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Cabinetmaker John Brown and the Tall Case Clocks of Wellsburg, West Virginia, 1800–1825
Sumpter Priddy III

A group of five tall case clocks made during the first quarter of the nineteenth century has drawn attention of decorative arts scholars and collectors for more than fifty years. With movements made by three different clockmakers, all five are housed in cases produced by the same unidentified cabinetmaker. A recent evaluation of historic documents and extant woodwork now makes it possible to attribute these remarkable clock cases to the hand of John Brown (1761–1835) of Wellsburg, Brooke County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

John Brown’s clock cases are exceptional not only for the quality of their design and quantity of inlay but also for the seminal moment that they represent in the cultural life of Virginia’s northwestern frontier. Despite the distance to eastern urban centers, Wellsburg stood ideally situated on the banks of the Ohio River, where it flourished as a commercial center. Eastern settlers heading west to the Mississippi Valley helped fuel Wellsburg’s economy and attracted talented artisans in numbers disproportionate to the town’s size. By 1800 the town of Wellsburg offered sophisticated products competing with those from centers such as Pittsburgh to the east and Wheeling to the south (Figures 1 and 2).[1] John Brown ably contributed to this regional marketplace.

Fig. 1: "A New Map of Virginia with Maryland, Delaware & v.," drawn by Samuel Lewis (1753/54–1822), engraved by William Hooker (1782–1856), and published by T. L. Plowman, 1814, Philadelphia, PA. Ink on paper with watercolor; HOA: 20-2/3", WOA: 26-3/4". Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, G3790 1814.L4, Washington, DC; available online: https://www.loc.gov/item/2008621667/ (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 1

Fig. 2: Detail of Brooke County and surrounding area from the map illustrated in Fig. 1.

Figure 2


The Clocks

The five clock cases now attributed to the shop of John Brown share several characteristics. They feature pediments with boldly shaped scrolls and ambitious parapets that project above the scrolls. Cherry and cherry veneers were used as primary woods, as well as mahogany, and they include inlays of light and darkwood and tulip poplar as the secondary wood. Brown applied veneers along the narrow top edges of the cove moldings beneath the hoods and utilized generous amounts of crotch cherry veneers in the friezes, doors, and plinth panels of the bases.

Brown also purchased for his clock cases complex, Baltimore-produced inlay that embody the skill of a London-trained artisan working in Maryland. This specialized inlay artist seems to have sold his work to cabinetmakers as far away as western Virginia, and Kentucky.[2] More subtle but as important details of the group include molded arched glazed doors with keystones in the arches, ogee shaping at the rear of the hood, and canted corners.

The most ambitious of the five known clock cases produced by John Brown (Figure 3) houses an eight-day brass movement with an enameled dial by the previously unknown Virginia clockmaker Samuel Martin (1768–1825), an Ulster-Scot who hailed from Dublin, Ireland, and worked there prior to immigrating to Virginia in 1798. Martin worked in Wheeling between 1798 and 1801. The pediment Brown created for the clock case with boldly shaped scrolls and an ambitious parapet that projects above them is among the finest made anywhere in that era (Figure 4). While the urn finials seen on the clock are replacements, they reflect originals found on similar Virginia clock cases made by cabinetmakers working in a neoclassical North British tradition.

The cherry case has light-and-darkwood inlays, and tulip poplar as the secondary wood. The case features exceptional inlays that include a complex Baltimore-made eagle in the pediment (Figure 5); barber-pole inlays and cock-beading; a waist frieze of satinwood and walnut; variegated fans on the door; harlequin banding beneath the cornice; and complex banding to suggest flutes in the quarter columns and colonnettes.

Fig. 3: Tall Clock with case attributed to John Brown (1761–1835) and movement by clockmaker Samuel Martin (1768–1825), ca. 1800, Wheeling and Wellsburg, WV. Cherry with light and dark wood inlays and tulip poplar; HOA: 105”, WOA: 17-1/2", DOA: 8-7/8”. Private collection; Photographs courtesy of Sumpter Priddy III American Antiques & Fine Art; Photograph by Dennis McWaters.

