Samuel Clements, “Intox.Driv” 1 March 1937

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Hugh Clements, Samuel’s father, was born in Ireland in 1880. He came to New Castle as a boy and got work in the first tin mill in town when it was opened by the Greer brothers in 1893. Within a year of his marriage to Pearl Toy of Edinburg he had become a father and had appeared in court on charges of assault and desertion that were brought by his wife. The judge ordered him to move his family out of his parents’ house, where they had moved after the wedding and bound the couple to live in a home of their own, according to the following advice: “Both forgive and forget; make your dwelling a home for both of you and overlook small matters.”

Hugh stayed at the tin mill for forty years. When he was pensioned in 1937, he and Pearl moved out to the old Flynn farm at Parkstown Corners in Union township, which had become available when the Flynns grew too old to run the business and had no one to pass it on to as their only son, Charles, had died in a fall from an apple tree on the property at the age of thirty-nine.

Hugh Clements had been in charge of the farm just six months when he was killed. He was jolted from the tractor that was hauling in his first crop of wheat from the field, and the back wheel ran over his head, crushing his skull. Pearl went to live with her son, Samuel, who worked in the Republic Steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio.

The year before his father died, Samuel had crashed his car into another car on Long avenue and spent a month in jail for driving while intoxicated—the crime for which his mug shot was taken. Samuel and his mother lived together until the war, when Samuel was sent to Europe to work as a topographical surveyor in the army. After he returned home, Samuel and his mother moved to New Castle, where he found work as an electrician’s helper in the B&O railroad yards. He never married.

Samuel was forty-one years old when he spilled gasoline down the front of his overalls while he was filling up a tractor crane in the workshop. He went into an empty room that was used by electricians and, seconds later, ran back into the workshop with his clothing on fire. His fellow workers were unable to extinguish the flames until his clothes had been virtually burned from him. He suffered third-degree burns over his entire body and died three days later in the Jameson Memorial hospital.

Samuel’s mother arranged for him to be buried with military rites—a colour guard, riflemen and bugler. She went to live with her daughter, Gertrude, and died in 1964, at the age of eighty-one.

Sources: 25 Sep 1901, “Clements-Toy Nuptials”; 10 Dec 1902, “Court’s Decree In A Surety Of Peace Case”; 14 Oct 1922, “C H Flynn Is Killed In Fall From Apple Tree”; 2 March 1937, “Driver Is Held After Accident”; 4 June 1937, “Sentences Are Imposed Today”; 20 July 1938, “Union Township Farmer Is Killed”; 12 April 1945, “In US Armed Service”; 11 Feb 1949, “Man Sustains Critical Burns”; 14 Feb 1949, “Burns Fatal To B And O Worker”; 18 Feb 1949, “Clements Funeral”; 6 Aug 1964, “Deaths Of The Day”


  1. An excellent piece as usual.

    One HAS to wonder about a fall from an apple tree at age 39.
    Was he harvesting apples or was it as whimsically tragic as as it sounds.


    • Yes, it’s most intriguing. I haven’t climbed a tree in years, and I’m certainly not going to start doing it again; I’m very nearly thirty-nine myself!

  2. Emily says

    This is actually my Grandmother’s uncle, which would make him my great great uncle.

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