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.