Figure 3

Fig. 4: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 3; Photograph by Dennis McWaters.

Figure 4

Fig. 5: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 3; Photograph by Dennis McWaters.

Figure 5


The clock illustrated in Fig. 3 provides a striking parallel to a closely related example (Figure 6). The pediments of both clocks feature the same carved parapets on which the central finials sit. The urn finials are replacements. While the second clock case includes mahogany in addition to the cherry primary wood found on the first, tulip poplar is used on both. The inlaid eagle medallion by same Baltimore artisan is also found on both clocks (Figure 7).[3]

Fig. 6: Tall Clock with case attributed to John Brown (1761–1835) and movement by clockmaker Hugh Andrews (1761–1821), 1802, Wellsburg, WV. Finials replaced. Cherry and mahogany with light and dark wood inlays and tulip poplar; HOA: 103”. Private collection; Photographs courtesy of Sumpter Priddy III American Antiques & Fine Art. MESDA Object Database file NN-1885, online: https://mesda.org/item/object/clock-tall-case/16489/ (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 6

Fig. 7: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 6

Figure 7

The clock in Fig. 6 features an eight-day movement dated 4 May 1802 and signed by Hugh Andrews (1761–1821) who worked scarcely ten miles from Samuel Martin’s shop in Wheeling. Andrews signed the dial of this clock with his name and “Charleston,” which in 1802 was the name of the town where both he and John Brown worked. The town’s name was changed to Wellsburg in 1816 by the Virginia State Legislature to avoid confusion with Charleston in Kanawha County and Charles Town in Jefferson County.[4] Henceforward the name “Wellsburg” will be used to refer to the Brooke County town once known as “Charleston.”

The third clock case attributed to Brown is in the MESDA collection (Figure 8). Made between 1800 and 1805 the case features an open scrolled arched tympanum surmounted by a platform in the center (Figure 9) decorated with the same Baltimore-produced inlaid eagle medallion (Figure 10) seen on other Brown cases. The urn finials and fluted plinths upon which they sit are replacements, suggesting the possibility that this clock featured a central parapet similar to those seen on the clocks in Fig. 3 and Fig. 6. The eight-day clock movement with enameled moon dial face, while unsigned, is very similar to the Hugh Andrews clock (Fig. 6), providing a probable attribution to the Wellsburg shop of Andrews.

Fig. 8: Tall Clock with case attributed to John Brown (1761–1835) and movement attributed to clockmaker Hugh Andrews (1761–1821), 1800–1805, Wellsburg, WV. Finials and fluted plinths replaced; shaped skirt restored. Cherry and cherry veneer with light and dark wood inlays and tulip poplar; HOA: 96”, WOA: 20-5/8", DOA: 10-1/2". MESDA Collection, Acc. 4357; available online: https://mesda.org/item/collections/tall-case-clock/2566/ (accessed 28 August 2019); Photograph by Wes Stewart.

Figure 8

Fig. 9: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 8; Photograph by Dan Routh.

Figure 9

Fig. 10: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 8; Photograph by Dan Routh.

Figure 10

The fourth clock (Figure 11) is also signed “Charleston” but its movement was made by different clockmaker, Thomas McCarty, who worked in Wellsburg between 1820 and 1825. The case, which utilized cherry and cherry veneer primary woods, presently lacks plinths and finials on its hood (Figure 12).

Fig. 11: Tall Clock with case attributed to John Brown (1761–1835) and movement by Thomas McCarty (b.c.1805–1876), 1820–1825, Wellsburg, WV. Finials and plinths missing. Cherry and cherry veneer with light and dark wood inlays and tulip poplar; HOA: 103”. Private collection; Photographs courtesy of Sumpter Priddy III American Antiques & Fine Art.

Figure 11

Fig. 12: Detail of clock illustrated in Fig. 11.

