History of the Village of Cloughville in Hopkinton, New Hampshire
by Sylvia Clough Willoughby
It was in the year 1806 James Clough 4 and his son William Clough 5 bought 360 acres of forest land of Nathaniel Appleton Have and John Pierce, both of Portsmouth, Mass., a committee of the Proprietors of Masons Patent appointed by their vote at a legal meeting held at Portsmouth, Jan 1, 1806.
It was situated in the west part of Hopkinton near a beautiful lake, and said to be all the land in that Section which had not been sold. James and his son William moved onto the land and built a cabin in which to live, also a mill. They then cut down the forest and cleared the land preparatory to building a home. In due time they accomplished their task and the little village was called Cloughville and the Lake Clough Pond.
For many, many years this little village was owned and carried on by the Generations of Cloughs. Some were carpenters, shoemakers, printers, and all farmed, and every generation worked in the mill where they sawed logs with an old fashioned up and down saw. They made wooden tubs in which those days were called kits.
My Great Grandfather Charles Clough, William's youngest son was a fine carpenter, made bedsteads, lightstands, tables, carts, hay rakes. He had a small shop with a sign out front as that was what they were called in those days. They also at one time had a thrashing machine that run by water-power, and farmers from far and near brought their grain to be thrashed as many of the farmers in those days raised their rye, wheat, corn, and other grains.
Joseph Clough and Sylvia, his sister, were the last of the Cloughs to own Cloughville. They never married and this had always been their home. In 1910 Clough Pond was officially changed to Jo-Sylvia Lake for my Great Uncle Jo & Aunt Sylvia who were the last to own Cloughville.
It was not until 1917, after the death of Joseph, and Sylvia went to live with her sister, Josie Duston, who was the mother of Artie Duston, that Cloughville was sold to NY Gentlemen, Mr. Price and Mr. Pick, who established a Jewish Boys camp. It was then that the name Cloughville was changed to Camp Merrimack.
Sylvia Clough Willoughby is the great granddaughter of Charles Clough whose grandfather James Clough was the founder of Cloughville. Sylvia lives in Contoocook, NH and has a cabin across Joe-Sylvia Lake, also known as Clement Pond. Many other relatives of the Cloughs still reside in Contoocook and the surrounding towns.
Cloughville Becomes a Youth Camp
As Ms. Clough Willoughby describes in her history of Cloughville, two gentlemen from New York state began a camp for Jewish boys called Camp Merrimac. They ran Camp Merrimac until the mid-1950s when Mr. Werner Rothchild and Mr. Robert Martin purchased the property. Keeping the name Camp Merrimac, they continued to run a general summer camp program. In addition, being physical education teachers, they began the New England Hockey School and Figure skating camps. Youth would travel by bus to Concord, NH to the Everett Area for ice time. Nearing retirement, Mr. Rothchild and Mr. Martin wanted the property to remain a youth facility. They were searching for a buyer who would continue youth programs.
The Metropolis of Boston Purchases Camp Merrimack
Until 1995, the Metropolis of Boston was conducting its summer and winter camp programs in rented facilities throughout New England. In 1995, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, appointed a Blue Ribbon Committee and charged the committee to find a site suitable for year-round programs for children and adults. The committee visited and evaluated dozens of sites throughout New England and recommended what was then known as Camp Merrimack in the old village of Cloughville in Contoocook, NH. In September of 1998, the Metropolis purchased the 191- acre property. Finally, the faithful of the Metropolis of Boston had their new home. In July of 1999, Metropolitan Methodios began a program to winterize four cabins and to improve and expand the existing facilities. Appreciating Metropolitan Methodios' vision and efforts, the faithful, parishes and individuals, responded, with generous donations. A state of the art water system including two artesian wells and new waste water system was designed and installed. The dining room was renovated, winterized, and a brand new kitchen was added. With the four new cabins, dining facility, and extensive infrastructure, the retreat center was now functional year round. The next building prepared for year-round use was the multifunction Recreation Center.
Clearly, the center needed a chapel. Therefore, Metropolitan Methodios decided to make the an old barn the chapel. This structure was expanded 16 feet to accommodate a new sanctuary and with extensive renovations the chapel now seats approximately 200 people. A bell tower was also added to enhance the aesthetic facade and to make space for a bell that will beckon the faithful to the divine services. The new iconostasis, along with icons and with icons throughout the chapel have also been added.
Each summer, the youth camp program attracts hundreds of young people from throughout New England, indeed from throughout America. Children participate in a myriad of well planned activities which include a variety of sports, Greek music, dancing and culture, arts and crafts, and, of course, catechetical instruction. The children's living and sleeping space became the next priority. Following a generous ten-year pledge, Metropolitan Methodios guided construction of much needed new cabins. Five new cabins were erected and furnished for year round use.
Besides being the home for the Boston Metropolis Summer and Winter Camps, the Camp and Retreat Center also hosts a number of other retreats. Orthodox parishes hold weekend retreats for youth and families. Senior citizen groups come for a day of fellowship and retreat. Each September, the Metropolis sponsors an Open House which brings together hundreds of people from throughout New England who worship in the chapel and witness the blessing of the waters service during which Metropolitan Methodios, assisted by many clergy, throws the cross into the lake in celebration of the Feast of Holy Cross. Enthusiastic campers dive to retrieve the cross.
Also holding their programs in this beautiful facility are, Hellenic College-Holy Cross, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church of America and the Armenian Church. The Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ, and the New Hampshire Council of Churches all use the facility for retreats and gatherings. The center has also hosts many community organizations and local schools.
Metropolitan Methodios' and the Camp and Retreat Center Committee's plan for the future is the construction of a lodge on the property overlooking the lake. The lodge will be comprised of 30 rooms with private accommodations for families, couples, individuals, clergy and laity. With the construction of such a building many more faithful of all ages will participate in spiritual retreats in the beautiful New Hampshire woods.
The 191 acre Camp and Retreat Center with two lakes and rolling hills is in Hopkinton, NH. It is open year-round for conferences and retreats for churches, clergy, laity, individuals, family, friends, community groups, and other organizations. It is a place where you can go to find what you are searching for. A place where the morning dew awakens yours senses as the sun slowly rises above the trees. A place where you can hear the hymn of laughter in the distance that echoes across the lake. A place where you can smell and taste the fresh air in one deep breath. As day welcomes night, it is a place where you watch the stars greet you across the sky. A place where you feel alive, and your search is over.