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Charles Clegg, Chapter 1

Almost everyone over the age of fifty knows the name Lucius Beebe, but few people if any really ever knew very much about his colleague and partner, Charles Clegg.

For several years now, I have made it a pet project to collect as much information on Charles Clegg as is available (and believable) in my personal quest to understand who this man really was. I hope to share some of my findings with you in this column, and on our Homepage, over the next several months.

Charles Myron Clegg, Jr., was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on June 29, 1926. His father owned a wholesale produce business and of course, there was a railroad siding right next to the warehouse that sparked Chuck's early interest in railroading. Various members of the family were involved with railroads including a great-uncle who was a Delaware & Hudson stationmaster.

While of seemingly humble origins, Chuck's family lineage (in this country) can be traced back to Miles Standish, and predates the Revolutionary War. When still a boy, the family moved to Providence, RI, to Pidge House located on North Main Street. This dwelling had been kept in the family since 1640, and was reputed to be the hiding place of the famous Marquis de la Fayette during the Revolutionary War. The structure contained many false walls and secret passageways that Charles spent his idle time exploring. It was in these surroundings that Chuck acquired a fondness for old and beautiful furnishings, which persisted throughout his life.

In the late 1960's Chuck was appalled when an unsentimental Uncle had the house razed to accommodate his expanding business. When learning of this affront to his beloved childhood home, Chuck declared the act, "a damn shame!"

While his youth was spent in the relative lap-of-luxury of this grand old house, his interest in railroads continued to grow. However, at about the age of 12, Chuck developed an interest in (and a talent for) electronics; specifically radio. At that age, he became the youngest licensed radio operator in the country and built and operated his own station, W8DTE. With a total output power of 7 Watts, Chuck exchanged messages with 'ham' operators on four continents! His childhood fascination with electricity, technology, and communications, also became a lifelong hobby, and is refelcted in the Virginia City today.

Upon his 21st birthday, Chuck was given an envelope (by his father) that he had hoped would contain some sort of monetary gift in acknowledgment of the occasion. Instead, he was presented with an 'eviction notice' from the house effective that very same day! After all, this was a common tradition in eastern families of comparable social status, and was normally reserved for the oldest male child.
It was this unceremonious occasion that would open a whole new chapter in the life of Charles M. Clegg.

(Next time, we follow Chuck as he moves to Washington, DC, and befriends the legendary man himself, Lucius Beebe!