Figure 12

The fifth and final clock in the group (Figure 13) also features the combination of a Thomas McCarty movement in a John Brown case.[5] This clock has a history of descent through the family of Brown’s son-in-law, Reverend Alexander Campbell (1788–1866). As will be seen, Campbell’s marriage to Brown’s daughter proved instrumental in attributing this group of five clock cases to John Brown’s Wellsburg shop.

Fig. 13: Tall Clock with case attributed to John Brown (1761–1835) and movement by Thomas McCarty (b.c.1805–1871), ca. 1825, Wellsburg, WV. Dimensions and materials not recorded. Collection of Bethany College; Photographs courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, T. W. Phillips Memorial Library, Bethany College, Bethany, WV; Photograph by Sharon Monigold.

Figure 13


Identifying the Case-Maker

Advantageously located on the banks of the Ohio River, Wellsburg and its surrounding area had abundant natural resources and access to transportation routes. The region was well situated for an economic expansion in the closing decade of the eighteenth century. In her book A History of Brooke County, Nancy L. Caldwell identified ten carpenters and cabinetmakers active in Brooke County between 1794 and 1800.[6] A careful survey of their lives reveals that only one individual among them stands out. Only cabinetmaker John Brown, working in Wellsburg at the turn of the century, was sufficiently informed to understand classical details comparable to those of the clocks, and had the social connections requisite to produce and market cabinetry of this level. Research into Brown’s ancestry reveals that he was a Maryland native who migrated west from Harford County to western Virginia in the mid-1780s.[7]

John Brown was one of three woodworking brothers born in Maryland to Reverend Solomon Brown (1729–1803), a carpenter and Methodist circuit rider who emigrated about the year 1750 from The Isle of Man.[8] Reverend Brown settled in 1760 near the headwaters of Little Gunpowder Falls, in what was then Baltimore County but now falls within Harford County, located approximately thirty miles north of the city of Baltimore.[9] The following year, he married Huldah Smith (1745–1773), a woman of Welsh descent, who produced three sons.[10] The boys were young when she died in 1773, and like their father they became woodworkers: John, a cabinetmaker, and house carpenters Thomas (1768–1816) and Solomon (1771–1813).[11]

Things changed for the Brown boys when their father remarried on 5 April 1780 to Althea Foster (dates unknown), and then again in 1785 when she had the first of six children born to the couple.[12] Over the next half-decade, the three sons from Reverend Brown’s first marriage left home to pursue their trades. John, at age twenty-four, headed west to the Virginia frontier. When his younger brothers Thomas and Solomon completed their apprenticeships, they moved into Baltimore.[13]

Evidence of John Brown’s skill as a woodworking artisan survives in what began as a small log cabin that he built for his family in the settlement at “Buffalo Creek” (now Bethany) seven miles east of Wellsburg. In 1811, his daughter Margaret (1791–1827) married the Presbyterian Reverend Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) (Figure 14) from County Antrim, Ireland.[14] Over the following four years Brown resided with his daughter and son-in-law at Buffalo Creek while he produced furnishings for them and expanded the log cabin into a much larger, clapboard house (Figure 15).

Fig. 14: Rev. Alexander Campbell, after J. Boglo (1837), chromolithograph by Colton, Zahm & Roberts (New York), published by R. W. Carroll & Co., 1872 Cincinnati, OH. Chromolithograph; HOA: 30", WOA: 25". Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, PGA - Colton, Zahm & Roberts--Alexander Campbell (A size) [P&P], Washington, DC; available online: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/95507868/ (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 14

Fig. 15: "Bethany Mansion—Homestead of Alexander Campbell House," published in Selina Huntington Campbell, "Home life and reminiscences of Alexander Campbell. By his wife, Selina Huntington Campbell" (St. Louis, MO: J. Burns Publishing, 1882), plate between pp. 48 and 49.

