UnCommon Ground - Long-lost

Chelsea Eastman ’14 is a natural sleuth. On a spring field trip to Sugar Loaf with her Science and the Environment class, she was climbing the steep wooded hill flanking Granville’s west side when her magpie eye spotted something small and bright on the ground, partly uncovered by the previous two days of heavy rain. She brushed the dirt from a triangular gold pin with a small ruby and the initials “DCC,” which Heather Lyle in University Archives helped her identify as “Denison Commons Club,” the earliest incarnation of what was to become the American Commons Club charter at Denison. That was one piece of the puzzle, but Eastman was intrigued by the monogram “H.E.C.” on the back of the pin, and got to work poring over the club’s membership lists during its early years. She narrowed the possibilities down to one Howard E. Claggett ’21. Further research led her to the dismaying news that Howard and his wife had both died and had left no children. “I really wanted to hand it to his son or daughter and watch their face light up,” she says. But Eastman persisted past that disappointment, and tracked down a nephew in the Columbus area who also went to Denison, Charlie Claggett ’70. He was delighted with the news of his uncle Howard’s long-lost legacy, buried on Sugar Loaf for 91 years. Claggett thanked Chelsea for her diligence and thoughtfulness, and then said with a laugh, “Howard would have loved this—he had a great sense of humor, and was a great storyteller.”

Published June 2012