Robert Clark Cragin

Descended from:

Orlando Cragin &

Moses Cragin &

Benjamin Cragin &

Cragin &

Cragin &

Cragin &

Melinda Christie


Mercy Robbins

Judith Barker

Deborah Skelton

Sarah Dawes


The youngest child of Orlando and Melinda (Christie) Cragin, Robert Clark Cragin was born on June 6, 1844 in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. The family moved to Jaffrey, New Hampshire (possibly from New Ipswich, Greenville or Rindge, NH) about 1848, where Orlando farmed on Lot 18, Range 9.

Siblings of Robert Clark:

In the US Federal Census (Cheshire County, Jaffrey, New Hampshire) for 1850 and 1860, Robert Clark was living with Orlando Cragin (his father) and family.

The 1850 census listed him as Clark C. Cragin while the 1860 census listed him as Robert C. Cragin.

Very little is known of Clark's youth. He possibly attended school at the Union Hall which, dedicated on July 4, 1854, housed the district 2 elementary school as well as the Conant High School. His father contributed financially to the district 2 school system.

Union Hall, Jaffrey, New Hampshire

It is also possible he learned some woodworking from his father, who, besides farming, manufactured shingles and trays.



Clark Cragin

Company Muster-in Roll for the 5th NH Infantry shows Clark's age as 18. In reality, at the age of 17, he enlisted into Company D, 5th Regiment of the New Hampshire Volunteers on October 23, 1861 as a private. His term of service was for three years. He was then transferred "by order of Col. E.E. Cross" to Company F on October 31, 1861 (Nov. - Dec. 1861 Company Muster Roll). He served under Captain Albert G. Cummings.

The Fifth Regiment was known as the Fighting Fifth.

Although Clark's name does not appear in the following books, they record the Fifth's involvement during the Civil War. For further reading:

Fifth Regiment NH Volunteers by William Child

Stand Firm and Fire Low, the Civil War Writings of Colonel Edward E. Cross edited by Walter Holden, William Ross, and Elizabeth Slomba

My Brave Boys To War with Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth by Mike Pride and Mark Travis.

Letters From A Civil War Surgeon by Dr. William Child

When Robert Clark enlisted in the Infantry, he enlisted as Clark Cragin. An explanation to the Pension Bureau states:

Carthage Mo.

June 4th 1898
Welsly Evans
Commisioner of Pensions
Washington, DC

Dear Sir

My full name is Robert Clark Cragin
When I enlisted the Recruiting Officer
only took my middle name as that
was the one my People alwas called
me by.
Respectfully yours

Clark Cragin


Company Muster Rolls indicate the following:

January - October 1862 shows Clark "Present"

November and December 1862: Absent, sick in General Hospital.

January-February 1863: Absent in Jaffrey, NH on sick furlough since February 1, 1863.

Issued by Drake De Kay, Assistant Adjutant General, was a furlough where, " 40 Days is granted to Private Clark Cragin of Co. F, 5th Regiment N.H. Vols. On Surgeon's certificate of disability by reason of ILLNESS on expiration of which time he will report in person to the Surgeon in charge of the Hospital in which he now is, or be considered a deserter." Clark was at the St Aloysuis Hospital.

Notes from St Aloysuis Hospital dated Jan 28th, 1863 declare the "subsistance has been furnished to Pvt C. Cragin to the 1st of February 1863. He is going to Winchendon, Massachusetts."

Further notes show he was furnished transportation of $4.76 and $4.60 to Boston.

What Clark's illness was has yet to be discovered. During this period, he was reported a straggler and deserter. By March-April 1863, he was reported as present for the Company Muster Roll, having "returned to duty from furlough April, 11, 1863."

May-June roll indicates,"To be charged for transportation furnished by the U.S., $9.36 pay...(illegible) on last muster roll dues for subsistance for 35 days when on furlough."

And barely had he returned to duty when on July 2, 1863, he was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.

