation, ME with his step-mother Sarah T. (then 85 yo), son Nelson (then 17 yo) and son Byron (then 14 yo).
- Somewhat surprisingly, his marital status is listed as married, yet his wife Eleanor is not listed as occupying the premises- which appears to tie to the belief Eleanor had since moved out and on (somewhere between the 1910 census and this one- note: she is believed to be buried in the North Brewer, ME Cemetery- see this Find A Grave listing for a picture of the stone).
- Additional note: the 1920 census report for Eleanor shows her living in Harmony, ME, making her living as a nurse, and also shows Byron living with her. So at some point during the census taking, Byron either moved from his mother to his father, or vice versa.
- The 1940 Federal Census lists Albion as 75 yo. At this point, he is listed as being divorced and living in York, ME with an occupation of painter.
Lest you think this was an obscure relative who shunned the world, he actually became quite famous. Cummins article goes on to say, “He played the organ, the banjo, the guitar and reportedly had a beautiful tenor voice. Though referred to as a hermit, he was exceedingly sociable. In 1937, popular radio personality Phillips Lord invited him to star on an episode of NBC’s “We, the People” and the hermit jumped at the chance.” A little digging turned up the May 1937 Radio Mirror, Vol. 8 No. 1. On page 36, the “Fame for Five Minutes” spread reveals a picture of Albion (see below gallery) .
Albion also had his pictured included in the 30 Nov 1940 Lewiston (ME) Evening Journal under the heading Musical Hermit of Cape Neddick Entertains Callers.
Update: I recently came across another blog post on Albion located at Dull Tool Dim Bulb. Check it out as it includes a couple of good pictures of Albion.
Albion was referenced as well in the May 1, 1958, Vol. 13 No. 1 JCGS Bulletin. If you’re a member, please check the Bulletin Archive. If you’re not, please join us. Members have full access to PDF copies of the Bulletins the Society is currently in the process of digitizing.
“New Hampshire Marriage Records 1637–1947.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011. “New Hampshire Statewide Marriage Records 1637–1947,” database, FamilySearch, 2009. New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records. “Marriage Records.” New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord.