Ezra Batchelder of Danvers, Massachusetts. Captain Thomas Cheever's cross banded mahogany case tall clock.

This is a fine cross banded mahogany example. According to Ezra Batchelder’s existing shop log book, only one tall clock example is singled out as being made with a “mehogany case.” That clock was made for Captain Thomas Cheever of Danvers. It was made in 1813 and was sold to him for $65.00. Cheever commanded the ship Augustus.

This case is constructed in the finest figured mahogany and mahogany veneers. It currently retains an old mellow surface that has aged gracefully. This case stands on four cut-out bracket feet. The retain their original height and elevated the case up off the floor. These transition into a spur and a drop apron. A thin applied molding visually separates the feet from the base. The mahogany used in the construction of the base panel is formatted in a vertical position and visually lifts the case. This crotch pattern radiates with long sweeping lines. The panel is cross banded along its perimeter. The rectangularly shaped waist door is trimmed with an applied molding. The veneer selected for this panel is outstanding. This door opens to access the interior of the case. Finely reeded quarter columns flank the sides of this case. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet top of the bonnet is fitted with a very fancy and lacy open fretwork design. This is supported with three reeded plinths. Each plinth is capped at the top and fitted with a brass finial. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns or colonnettes visually support the upper bonnet arch molding. They are mounted in brass capitals and are free standing. The arched bonnet door is fitted with glass. It opens to access the dial.

This iron dial measures 12 inches across and was paint decorated by the Wilson firm in Birmingham, England. Each of the four spandrel areas are decorated with representations of floral patterns and cherries. A colorfully painted bird is depicted in the arch of this dial. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in their traditional locations. Please note the wonderfully shaped steel hands. The Maker’s signature with is painted just below the calendar. The signature simply reads, “Ezra Batchelder / Danvers” in block lettering.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. 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. The movement 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. It is interesting to note the unusual and distinctive shaping of the strike work. This design feature is also found on other clocks known that are signed by this North shore clockmaker.

This fine example is nicely proportioned and stands a modest 7 feet 2.5 inches or 86.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. As a result, it would fit nicely in many of the period home of the day. Measured at the upper hood molding, this clock is 17 & 5/8 inches wide and 8.75 inches deep. It was made circa 1813.

About Ezra Batchelder of Danvers, Massachusetts.

Ezra Batchelder was born in Andover, Massachusetts on November 13th, 1769. His parents were Ezra a blacksmith (Baptized on May 31, 1741 and died in 1809) and his wife Mary (Woodbury) Ober of Beverly. They were married on March 15, 1763. They had five children that were raised on Maple Street. They became one of the largest landowners in Danvers. Ezra had a brother, Andrew born 1772, who is also listed as a Clockmaker and blacksmith. In fact, they are listed as working together in Danvers sometime after 1801. It is thought that they were trained by their brother-in-law Nathan Adams. It is reported that an account book exists that covers the business years of 1803 to 1830. In this 27 years of business, 36 clocks are listed as being sold. Not all of which are tall case examples. These clocks are listed as selling for $35 to a high of $65 depending if they were cased or not. It is interesting to note that the names of the original purchasers are also listed in the account. It is also thought that both brothers were fine cabinetmakers and may have made their own cases as well as other wood products. The account book lists the following clock related entries.

1803. Five clocks are listed. Nathaniel Lang purchased two at $50 each. Edmund Johnson purchased two at $35 each. Charles Foster purchased one at $35. The Foster and Johnson clocks are listed as being sold with a “12 inch face with out case.” The Lang clocks must have been sold cased. 1803 was their busiest clock year.
1804-1805. No clock sales are listed.
1806. Peter Woodbury of Beverly purchased a clock with a “Moon face” for $40 and Solomon Dodge bought one at $37.50. A “Tucker “ from the town of Andover bought one at $38.
1807. Elias Endicott bought a cased clock at $52.50.
1808. Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth paid $50 for a clock that was to be delivered to Rev. Mr. “Bawlch” of Salisbury. Capt. Samuel Trow of Beverly bought a “moon face” for $45. William Dodge of Beverly bought a “moon Face” for $45. This clock was sold without a case. Mr. Lemon of Beverly bought a “12-inch moon face” for $43.
1809. No clock sales are listed.
1810. Amos Gould of Ipswich purchased a clock for $50.
1811. Jacob Towne of Topsfield purchased a “clock compleat” for $47.50.
1812. Capt. Thomas Raymond of Beverly bought a clock “without case” for $40. John H. Leonard of Salem bought a “compleat clock” for $55.
1813. Capt. Thomas Cheever of Danvers bought a clock for $65. (Capt. Cheever commanded the ship Augustus.) This clock is listed as having a “mehogeny case.” David Perkins of Topsfield bought a clock for $50.
1814. No clock sales are listed.
1815. Elezer Pope, a yeoman resided in Salem bought a clock for $50.
1816. Elezer Lake of Topsfield bought a “clock and case compleat and case varnished” for $52. John Averill of Topsfield is listed as buying a clock. The price is not recorded. Major Solomon Wilkins of Middleton paid $50. This is latter sold to the Newhall family.
1817. No entries.
1818. No entries.
1819. Ebenezer Goldthwaite purchased a “clock and case compleat and case varnished” for $53. “Esq” Elezer Putnam paid $53 for a clock.
1820. Alen Porter bought a “compleat,” clock for $53.
1821. Stephen Whipple of Salem bought a “compleat,” clock for $53. Daniel Porter of Topsfield purchased a “clock and case” for $50.
1822. Capt. Asa Tapley of Danvers paid $53. He was a soldier of the revolution. He was a lieutenant during the War of 1812 and was on guard at Fort Lee. In 1833 he was granted a revolutionary pension. He was a successful businessman in all endeavors. One of the early brick manufacturers of Danvers. He served the Town of Danvers as a contestable, a highway surveyor, as a member of the board of health and on the school committee. He had many land transactions listed in the records. In these he was listed as a yeoman.
1823. Levi Preston of Danvers paid $55.
1824. Mr. Killam, probably of Boxford paid $40.
1825. No entries.
1826. Mark How paid $53.
1827. Mr. Hardy bought a clock “without case” for $32.50.
1828. Perley Tapley of Danvers bought a clock for $53. He was a famous mover of buildings. He also served as a highway surveyor.
1829. Hicks Richards of Danvers bought a clock “without case,” for $38. Col. Nathan Tapley purchased “one case,” for $15.75. Nathan was Asa’s brother. He commanded a military company in Danvers and vicinity for which he received the title of Colonel. He was also a very successful business man.
1830. Joseph Porter purchased “one eight-day clock with weights
without the case,” for $38. (This is Ella J. Porter clock. She lived on Cherry Street.)

Ezra married Anna Brown on December 17, 1795. She was a native of Andover, Massachusetts and was born in 1772 and died on June 4th, 1856. Together they had 11 children. Ezra was also a farmer and is reported to be the first expressman in Danvers, carrying merchandise to and from Boston in what was called a “road wagon.” He did this in 1825-1830 making approximately three trips per week using two or a team of four horses depending on the weight of the load. He sold this route to Joseph Porter. Ezra dies in Danvers on October 10th, 1858 of lung fever. He lived nearly 90 years and labored to the end.

Over the last forty plus years of being in the business of selling clocks, We have seen at least 12 tall clocks signed by this Maker.

For more information about this clock click  here .