Restoration of Clough Cemetery, West Gardiner, Maine
At the 69th Annual Reunion of the John Clough Genealogical Society on 26 September 2009 in Salisbury, Mass., I was intrigued when Clark Whelton told a story about a Quaker branch of the Clough family tree that began when Sarah Estes married Samuel5 Clough (John4, John3, John2, John1), because I too knew that story. Actually, both Clark and I read the story on pages 150-151 of Edith Clough Speare’s (1952) The Genealogy of the Descendants of John Clough of Salisbury, Massachusetts. So I jumped to my feet and asked, “Do you know where Sarah (Estes) Clough is buried?” “No,” he replied. That gave me the opportunity to share with those assembled a remarkable story that I wish to tell again.
The Clough Cemetery in West Gardiner, Maine, was apparently started by Isaiah6 (see photo on previous page), son of Samuel and Sarah, who “came from Durham to what was Litchfield Neck, near the present Friend’s Church (now part of West Gardiner). He moved to a farm near French’s Corner where the Clough Cemetery is…” (Speare, 1952:253). Curious about this cemetery where some of our mother’s mother’s ancestors were buried, my brother Paul Clough (cluff) Johnson and I arranged a visit with Don Clough (clow) in July 2007. He lives and works (Clough Machinery, High Street) only a few miles from the cemetery. He led us along a rarely-traveled path through thick woods to a disused graveyard. We found gravestones of Isaiah (our 3rd great grandfather) and Ira (our 2nd great grandfather), and were surprised to discover the grave of Sarah (Estes) Clough Hall (our 4th great grandmother and the one responsible for turning Samuel and his descendants, for a few generations, into Quakers!). But it was sad to see the poor condition of their stones and of the cemetery. Imagine my surprise, and joy, when I received an email from Don Clough in November 2008 with a link to his web site: http://home.gwi.net/~dic/cloughcemetery.html.
It described his effort to restore the Clough Cemetery by building a road into it (Clough machinery rents road-building equipment, so this was easier for Don than it would be for most of us, but it was still a massive and expensive undertaking for a person who was 78 years old at the time!); clearing the trees, bushes, vines, and poison ivy; restoring the iron fence and gate; and having the stones cleaned and reset. In September 2009, just a few days before the Clough Reunion, my wife Karol Lynn and I visited Don in West Gardiner to see the restored cemetery. The results were truly remarkable, as evidenced by comparing the before (upper) and after (lower) photographs at left. In performing this restoration Don was keeping a promise to his friend Charlie Clough who, before he died in 1989, asked Don to assume responsibility for maintaining the place where he would be buried. The Clough Cemetery is now in beautiful shape, and Don hopes that West Gardiner will assume responsibility for perpetual care. He has moved his son Scotty’s grave to this site, and has arranged to be buried there himself. I encourage you to visit Don Clough’s web site which lists all the burials at this site and describes the process of restoration. I hope some of you will also arrange a visit to this site. To do so, contact Don Clough at Clough Machinery (207-582-1212) or DIC@gwi.net.