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of her that night at the dock, the next day we set sail for New Haven,
about ten o'clock in the forenoon, with a fair wind, and arrived at the
long wharf in (that city) about eight o'clock the same day. I stopped at
John Howe's Hotel, at the head of the wharf. This was the first time
that I was ever in this beautiful city, and I little thought then that I
ever should live there, working at my favorite business, with three
hundred men in my employ, or that I should ever be its Mayor. - Times

Very early the next morning, after looking about a little, I started
with my bundle of clothes in one hand, and my bread and cheese in the
other, to find the Waterbury turnpike, and after dodging about for a
long time, succeeded in finding it, and passed on up through Waterbury
to Plymouth, walking the whole distance, and arrived home about three
o'clock in the afternoon. This was my first trip abroad, and I really
felt that I was a great traveler, one who had seen much of the world!
What a great change has taken place in so short space of time.

Soon after I returned from my western trip, there began to be a great
excitement throughout the land, about the war. It was proposed by the
Governor of Connecticut, John Cotton Smith, of Sharon, to raise one or
two regiments of State troops to defend it in case of invasion. One
Company of one hundred men, was raised in the towns of Waterbury,
Watertown, Middlebury, Plymouth and Bethlem, and John Buckingham chosen
Captain, who is now living in Waterbury; the other commissioned officers
of the company, were Jas. M.L. Scovill, of Waterbury, and Joseph H.
Bellamy, of Bethlem. The company being composed of young men, and I
being about the right age, had of course to be one of them.

Early in the Summer of 1813, the British fleet run two of our ships of
war up the Thames River, near New London. Their ships being so large
could not enter, but lay at its mouth. Their presence so near greatly
alarmed the citizens of that city, and in fact, all of the people in the
eastern part of the State. Our regiment was ordered to be ready to start
for New London by the first of August. The Plymouth company was called
together on Sunday, which was the first of August, and exercised on the
Green in front of the church, in the fore part of the day. This unusual
occurrence of a military display on the Sabbath greatly alarmed the good
people of the congregation, but it really was a case of necessity, we
were preparing to defend our homes from a foreign foe.

In the afternoon we attended church in a body, wearing our uniforms, to
the wonder and astonishment of boys, but terrible to the old people. On
Monday morning we started on a march to Hartford, sleeping that night in
a barn, in the eastern part of Farmington, and reaching Hartford the
next day, where we joined the other companies, and all started for New
London. The first night we slept in a barn in East Hartford, and the
second one in an old church in Marlboro. I remember lying on the seat of
a pew, with my knapsack under my head. We arrived at New London on
Saturday, marching the whole distance in the first week in August, and a
hotter time I have never experienced since. We were dressed in heavy
woolen clothes, carrying heavy guns and knapsacks, and wearing large
leather caps. It was indeed a tedious job. We were whole days traveling
what can now be done in less than as many hours, and were completely
used up when we arrived there, which would not appear strange. We were
immediately stationed on the high ground, back from the river, about
half way between the city and the light-house, in plain view of the
enemy's ships. They would frequently, when there was a favorable wind,
hoist their sails and beat about in the harbor, making a splendid
appearance, and practising a good deal with their heavy guns on a small
American sloop, which they had taken and anchored a long distance off.
The bounding of the cannon balls on the water was an interesting sight
to me. The first night after our arrival, I was put on guard near the
Light-house, and in plain sight of the ships. I was much afraid that the
sharp shooters from their barges would take me for a target and be smart
enough to hit me; and a heavy shower with thunder and lightning passing
over us during the night, did not alleviate my distress. I was but a
boy, only twenty years old, and would naturally be timid in such a
situation, but I passed the night without being killed; it seems that
was not the way that I was to die.

