George Coggeshall of Bristol, Rhode Island. "WARRANTED FOR DR. THOMAS NELSON / 1811."

This clock was made for Dr. Thomas Nelson. He is an interesting character. According to the Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, Dr. Thomas Nelson came to Bristol in 1801. He is credited as the originator of the First Baptist Churh in Bristol. The story is told that in 1807, he left for New York on a packet. A terrific storm arose and wrecked the ship All were lost except two, one of which was Dr. Nelson. This made an impression on him that he felt himself to be another Jonah.who attempted in vain to flee from the presence of the Lord. He returned to Bristol in 1810 or so and welcomed into the town a number of the same faith as himself. By 1811 there were enough members, approximately 23, to constitute a church. This was accordingly formed on August 22, 1811. Within in a year, the congregation had almost doubled. Pearching was undertaken by Rev. Simon Coobs, Rev. James Winchell the first pastor Bishop Griswold and President Messer of Brown University. At this time, the place of worshio was at Dr. Nelson's house which was located on State Street. In November of 1814, a building measuring approximately 45 feet by 65 feet was constructed to accomodate five hundred people. It was finished with a stone edifice and the interior room was tastefully frescoed and fitted with a fine organ.

This case is primarily constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The case stands on four nicely shaped ogee bracket feet. The base is line inlaid with a light wood stringinging. This decorative detail is repeated in the waist door which is trimmed with a cockbeaded molding. The waist section of the case is long and narrow and accentuates the narrow proportions of this form. The sides or feont corners are fitted with fluted quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a traditional New England fretwork pattern and is surmounted by three brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned and fluted bonnet columns are mounted in brass capitals. These flank the door. The bonnet door is arched and glazed. It opens to a nicely paint decorated dial.

The painted iron dial is signed in script above the Roman hour numeral VI by the Maker. The date of 1811 is also included there. Above the winding arbors, the dial Reads “WARRANTED FOR DR. THOMAS NELSON.” The time track is formatted in a traditional manner. The hours are marked with Roman numerals and the five minute markers are done in an Arabic form. The four spandrel areas feature lacy gilt themes that center decorative medallions. In the arch is a patriotic view of Lady Liberty standing. In her right hand is the E. Plluribus Unum eagle. It claws clutching holley and a number of arrows. In her left hand is a staff. At the top, draped over the spear point is the liberty cap. This dial was painted in Boston by the Nolen & Curtis firm. This firm is well know for using these brilliant colors. The dial is attached directly to the movement without the use of a false plate mounting system.

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.   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. 

This clock was made in 1811 and stands approximately 7 feet 6.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial.

This clock is inventory number 213126.

About George Coggeshall of Bristol, Rhode Island.

George Coggeshall of Bristol, Rhode Island. George was born in 1786 and is listed as working in Bristol circa 1807. In the 1820’s, he appears in Wilmington, North Carolina and then in New York City in the 1830’s. By 1836, he is listed in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a clock and watchmaker.


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