His pension records indicates the following (printed verbatim):
" I solemly swear that the following statement respecting the time, place, and circumstances under which the wound was received, on account of which I have made application for an Invalid Pension, is true to wit---
of receiving the wound was about four O'clock P.M. on the second day of July 1863.
as follows --- We were ordered by our commander to charge the enemy a little at the left of "Cemetery Hill" so called. After having driven back the first line of the Rebels, we attacked the second line. I was a little in the advance of most of our line and standing near a tree. When the Rebels opened their first fire from their second line, a minnie ball struck one of my testicles entirely destroying it.
"I was at first rated in McKinnis General Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Afterwards in Lovell's General Hospital, Portsmouth Grove, Rode Island---subsequently by Dr Buckman our Regimental Surgeon."
Clark Cragin
The affidavit was signed January 16, 1871.

The "Examining Surgeon's Certificate" completed by Dr. Thomas B. Kittredge on February 13, 1871 states the following (printed verbatim):
"A mini ball destroyed the left testicle
it hit in front passed through the testicle
struck a large pocket knife in the pocket
of his pants glanced off across the thigh
missing the groin and muscles of the
thigh--- standing or walking any distance
occasions pain and swelling of the
groin and inside the thighs."

He spent July and August in General Hospital in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

From September 1863 through October 1864, he was present for muster roll calls.

Although muster rolls show him as present in September, Captain Cummings on Sept. 5th, 1863, granted Clark "a 15 day furlough on account of wounds received at Gettysburg."

William Child, assistant surgeon states, "I certify that the furlough asked for ... is necessary on account of wounds."

In July of 1864, he was issued a pair of Private's trousers, 2 pairs of drawers, 1 pair of Infantry boots, and a new haversack (from document # 52, clothing allowance).

Sometime in 1864 he was promoted to Corporal.

And on October 23, 1864, "by reason of expiration of term of service", Clark was discharged from military duty. At that time he owed the US $12.69 for clothing account and was due $100.00 for arms, equipment, etc.

Upon his mustering out in 1864, he returned to Jaffrey. By this time, the Cragin farm had been sold to Leonard Sawyer. Due to his war injury, Clark was unable to work 3/4 of the time. It is my belief that he would have taken over the responsibility of the farm had he been able to. But unable to do so, his father most likely sold the farm when he himself was not able to attend to it. Jaffrey Town records indicate that Clark lived with his father in 1866, then from 1870 -1871.

I feel that due to his war injury, Clark did not consider marriage for quite some time. Firstly, he may have felt he was unable to support a wife and family due to his inability to work. Secondly, due to the nature of his injury, the inability to bear children could have deterred him (or any of the eligible females) from marriage considerations. (This is all conjecture on my part).

The 1870 Federal Census lists him living with his brother-in-law, Louis Jaquith and sister Abby Rosilla. Father Orlando was also listed in the census as part of the Jaquith household. Melinda Cragin (Clark's mother) had passed away the previous year on February 15, 1869.

Sometime during or after 1871, Robert Clark moved from Jaffrey, possibly to Michigan. He may have lived in Indiana for a short period.

His brother, John Christie Cragin, was living in Pine Haven, Michigan in 1880 (US Federal Census records) and perhaps as early as 1871. Did Robert Clark move to Michigan to live near his brother, perhaps even get help landing a job in the factory that John worked at?

Clark married Medora Huyler Plumley (born June 14, 1857 in Paris, Michigan, daughter of Orrin and Martha S. Youngs Plumley) on October 20, 1875 in South Haven, Michigan. E. S Mechesney, Minister of the Gospel, married them. Dora's mother (possibly nee Stephens) was originally from New Hampshire. Orrin was originally from New York (US Federal Census records).

Imagine how happy Clark and Dora must have been, able to have children! In the "Examining Surgeon's Certificate" of August 30, 1877 (printed verbatim):
"Left testicle is shot away.
The wound is nicely healed
no swelling in the groin.
Appears to be no adhesions of
the cicatrix---no enlargements of
the gland (although sometimes there is pain in severe____{illegible})
His sexual powers are
good, as is evinced by a baby now
eight months old--- and, as he
says, his wife is again preg-
nant. I do not find from
the physical examination any
evidence of disability above what
he is at present rated.

