Philander Jacob Willard of Ashburnham, Massachusetts

Philander Jacob Willard was the son of an Ashburnham, Massachusetts farmer, Jacob Willard (1734-1808) and his wife Rhoda Randall of Stow, Massachusetts. Philander was born in this small New England town on September 29,1772. He had one younger brother who was also a clockmaker. His name is Alexander Tarbell Willard. It is now thought that he served his clockmaking apprenticeship with the brothers Abraham and Calvin Edwards of Ashby. Philander’s first shop was located in Ashburnham and may have made clocks as early as 1793. His clocks are typical of the Ashby design being constructed from wood, wound by pulling on a cord and running 30 hours. Interstingly, he may have signed his clocks in several formats. Some of which include, “P. Willard/ Ashburnham”, “J. Willard / Ashburham” or “Jacob Willard / Ashburnham.” He was not a prolific maker. Philander moved to Ashby after 1825 and died there on December 26, 1840.

Currently clocks found signed Philander Willard, J. Willard and Jacob Willard are all asscoiated to have been made by this Maker.

A country case tall clock attributed to Jacob Willard of Ashburnham, Massachusetts. This example features a very unusual dial.

The attribution to Jacob Willard is based on a signed clock found with a similar dial display that includes a calendar… read more