Joel Barbour Clough was an important figure in our nation’s development, as he was the construction engineer for railroads in every part of the country. For a few years of his life, he live in or owned land in St. Louis Park.

Clough was born in Massachusetts in 1823, and took a BS degree from Wesleyan University, Connecticut in 1848. Right out of college he began working for railroads – in Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Joel married Mary Annie Peirce on July 12, 1854 in Buffalo, New York. The marriage certificate said that he was living in Mississippi at the time, but that his bride, Mary Annie, was living in Wisconsin. Mary Annie was born in 1822 in Massachusetts. She died in 1898 in Minneapolis, and is buried at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis.

Three of the Cloughs’ four children were born in the south:

Mary Estella Clough was born in 1855 in Mississippi.

Frank Peirce Clough was born in 1858 in Tennessee.

Ernest John Child Clough was born in 1860 in Tennessee.

At the advent of the Civil War, family lore is that they took the last riverboat up the Mississippi, landing in Minnesota. They first lived at Hazelwood Farm, Hopkins Station, from 1861-63. Daughter Florence Augusta Clough was born in 1862 in Minnesota.

In 1862, JB Clough bought a claim in section 17, St. Louis Park. This land was located just west of where the Creosote factory would be – Louisiana Oaks today.

Clough earned the rank of Colonel in the war, where he served as an engineer from 1863 until 1864 when he was honorable discharged for poor health. He returned to Minnesota, perhaps his farm in St. Louis Park, to recover from his illness. From 1866 to 1868 he served as construction engineer for the Hastings and Dakota railroad line.

From 1869-1870 and 1874-75, Clough served as the Minneapolis city engineer and street commissioner, and is credited with the development of the Minneapolis boulevard system and house numbering. During this time he lived at 10th and Hennepin in Minneapolis, but apparently still had land in St. Louis Park and/or Hopkins.

From 1870 to 1871 he was construction engineer for Minneapolis and St. Louis, and from 1872 to 1873 he was the construction engineer for the Northern Pacific.

The 1874 map shows that J.B. Clough owned property with two houses in Section 17 in St. Louis Park. The property was bounded by 34th and 38 (Division), Texas and Pennsylvania. He apparently also had a home in town called the “Linden House,” at 1302 Linden Ave. He kept his St. Louis Park farm until 1879, and lived in the Linden House until he left town in 1881.

An undated map shows that J.B. Clough owned 122 acres in Section 17, bounded by 32nd Street, Texas, Walker, Pennsylvania, 34th Street, and Louisiana. In 1888, the land in Section 17 was part of 1,700 acres purchased by the Minneapolis Land and Investment Company).

From 1876 to 1877, Clough worked for the Minnesota Northern Railroad, and from 1877 to 1878 he was again the Minneapolis City Engineer.

It was apparently 1881 when Clough went west; he is not included in an 1881 list of local residents. For the rest of his life, he worked as a construction engineer for the Northern Pacific in Montana.

Col. Clough died suddenly of pneumonia at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Helena, Montana, on August 2, 1887. He is buried at Lakewood Cemetery.

Two other Cloughs with question marks:

In 1889, an E.P. Clough owned 85.58 acres in section 18, just west of J.B. Clough’s former land. (Between Texas and Aquila, 34th and 36th). This may have been son Ernest, although his middle name was John.

There is also a reference on the back of a painting to an Estelle Clough, “daughter of Colonel Clough who drove the gold spike in the first railroad track to the west coast.”