Figure 15

In 1815, Brown deeded the property to the Campbells for $1 and returned to Wellsburg. Five years later he sold them the surrounding 136 acres of land for $100. The couple founded Buffalo Seminary in 1820. The house that Brown built soon became the center for Alexander Campbell’s religious enterprises: he served as editor and printer of The Christian Baptist (1823–1830); waged a successful campaign for election to Virginia’s Constitutional Convention (1828–1829); published the church’s Millennial Harbinger (1830–1870), and founded the Disciples of Christ (1832), which in 2019 boasts half a million members.[15]

By 1840 Buffalo Seminary had grown so large that it expanded to become Bethany College and over the years grew to fill the surrounding landscape. Today, the school continues to prosper and the original house that John Brown built is a museum, complete with the original woodwork and furnishings he built for the family (Figures 16 and 17).[16]

Fig. 16: Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany, WV. Historic Buildings Survey, HABS WVA, 5-BETH,1A-1, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; available online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.wv0058/photos.173952p (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 16

Fig. 17: Plan for the Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany, WV. Historic Buildings Survey, HABS WVA, 5-BETH,1A-(sheet 2 of 6), Library of Congress, Washington, DC; available online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.wv0058/sheet.00002a (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 17

Both the Brown family and regional historians credit John Brown for the parlor’s walnut paneling. He also constructed the mantelpiece, with its diamond appliques, ogee-cornice; and ornamental frieze (Figures 18 and 19). Of note, the architectural frieze in the room it has gouge cut fluting and four-petal flowers (Figure 20) reminiscent of designs found on several of Brown’s Wellsburg clock cases (see Fig. 4, Fig. 9, and Fig. 12).

Fig. 18: View of the parlor mantel, Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany, WV. Historic Buildings Survey, HABS WVA, 5-BETH,1A-7, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; available online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.wv0058/photos.173958p (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 18

Fig. 19: Detail of parlor mantel, Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany, WV; Photograph by Sharon Monigold.

Figure 19

Fig. 20: Detail of gouge cut decoration in the parlor frieze, Alexander Campbell Mansion, Bethany, WV; Photograph by Sharon Monigold.

Figure 20

The woodwork that Brown constructed for the parlor offers compelling evidence that he had sufficient skill to make the cases for the group of tall clocks. Indeed, the mantelpiece has a fully-developed entablature with a cove cornice, quarter round cap molding, and fluted frieze (Fig. 19) that offer convincing stylistic parallels to those on the Wellsburg clocks. These, together with the quality of the moldings, strongly suggests that Brown held a respected position within the region’s woodworking community and that he had the skill to produce the clock cases.

Curiously, Reverend Campbell called the principal chamber of the house the “Clock Room,” underscoring that it served as a home for an imposing eight-day clock (Fig. 13) with a movement by Thomas McCarty. The clock remains in the room today.[17] Family tradition records that “the clock was purchased in 1814” from McCarty but that the case was made by John Brown.[18] Though later in date and simpler in style than the Samuel Martin and Hugh Andrews examples (Fig. 3, Fig. 6, and Fig. 8), the case of the Campbells’ clock nonetheless shares numerous features in common with the others, including the ogee shaping at the rear of the hood; the canted corners; the veneer along the narrow top edge of the cove molding beneath the hood; the generous use of crotch cherry veneers in the frieze, door, and plinth panels of the base.

These parallel features underscore that all the clock cases in the group hail from John Brown’s shop.[19] More importantly, the high-style clock cases have movements that range in date from 1798 to about 1820—a period that corresponds with Brown’s long cabinetmaking career in the region.[20] He remained in the Wellsburg area until his death on 24 June 1835.[21] His body was interred in the Brown-Campbell Cemetery on land he had previously owned in Bethany, West Virginia (Figure 21).

Fig. 21: Grave marker for John Brown, Campbell Cemetery, Bethany, Brooke Co., WV. Courtesy of www.findagrave.com, memorial ID 42779051, online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/42779051/john-brown (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 21


The Clockmakers

Samuel Martin

The movement of the clock illustrated in Fig. 3 was made and signed by the previously unknown Irish-born, Ulster Scot clockmaker Samuel Martin (1768–1825). In 1795, after completing his obligation as an apprentice in Dublin, Martin seems to have briefly served as journeyman in that city.[22] Less than five years later, at some point in late 1797 or early 1798, he departed for America.

