John Osgood of Andover, Mass and Haverhill, New Hampshire. No. 271. Tall case clock. 27005

This example is not signed on the dial by the Maker but does have an engraved number “271” on the back plate. This is a practice that we have seen on the many other signed Osgood tall clock movements. Interestingly, most of which have been recorded with numbers in the three hundreds. We have personally owned and sold numbers as low as “18” and as high as the number “374.” In addition to the engraved number on the backplate, this clock also shares the distinctively shape rack in the strike train. This specific design has been found only on Osgood clocks.

This well proportioned birch case retains its original mahogany staining. This case form is quite typical of other Osgood clocks known. It appears to have been his most successfully sold model. This clock case stands on applied bracket feet. The waist section is long and narrow. It is fitted with a rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with a simple molded edge. This door is flanked by inset quarter columns which are smoothly turned and fluted. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features an arched glaze door, fully turned bonnet columns and the traditional “Whales’ tails” fret work style ornament. Three brass ball and spiked finials surmount the top of this case and are mounted on fluted plinths.

The iron dial is colorfully painted. Yellow painted spandrel areas are decorated with a cross hatched design. Blue birds are centered in this design. In the arch is a basket of florals. The bluebird theme is repeated here. The time track is formatted with the combination of Roman and Arabic numerals. This dial also features five minute markers, subsidiary seconds and a day of the month calendar. The iron hands are hand filed and are a traditional form.

The time and strike movement is of good quality and is designed to run eight days on a full wind. The back plate is engraved with the “ 271.” This is skillfully executed. Another detail worth mentioning is that of the strike work. The levers are quite distinctive and share the form found on other Osgood example.

This clock was made circa 1790 and stands 7 feet 10.5 inches to the top of its center finial.

27005

It is inventory number 27005.

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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