John Osgood - Haverhill, NH. No. 69. The Mann Family clock. 220030

This fine example features a case that is constructed in birch and retains its original grain painted finish. The paint decoration is in wonderful condition. Occasionally clock cases were painted in order to fancy them up. Many of the country woods that would have been available to Osgood’s casemakers like birch, maple and cherry do not have highly figured grain structures. As a result, painting cases became a popular way to enhance the design. This clock case stands on four boldly formed ogee shaped bracket feet. Each foot incorporates a stylish return or spur in the design. These are applied to the bottom of the case and the lower base molding. The waist is long and narrow. It is fitted with a tombstone shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. It opens to access the two drive weights and the brass faced pendulum bob. The door is flanked by inset quarter columns. These are fluted along their length and stopped with brass rods at the bottom. The columns terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features an arched glaze door, fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns and a traditional New England style fret work pattern. Three brass finials surmount the top of this case and are mounted on fluted plinths. The center finial features an urn with an Eagle mounted above it. The two additional finials are a ball and spike form.

The colorfully painted dial measures 12 inches across. It was painted by the Wilson dial firm of Birmingham, England. This example is signed by the Clockmaker, “John Osgood,” in block lettering. His working location “HAVERHILL” is written in lower section of the dial positioned below the day of the mouth calendar. Large Roman style numerals demark the hours. The minute ring is is presented in dots. Arabic style numerals are used for the 5 minute locations. A subsidiary seconds dial and the month calendar are located inside this time display. In the arch of this dial one will find the automated feature of a lunar calendar or a moon phase mechanism. This is designed to track the phases of the moon. The lunar calendar month is approximately 29.5 days. Painted between the two moons, are two painted scenes that oppose each other on this disk. The first is nautical in that depicts a sailboat out at sea. The second view is a pastoral scene. A cottage is in the foreground. Two people are in the background. Their silhouette is lit up by the full moon that sits high in the sky. The four spandrel areas are decorated with colorful floral patterns. The hands are nicely formed and filed from steel.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. The back plate is engraved with the “69.” This is skillfully executed. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement. The shape of the rack is quite distinctive and shares the form found on other Osgood examples.

This clock was made circa 1790 and stands approximately 7 feet 7 inches to the top of its center finial. It is 20 inches wide and 10.75 inches deep measured at the upper hood molding.

Family history records that this clock of the Orford, NH homestead of Helen Mann born October 28, 1823. John Mann, Helen’s grandfather, is recorded as one of the first settler of that town. John and his wife traveled eight-days walking and riding on horseback arriving on August 25th, 1765. They averaged 25 miles a day relocating there from Hebron, Connecticut. They were the first permanent settles of that town. The clock was moved to New York City when Helen married Charles A. Silver in August 1847. Her son Lewis Silver MD (b Oct. 25, 1894) moved it to his residence on 103 West 72nd St when he was married.

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About John Osgood of Andover, Massachusetts and Haverhill, New Hampshire.

John Osgood was born in North Andover, Massachusetts on June 20, 1770. He was the son of Colonel John and (his second wife) Hulda (Frye) Osgood. The Colonel’s first wife was the sister of Dudley and Michael Carleton. Their father, Squire Dudley Carlton had a farm on the Merrimack River. Both Dudley and Michael were clockmakers. Michael was also a skilled cabinetmaker and later worked in Bradford and Newbury, Vermont. John Osgood moved to Bradford, MA where he served his clockmakers apprenticeship to his uncle Michael Carlton of that town. Osgood returned to Andover sometime in early 1790. Here he married a Sarah Porter of Haverhill who came from Boxford (MA). They had a total of 6 children. In 1793, John moved his family to Haverhill, New Hampshire where he continued his business of making clocks, silversmithing and did watch and jewelry repair. He took out an ad on November 4th, 1793 in the Spooner’s Vermont Journal that informed the public that he had opened a shop there in the south end of John Montgomery’s house. Michael Carlton had already established a cabinet shop across the river in Vermont and may have convinced John to move north. Carleton was making fine furniture, Some of which was considered “Handsomer and more serviceable that what could be purchased in the cities.” Osgood’s shop was located 200 feet to the North of his own home on Main street. It was a square one story building with a divided front door and a window on each side of it. There were two rooms in front and a sales room in the back. He was successful there. With in two years he was elected to the town position of Sealer of Weights and Measures. Over the years, he employed several apprentices. He often bartered for services. His account books record that he squared with wheat, corn, oats and salt pork. On March 4, 1797, John Married Sarah Porter. Together they had 7 children all born in Haverhill. John Osgood was remembered by a grandson as a friendly, warm person. He was clean shaven, “bald from age,” smallish in stature and inclined to stoop while walking with a limp. (One knee suffered from a white swelling as a child. The joint was useless.) He was a devout Christian man. He was a devoted disciple of Isaac Walton and Tarlton Pond. John Osgood died in his own home on July 29, 1840 reportedly of consumption. He is buried in the Ladd Street Cemetery along side his wife. At his death he owned his house, shop and a good farm east of the village where his brother in law Billy Porter lived.

John Osgood’s clocks are often numbered. It is not uncommon to find a production number engraved into one of the movement plates. More commonly it can be found on the back plate. To date, we have seen at least 25 examples and counting. The lowest number we have seen is 14. The highest number recorded by us is No., 377.

Why move to Haverhill, New Hampshire? The town of Haverhill, NH was settled by citizens of Haverhill, MA and was incorporated in 1763 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. In 1773, it became the county seat of Grafton County. Businesses that located there included gristmills, lumber mills, sawmills, wollenmills, potash, tanneries, flax mills, iron foundry and related businesses. Situated on the Connecticut River, Haverhill’s location presented a lot of opportunity.

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