As with many Ulster Scots, Martin headed directly to the “western frontier”—in this case, Wheeling, Virginia. On 28 April 1798 he announced to the public that he had opened his doors for business (Figure 22). Because no newspapers existed in Wheeling at the time, Martin sent the notice to the Herald of Liberty, published thirty miles to the east in flourishing Washington Borough, the courthouse seat for Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Fig. 22: Samuel Martin advertisement, "Herald of Liberty" (Washington Borough, PA), 28 April 1798.

Figure 22

No other clock survives from Martin’s years in Wheeling. When he next advertised, on 5 May 1801, he had moved north and set up shop at 43 Maiden Lane in New York City (Figure 23). There, in the American Citizen, he offered clocks “of his own manufacture,” including “an elegant TIME PIECE, neatly finished, suitable for a Bank, Gentleman’s Hall, or any Public Office.” He ran the notice again on 3 June and 10 July.

Fig. 23: Samuel Martin advertisement, "American Citizen" (New York, NY), 10 May 1801.

Figure 23

While few clock movements from Samuel Martin’s workbench have been recorded, an example made shortly after his move to New York City is illustrated in Figure 24.[23] The eight-day brass movement is housed in a mahogany and satinwood case produced by an unknown New York cabinetmaker. Martin remained at 43 Maiden Lane for a brief while and eventually relocated to 70 William Street, where he remained in business through 1819.

Fig. 24: Tall Clock with movement by Samuel Martin (1768–1825) and case by an unidentified cabinetmaker, ca. 1805, New York, NY. Mahogany and satinwood with holly inlays and tulip poplar; HOA: 96”. Collection of J. William Middendorf II (illustrated in James Biddle, "American Art from American Collections" [New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963], p. 45, fig. 89; available online: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/American_Art_from_American_Collections?Tag=&title=&author=Biddle&pt=0&tc=0&dept=0&fmt=0 (accessed 28 August 2019).

Figure 24

On 25 May 1815 Martin advertised in the National Advocate announcing a partnership at 70 William Street with clockmaker James Bell. The two remained n partnership until 1819 when Martin departed for Savannah, Georgia. In Savannah he served as executer for the estate of merchant Samuel Luke, whom he claimed as “next of kin,” and offered a variety of New York goods at Luke’s establishment. Martin also briefly operated a shop of his own on Whitaker Street, Savannah, where he engaged in clockmaking and watch repairs.[24]

When Martin returned to New York in 1820 he resided at 8 Liberty Street, where he remained into 1822; however, the following year he was back at his old address on William Street, suggesting that he had rented it for several years when living temporarily in Georgia.[25]

Little more is known of the clockmaker’s career until his death on 10 February 1825.[26] The record in the city archives notes that he was fifty-seven years old, a native of Ireland, lived at William Street, and was interred at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.[27] He appears to have remained single, as none of the sources documenting the artisan, his residence, or his various business locations, provide evidence of a spouse or other family.

It is worth noting that while Martin’s April 1798 newspaper notice provides evidence for when he opened his shop in Wheeling, it is not known exactly how much earlier than that he had emigrated to America. Also ripe for further research is his path as a journeyman in Ireland to a master clockmaker in America. In light of evidence gathered by independent scholar Kelli Lucas Stewart that a Samuel Martin (otherwise unidentified, yet possibly the clockmaker) made several trips back and forth across the Atlantic, there remain ample opportunities to further illuminate the largely undocumented period of the artisan’s life as a journeyman. Regardless, it is certain that Samuel Martin’s paths indicate an entrepreneurial artisan who merits further research into the life that he lived and the clocks that he produced.


