Family had share of railroaders

By Lynn Moncus: Comments from the Canyons

Although this woman from lma has rarely written about the railroad heritage in our family we certainly had our share of railroaders.

Mother’s father, Frank Clough, was Superintendent of Bridges, Buildings, and Waterworks between here and El Paso when he worked for the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad in the early part of last century. He and Grandmother Clough moved to San Marcial, New Mexico around the turn of the century so Grandfather could work on the railroad there and could help with the building of the new railroad to Tucumcari, to Dawson, and even help with the building of “The Cloud Climbing Railroad” to Cloudcroft.

In 1907, the Cloughs moved to Tucumcari so he could continue his work. He continued such work until being transferred to El Paso in 1924, but he was known mostly for his work on the bridges between here and El Paso. He continued to travel back and forth until he became ill. While in Tucumcari, the Cloughs built their home on Aber Street and had their three daughters, including my mother.

Also, while they were living here, Grandmother Clough’s brother-in-law, Frank Beckett,an executive on the railroad between here and Kansas City, his wife, and family moved to Tucumcari and built a home on First Street. They were later transferred to Kansas, but Uncle Frank continued to work between places as he rode in his private car.

Grandfather Clough helped Dad get a job in the railroad yards in El Paso after he and Mother married in 1925. Dad stayed in that area as long as he could, but the canyons at lma were too much in his blood to permit him to continue that work. He and Mother then homesteaded at Ima.

Clough, my brother, became interested in law enforcement at an early age, worked on the city force for a while, was a deputy sheriff briefly, and then became a special agent on the Southern Pacific Railroad. He began that career here but was transferred to El Paso along with the many railroaders when the big move came about. He retired from that position but never lost touch with the railroad or with law enforcement in this county.

Our family had a little to do with the building of our railroad and with that major part of the history of Quay County. Although I was not privileged to know Grandfather Clough, I feel sure I would have liked him because I listened to many stories about him as told by people who worked with him and by Mother. I was privileged to know Uncle Frank and certainly enjoyed many pleasant visits with him and his wife as they visited our home frequently after we moved to town. Of course, my big brother was my hero when I was a child and known as his “bratty little sister.”