Early hardship and deprivation profoundly affects people. Some become hardened and cruel. Others develop strength and understanding.
Patrick Hough, for which Vancouver’s Hough Elementary, Hough Foundation, and the Hough neighborhood were named, was born far away from Southwest Washington, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1846 in Slevoire, near Tipperary in Ireland. That was the year the infamous potato famine struck Hough’s home country. Potatoes, the single energy crop of the Irish, rotted in the ground, causing The Great Hunger, as the Irish called it. The blight would last for years, causing suffering and death. The laissez-faire British policy was blamed for much of the suffering. They imported food from Ireland as the people starved. The conditions lead to one of the largest population emigrations in history.
When war between Prussia and France erupted in 1870, most Irish took the side of the French. Following suit, Hough enlisted as a stretcher bearer, and set out for France. The war didn’t last long, but it was too long for Hough. A German artillery shell ripped off his left arm.