Hugh Andrews

Hugh Andrews (1761–1821), was a clockmaker and silversmith who worked in present-day Brooke County, West Virginia, from 1801 to 1803. In her book Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Watch- and Clockmakers 1607-1860, Catharine B. Hollan identifies Andrews as a clockmaker possibly from the Pittsburgh area of Alleghany County, Pennsylvania.[28] In 1802, when he signed the brass movement of the clock in Fig. 6, Andrews was forty-one years old and had about twenty years of clockmaking experience. Hollan documented that Andrews was assessed personal property tax in Brooke County, West Virginia in 1800 and 1801 before migrating east to nearby Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802 and again further east within the county to Monongahela, where he died in 1821 at the age of sixty.[29]


Thomas McCarty

Little is known of the life of Thomas McCarty (1805–1876). Catharine Hollan recorded that he was born about 1805 in Pennsylvania, most likely near the western Virginia border.[30] He appears to have abandoned the clockmaking trade by 1830 when he became the postmaster of Wellsburg. He also pursued various commercial ventures, including glassmaking (1842–1856) and storekeeping.[31] In 1850, however, he was recorded in a credit report as Wellsburg’s only jeweler and silversmith.[32] That same year the United States Census reveals that he was a Pennsylvania native, and a “merchant” with real estate holdings valued at $2,800.[33]

McCarty was still in living and working in Wellsburg in 1870 when the United States Census recorded him as a sixty-five-year-old silversmith with $1,400 in real and personal property in his wife’s name but none in his own. When Thomas McCarty died in 1876 the family interred him in Wellsburg.[34]


Sumpter Priddy is director of Sumpter Priddy III, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia and a noted author and lecturer on American decorative arts and culture. He can be reached at [email protected].

The author is grateful to a number of individuals who have assisted in researching Wellsburg clocks since he acquired the first of the group about 1988.  Those who assisted in the documentation, photography, research, and conservation of pieces in this group include independent contractors Thomas Johans of Alexandria, Virginia; Veronica Conkling of Arlington, Virginia; Kelli Lucas Stewart of Wilmington, Delaware; and Erin Thomas of Washington, DC. He is also grateful to the staff of the Brooke County, West Virginia Historical Society, and particularly to Sharon Monigold, Archivist for Bethany College, who was especially helpful in various research requests, and in acquiring photographs of the John Brown clock and the Brown-Campbell mansion. During the prior thirty years, several individuals made invaluable contributions to the scholarship when four clocks in the group surfaced. Tey include: scholar Douglas Whitesell, who conserved virtually all of the clock movements depicted here and made invaluable observations about their construction and marking; furniture conservator F. C. Vogt of Richmond, Virginia, who has conserved each of the cases; and researchers Martha Vick and Dywana Saunders of Richmond, Virginia.


[1] Settled in the 1780s on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River in the state’s northern “pan handle,” Charleston (later Wellsburg), incorporated in 1791, became the Brooke County seat in 1797. For reliable early histories of Brooke County, see: J. G. Jacob, Brooke County, Being a Record of Prominent Events (Wellsburg, WV: Printed at The Herald, 1882) and J. H. Newton, G. G. Nichols, and A. G. Sprankle, History of the Pan-Handle Being Historical Collections of the Counties of Ohio, Brooke, Marshall and Hancock, West Virginia (Wheeling, WV: Published by J. A. Caldwell, 1879).

[2] Closely related inlays appear in the work of Annapolis cabinetmaker John Shaw as outlined in William Voss Elder and Lu Bartlett, John Shaw: Cabinetmaker of Annapolis (Baltimore, MD: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1983), cat. no. 37, p. 111; cat. no. 41, p. 122.  The medallions represent the hand of an artisan related to Thomas Barrett (active 1795–1800), the earliest professional “ébéniste” documented in Baltimore. Barrett was originally linked to the progressive Baltimore shop of the London-trained artisan Richard Lawson and his Baltimore partner John Bankson, who worked together between 1785 and 1795. Barrett established an independent workshop in 1795, shortly after Lawson and Bankson dissolved their partnership. Because Barrett died in 1800 and John Brown’s clock cases date a few years later, an unidentified artisan associated him must be credited with the medallions, which are virtually identical to those from the Barrett shop. For further insight into the inlays, see Sumpter Priddy, Gregory Weidman and J. Michael Flanagan, “The Genesis of Neoclassical Style in Baltimore Furniture,” American Furniture 2000, edited by Luke Beckerdite (Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone, 2000): 59–99.

