Lantern shines for resident
Lyndeborough’s Murdough was the last native of town
Murdough, who said he couldn’t remember why a cousin gave him his nickname, was born in North Lyndeborough in 1923 and is believed to be the last person born there. Except for his service during World War II, he lived near his birthplace with his wife, Winifred, who died in 1997.
Murdough began working for the town’s highway department in 1939 under road agent Ernest Ross. By the time of his retirement in 1988, he had worked with nine road agents.
He didn’t actually retire that year; he just moved from full to part time and worked for another seven years, usually on the road grader. He taught a generation of young workers how to operate it.
He served in the Army during World War II, first in France and Germany and then in the Philippines.
"We went direct from Europe to the Pacific," he recalled in 1988, "through the Panama Canal. I’d always wanted to see it, and I did."
Prior to returning to road work after the war, Murdough worked as a logger and also at Nichols’ chicken farm at Russell Station. As a logger, he was a "swamper," the person who clears the road to the landing.
A favorite story – both his and his fellow workers – involved a huge snowstorm that left the road in Lyndeborough Center impassable.
"The town had a little crawler tractor," he said. "I took it up one side of the drift and got stuck high and dry on the top. I went back to the town barn and spent the night sleeping in the town’s old horse-drawn hearse."
The town had no radios in those days, and he wasn’t near a telephone. The road crew looked all over for him, and someone finally remembered the hearse.
Murdough served as road agent for a few years in the 1970s and was a volunteer fireman in Lyndeborough and Francestown. He was also locally famous for his vegetables, especially his potatoes.
"He wasn’t at all materialistic," a friend said. "He was always happy with what he had. He was a good old guy."
Murdough is buried in Francestown.