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The Murder of Samuel Clugston

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On April 3rd, 1881, a memorial sermon was held in honor of Samuel Clugston. Samuel was an Irish immigrant who, with his wife and eleven children, lived in the village of Valley Forge near the Washington Headquarters.

Cover of the brochure for the memorial sermon, April 3, 1881

In the early hours of March 18th, 1881, Mrs. Clugston was having trouble sleeping due to a draft in the room. She thought a window or door might be open. A rousing Samuel doubted that something was wrong but he got out of bed to check. A man who had been crouched in the room leapt up, seized Mr. Clugston by the throat and threatened him with a pistol. When Mr. Clugston yelled for his eldest son, the intended burglar shot Mr. Clugston in the throat. There was a scuffle between Samuel, the burglar, and soon, Thomas Clugston. The murderer pleaded for his life. Thomas let go and the murderer escaped. Samuel Clugston died from the gun shot wound within twenty minutes.

Headline for article in Green Tree and Malvern Item printed on March 19, 1881

The murderer left behind a good amount of evidence including Thomas' report that the man had a German accent. One suspect, Henry Greeble who allegedly served at Eastern Penitentiary was believed to be the murderer but he could not be found. As of June 1882 the murderer was still not found.



(1881, March 22). Killed by a burglar. Norristown Times Herald, 3.

Bell, J. "A memorial sermon preached in Valley Forge M. E. Church, April 3, 1881, with a short memoir of Mr. Samuel Clugston, who was brutally murdered on the 18th of March, 1881, and a poem to his memory." J. O. K. Robarts.

Gill, H. L. (Ed.). (1881, March 19). Extra! Murder! Samuel Clugston, of Valley Forge, murdered by two burglars. Intense excitement. The murderers not yet found. Green Tree and Malvern Item, 1A, 2A.

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