[3] Elder and Bartlett, John Shaw, cat. no. 37, p. 111; cat. no. 41, p. 122 and Priddy, Weidman, and Flanagan, “The Genesis of Neoclassical Style in Baltimore Furniture,” 59–99.

[4] The town elders chose the name “Wellsburg” to honor one of the earliest settler families in the region.

[5] A clock with works attributed to Thomas McCarty and a case most likely made in John Brown’s shop sold at auction in 2016 (Lot 620, 8 July 2016, Brunk Auctions, Asheville, NC; available online: https://brunkauctions.com/lot/fine-virginia-federal-inlaid-cherry-tall-case-clock-3199509 [accessed 28 August 2019]). The current location of this clock is unknown and upon further examination could be added as the sixth clock in the group. Because most of the identified Brown clock cases have replaced or missing finials, determining whether or not the carved finials on this clock are original would be of particular interest and inform restoration of the other clocks. 

[6] Nancy L. Caldwell, A History of Brooke County (Wellsburg, WV: Brooke County Historical Society, 1975), 130–133.

[7] Brown’s birthplace on Little Gunpowder Falls originally fell within Baltimore County when he was born, but was included within the eastern portion that was partitioned in 1774 to form Harford County.

[8] Details regarding the Brown family genealogy can be found on the www.findagrave.com page for the Solomon Brown (1729–1803), Bethel Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Madonna, Harford Co., MD, memorial ID 88078182; online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88078182/solomon-brown (accessed 9 August 2019). See also Will for Solomon Brown, 20 October 1803, Harford County, Maryland Wills, 1804–1814, p 104, Hall of Records, Annapolis, MD; available online: http://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GTBG-9MMK?cc=1803986&wc=SNYH-4WY%3A146534801%2C146803301 (accessed 9 August 2019). The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea, midway between the city of Belfast, Ireland and the coast of Cumbria, on England’s northwest coast. Populated principally by families of Celtic descent, it was not yet a part of Great Britain, but rather a separate political entity.

[9] The Maryland legislature established Harford County on 22 March 1774 from the eastern part of Baltimore County and earliest details of the Brown family can likely be traced there.

[10] Memorial for Solomon Brown, ID 88078182, www.findagrave.com.

[11] The MESDA Craftsman Database recorded Thomas (Craftsman ID 4387) as a cooper in 1801 and 1802 and that several Baltimore Directories between 1803 and 1812 identify Solomon (Craftsman ID 4376) as a carpenter; available online: https://mesda.org/item/craftsman/brown-thomas/4362/ and https://mesda.org/item/craftsman/brown-solomon/4351/ (accessed 9 August 2019).

[12] Memorial for Solomon Brown, ID 88078182, www.findagrave.com.

[13] MESDA Craftsman Database, IDs 4387 and 4376, online. Solomon died 13 September 1814 defending Baltimore from British attack during the War of 1812. Memorial for Solomon Brown (1771–1813), Bethel Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Madonna, Harford Co., MD, memorial ID 43807485; online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/43807485/solomon-brown (accessed 9 August 2019).

[14] Alexander Campbell was born 1788 in Ballymena, Broughshane, County Antrim, Ireland, to Ulster-Scots Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigie. He and his parents immigrated to America. Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Co., 1872), 19 and 190; available online: https://books.google.com/books?id=YTRGAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Memoir+of+Alexander+Campbell&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3hdaxrvbjAhVJWX0KHQCfDjMQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=virginia&f=false (accessed 9 August 2019).

[15] In 1994, Historic Bethany restored the mansion to its 1840s appearance and the National Park Service designated the site a National Historic Landmark (online: http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/brooke/70000651.pdf [accessed 9 August 2019]). See also the “Alexander Campbell Mansion and immediate environs” entry in Historic Campus Architecture Project (Washington, DC: Council of Independent Colleges, 2006).

