Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 328-32.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  John Franklin Clough

John Franklin Clough, who is a well known and successful representative of the agricultural interests of Buena Vista county, was born in Clayton county, Iowa, on the 3d of October, 1859, his parents being Gardner and Laura (Joslyn) Clough.  The paternal grandparents were Jabez and Lotty (Capron) Clough, the former born June 5, 1794, and the latter February 7, 1796.  They were married on the 10th of August, 1818, and the record of their children is as follows: Elnora, whose birth occurred January 17, 1819, was united in marriage to Jacob K. Trask on the 19th of January, 1842, and passed away October 24, 1859.  Gardner, the father of our subject, of whom further mention is made below, was born August 23, 1820, and wedded Miss Laura Joslyn on the 31st of October, 1846.  Hiram, whose natal day was May 9, 1822, married Miss Phebe Barrett on the 8th of March, l846.  Elcina W., who first opened her eyes to the light of day on the 3d of April, 1824, became the wife of Septy Waite on the 3d of September, 1850.  Edward A., born December 11, 1825, was joined in wedlock to Miss Happlonia Austin on the 7th of December, 1846.  Marcellus, born September 15, 1827, was twice married.  On the 30th of August, 1854, he wedded Miss Mary Young, who was called to her final rest December 23, 1870, and on the 23d of October, 1875, he was again married, his second union being with Amy Rice, who passed away April 25, 1894.  Sarah I., born September 28, 1829, became the wife of Walter Levendol on the 3d of September, 1850, and passed away September 30, 1864.  Fanny M., who was born March 15, 1832, gave her hand in marriage to Edwin Hartwell on the 4th of November, I852, and died October 20, 1855.  Jabez Clough, the father of this family, was called to the home beyond on the 4th of July, 1872, while the demise of his wife had occurred June 19, 1868.


Gardner and Laura (Joslyn) Clough, the parents of John Franklin Clough, who were natives of Vermont, were married in the Green Mountain state and in the early '50s made the journey westward.  They settled first near Decorah, Winneshiek county, Iowa, where they entered a preemption claim of one hundred and sixty acres.  About four years later, however, Mr. Clough sold his interests in Winneshiek county and removed to Clayton county, where he remained for about two years.  At the end of that time, in 1862, he had made arrangements to engage in the milling business on the Iowa river in Allamakee county, but as the struggle between the north and the south steadily grew more determined and sanguinary he resolved to put aside all business and personal considerations and .strike a blow in defense of the Union.  On the 25th of August, 1862, he enlisted as a member of Company I, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by A. J. Smith.  His service included active participation in the battles of Shiloh, Vicksburg Landing, Bull Run, the siege of Vicksburg, the Red River expedition and the engagements at Pleasant Hill and Holly Springs.  He was honorably discharged in the fall of 1865 and then returned to his family in Waukon, Iowa, where they had been living during the war.


Mr. Clough spent the winter there and in the spring of 1866 came with his family to the Little Sioux in Buena Vista county, Iowa, securing a government claim on the southwest quarter of section 20.  Here he was confronted by the dangers, hardships and privations of frontier life and found the arduous existence of a pioneer doubly hard, as his health had already been undermined by his long service in the army, during which time he had undergone the exposure and fatigue of long, weary marches and many of the experiences of war in its most cruel aspect.  He entered the army a strong, robust man, of youthful appearance, and at the close of the war returned home with greatly impaired health and gray hair.  Though coming of a long-lived race of people, the exigencies of war and pioneer life proved too much for his constitution and he passed away on the 27th of February, 1877, when but fifty-seven years of age.  As long as memory remains to the American people they will cherish and honor the record of those who responded to the call of patriotism in the darkest hour of our country's history and who sacrificed so much for the supremacy of the Union.


For the first few years after their arrival in Buena Vista county, Mr. Clough and his family lived in a sod shanty and the nearest market was at Fort Dodge—a distance of seventy-five miles across the unbroken prairie.  The sod house was finally replaced with a more comfortable and commodious dwelling, and gradually more settlers came to the county and the land was being cultivated and improved.  Mr. Clough always took an active interest in public affairs and for four years served as county supervisor.  The eleven years during which he resided here was the period in which the county was being opened up to civilization and when the early settler, even though possessed of indomitable energy and courage, often found the struggle for a livelihood a most difficult one.  Just as the tide was turning and the pioneers were beginning to enjoy the fruits of their persistency and labor, he was called to his final rest, thus being denied the pleasure of witnessing the growth and development of the community in whose upbuilding he had taken such an important part.  His wife, however, survived him for a number of years, passing away on the 17th of February, 1901, when seventy-two years of age.  Unto this worthy couple were born four children:  Aldine, who married Adelia Ryder and resides in Salem, Oregon; Fred, who wedded Miss Sophia Bancoast and makes his home in Everly, Iowa; John Franklin, of this review; and William, who married Miss Rose Wengirt and resides on the old homestead where his birth occurred.


John Franklin Clough accompanied his parents on their removal to this county and lived on the old homestead farm here for thirty-five years.  He was seventeen years of age at the time of his father's death and upon him and his younger brother, William, devolved the support of the family.  For several years the brothers gave their time and energies to the cultivation of the home place and brought it under a high state of improvement, making it a valuable and productive property.  In 1900 John F. Clough purchased and located on his present farm, comprising the northwest quarter of section 18, Lee township, where he has a comfortable home beautifully situated amid a grove of trees.  He is well known as a prosperous and progressive agriculturist of the county and richly merits the esteem and confidence which is uniformly accorded him.


In 1886 Mr. Clough was united in marriage to Miss Nettie L. Langdon, a daughter of Samuel Porter and Nancy (Emery) Langdon, natives of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania respectively.  Soon after the marriage of the parents, which had been celebrated in Boone county, Illinois, about 1841, they removed to Columbia county, Wisconsin, where they resided for about six years.  On the expiration of that period they went to Crawford county, Wisconsin, and in the spring of 1873 came to Buena Vista county, Iowa, living for a time in Storm Lake and then taking up their abode on a farm near Sioux Rapids.  Samuel P. Langdon passed away on the 29th of May, 1880, and his wife was called to the home beyond on the 2d of February, 1893.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clough have been born three children:  Nellie Augusta, Isa Emily and Aura Blanche.


In his political views Mr. Clough is a stanch republican and fraternally is connected with the Odd Fellows lodge, No. 551, at Sioux Rapids.  His life has been one of continuous activity, in which has been accorded due recognition of labor and today he is numbered among the substantial citizens of his county.