I find his disability, as described above, to be equal to, and entitling him to two dollars per month." The doctor's signature is illegible

Here is an interesting twist to Clark's unknown past. As reported in The Cragin Story, Revised Edition 1634-1969 by L. June Cragin Godley (page 94):

"Robert was a bachelor 'who amassed a sizable fortune in the soap business in Philadelphia'. When he died (early 1890---aged 49), he left about $7000 to each of his 7 brothers and sisters, and left over $250,000 to Tuskegee Institute, Alabama". Mrs. Warren E. Cragin of Mt. Dora, Florida supplied the misinformation. In fact, it was Charles I. Cragin of I.L. Cragin & Company who owned the soap business (Philadelphia City Directory, 1890).

In any event, Robert Clark and Medora Huyler Plumley had the following children:

The 1880 US Federal Census listed Robert C. and Medora residing with their children, Mabel and Ethel, in Richland, Missouri. Also living with the family was Martha, Medora's mother. Robert Clark farmed while Medora kept house.


Robert Clark Cragin

Medora Huyler Cragin

The 1890 Veteran's Schedule (June 1890) listed Clark Cragin living in Niles, Michigan.

The 1892 Berrien County Directory for Niles, Michigan pinpointed Robert working as a chair maker for Earl-Storms Co. His residence address was listed as "N E corner of Broadway and 11th."

In 1894, the Veteran's Census for Michigan listed Robert Clark living in Niles, Michigan.

As described by Betty Sumner (Mary Elizabeth Gibson, daughter of Cecil) on June 22, 2001: "As far as Robert Clark Cragin goes - I'm sure that the info about him living in Niles Michigan is correct. I understood that he was a builder. I have even seen the house in Niles. It is a large three story Victorian that has been converted to a rooming house... Mom said that her grandmother lived on the third floor and really raised Mom and her brother Bob. The other children, Ethel, Mabel and Ruthie were raised by their mother. - altho they all lived in the same house. They had domestic help who did the cooking, laundry, etc. and Mom's mother was a Victorian perfectionist. The children were "clothed" twice a year. A dressmaker would come and the fabrics, trims and laces were chosen for each wardrobe and the French laces had to be matched and just right.
Mom's mother died at age 50 with a heart attack.
Robert Clark Cragin was 'Papa.'"

In 1900, the Cragins were listed in the US Federal Census living in Carthage, Missouri. Robert Clark was a carpenter, daughter Ethel was a schoolteacher, and son Robert John was a blacksmith. Cecil and Ruth were attending school. Dora, although her occupation was not listed, along with her mother, most likely "kept house".

Medora suffered a heart attack and passed away on July 31, 1907. Mere months later, her mother, Martha, passed away on October 2nd.

The 1910 US Federal Census showed Robert Clark and Robert John still in Carthage, Missouri. Clark was married less than one year to Mrs. Belle Webb (who died on December 12, 1911). Clark made his living as a building contractor while his son Robert John, worked as a blacksmith at a stone quarry.

In his "Declaration for Pension" dated May 27, 1912, his physical description indicates he was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall, having a fair complexion with black eyes and brown hair (compared to February 13, 1871 when he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds and having a dark complexion).

Pension records indicate he lived in Carthage, Missouri as late as December 4, 1912.

In 1913 - 1914, he was residing in Landrum, South Carolina. At that time, daughter Cecil and son-in-law Marvin Gibson were also living in South Carolina, as was evidenced by the births of their sons, Texas Bill Gibson (born March 28, 1913 in Greenville, South Carolina) and Robert Cragin Gibson (born October 5, 1914 in Landrum, South Carolina, this author's father).

Robert Clark with Texas Bill Gibson (1914 or 1915?)

April 8, 1915 finds Clark back in Carthage, Missouri living at 543 W Limestone St.

The last pension record showed he resided at the Western Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he died on April 30, 1918 of Myocardiac Degeneration and Arterio Sclerosis (sic).

Soldier's Home, Leavenworth, Kansas


He was interred at the Leavenworth National Cemetery Section 11, Row 19, Site 6 on the same day of his passing.

For more information on soldiers' homes, please read this article from Prologue Magazine


Robert Clark Cragin Civil War Pension Record from the National Archives:

Soldier's Certificate # 114318

Clark Cragin, Private and Corporal of Company F 5th NH Volunteers
Can # 2034 Bundle # 5

The Cragin Story, Revised Edition 1634 - 1969 by L. June Cragin Godley

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