[16] According to Newton, History of the Pan-Handle, John Brown “removing at once with his wife to Charlestown, engaged there in the grocery business,” page 339.

[17] John Brown created the bedchamber in 1823, when he modified the 1819 addition. As cited in James H. Charleton, Campbell Mansion (Bethany College, WV), National Historic Landmark Nomination Report (Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, NPS, 1993). The site appeared on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

[18] Eunice Weed, curator of Bethany College, The Campbell Light, vol. V, no. 6 (March 1974). For a reference to the clock by Alexander Campbell’s second wife, see Selina Huntington Campbell, Home life and reminiscences of Alexander Campbell. By his wife, Selina Huntington Campbell (St. Louis, MO: J. Burns Publishing, 1882), 49; available online: https://books.google.com/books?id=mGBCAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Home+life+and+reminiscences+of+Alexander+Campbell&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6rbfMsvbjAhUOVH0KHVucDUUQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=Home%20life%20and%20reminiscences%20of%20Alexander%20Campbell&f=false (accessed 9 August 2019).

[19] Correspondence with Sharon Monigold, Archivist for Bethany College, July 2016. Ms. Monigold verified that John Brown made a cradle for the grandchildren, a fashionable glazed bookcase for a desk, and a sideboard, which remain in the house today. Future inspection of the furniture would likely underscore Brown’s production of the clock cases.

[20] Catherine Hollan cites McCarty’s 1805 birthdate in her work Virginia Silversmiths, which is widely accepted in the field. That said, virtually all of the McCarty clock movements are housed in Wellsburg cases that logically date to the period 1800 to 1815, when he was still a minor. This suggests that his father Thomas McCarty may have also been a Wellsburg clockmaker. See Catherine B. Hollan, Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Watch- and Clockmakers, 1607–1860: Their Lives and Marks (McLean, VA: Hollan Press, 2010), 494–496.

[21] Grave marker for John Brown, Campbell Cemetery, Bethany, Brooke Co., West Virginia; available online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/42779051/john-brown (accessed 5 August 2019).

[22] A clockmaker named Samuel Martin working in Dublin between 1790 and 1798 was identified by Brian Loomes in Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World, Vol. 2 (Colchester, Esses, UK: NAG Press, 1989).  Unfortunately Loomes did not cite period sources. A Samuel Martin, clockmaker, was identified as working in New York in 1790 and 1791 in Britten’s Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, 7th edition, edited by F. J. Britten, G. H. Baillie, C. Clutton, and C. A. Ilbert (New York: Bonanza Books, 1956).

[23] Another clock with works by Samuel Martin is held by the Yale University Art Gallery; available online: https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/9937 (accessed 5 August 2019).

[24] Martin’s advertisements with Bell appear in Longworth’s New York City Directory in 1818 and 1819. The Savannah advertisements appear in the Colombian Museum & Savannah Advertiser and Savannah Republican.

[25] Martin appears in Longworth’s New York Directory in 1820, 1821, and 1822.

[26] Saml. Martin, 10 February 1825, “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795–1949,” New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 447,545; available online: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FD1G-MM2 (accessed 9 August 2019).

[27] It seems relatively certain, in light of the William Street address that Martin used at the end of his life, that the death notice references the clockmaker Samuel Martin, and that his age at death points pretty conclusively to a birth in or about 1768.

[28] Hollan, Virginia Silvermiths, 21–22.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid, 494.

[31] Ibid, 495.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Nancy Caldwell notes in her History of Brooke County (p. 132) that “Thomas McCarty, who specialized in clockmaking, worked in Wellsburg from the 1820s through the 1870s.” It should be noted that while Brooke County historian and genealogist Gwendolyn Hubbard cautions against placing too much credence on information obtained from Caldwell’s book because discrepancies have been uncovered over the years, Hubbard did not find issue with the information presented by Caldwell regarding clockmaker Thomas McCarty.

[34] Jacob, Brooke County, Being a Record of Prominent, Events, 191, “McCarty, Thos July 15, ’76, age 75.”


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