I soon became sick and disgusted with a soldier's life; it seemed to be
too lazy and low-lived to suit me, and, as near as I could judge, the
inhabitants thought us all a low set of fellows. I never have had a
desire to live or be anywhere without I could be considered at least as
good as the average, which failing I have now as strong as ever. We not
having any battles to fight, had no opportunities of showing our
bravery, and after guarding the city for forty-five days, were
discharged; over which we made a great rejoicing, and returned home by
the way of New Haven, which was my second visit to this city. The North
and Centre Churches were then building, also, the house now standing at
the North-east corner of the Green, owned then by David DeForest;
stopping here over night, we pased [sic] on home to Plymouth. I had not
slept on a bed since I left home, and would have as soon taken the barn
floor as a good bed. This ended my first campaign.

After this I went to work at my trade, the Joiners business. I was still
an apprentice; would not be twenty-one till the next June.

The War was not yet over, and in October, 1814, our Regiment was ordered
by Governor Smith to New Haven, to guard the city. Col. Sanford, (father
of Elihu and Harvey Sanford of this city,) commanded us. On arriving, we
were stationed at the old slaughter-house, in the Eastern part of the
city, at the end of Green street. All the land East of Academy street
was then in farmers' lots, and planted with corn, rye and potatoes now
covered with large manufactories and fine dwellings. I little thought
then, that I should have the largest Clock-factory in the world, within
a stone's throw of my sleeping-place, as has since proved. Nothing of
much importance took place during our campaign at New Haven. The British
did not land or molest us. We built a large fort on the high grounds, on
the East Haven side, which commanded the Harbor, the ruins of which can
now be seen from the city. A good deal of fault was found by the
officers and men with the provisions, which were very poor. When this
campaign closed I was through with my military glory, and returned to my
home, sick and disgusted with a soldier's life. I hope our country will
not be disgraced with another war.

All of the old people will remember what a great rejoicing there was
through the whole country, when peace was declared in February, 1815. I
was married about that time to Salome Smith, daughter of Capt.
Theophilus Smith, one of the last of the Puritanical families there was
in the town; she made one of the best of wives and mothers. She died on
the 6th of March, 1854. We lived together 39 years. A short time after
we were married, I moved to the town of Farmington, and hired a house of
Mr. Chauncey Deming to live in, and went to work for Capt. Selah Porter,
for twenty dollars per month. We built a house for Maj. Timothy Cowles,
which was then the best one in Farmington. I was not worth at this time
fifty dollars in the world.

1815, the year after the war, was, probably the hardest one there has
been for the last hundred years, for a young man to begin for himself.

Pork was sold for thirteen dollars per hundred, Flour at thirteen
dollars per barrel; Molasses was sold for seventy-five cents per gallon,
and brown Sugar at thirty-four cents per pound. I remember buying some
cotton cloth for a common shirt, for which I paid one dollar a yard, no
better than can now be bought for ten cents. I mention these things to
let the young men know what a great change has taken place, and what my
prospects were at that time. Not liking this place, I moved back to
Plymouth. I did not have money enough to pay my rent, which however, was
not due until the next May, but Mr. Deming, who by the way, was one of
the richest men in the State, was determined that I should not go till I
had paid him. I promised him that he should have the money when it was
due, if my life was spared, and he finally consented to let me go. When
it came due I walked to Farmington, fifteen miles, paid him and walked
back the same day, feeling relieved and happy. I obtained the job of
finishing the inside of a dwelling house, which gave me great
encouragement. The times were awful hard and but little business done at
anything. It would almost frighten a man to see a five dollar bill, they
were so very scarce. My work was about two miles from where I lived. My
wife was confined about this time with her first babe. I would rise
every morning two hours before day-light and prepare my breakfast, and
taking my dinner in a little pail, bid my good wife good-by for the day,
and start for my work, not returning till night. About this time the
Congregational Society employed a celebrated music teacher to conduct
the church singing, and I having always had a desire to sing sacred
music, joined his choir and would walk a long distance to attend the
singing schools at night after working hard all day. I was chosen
chorister after a few weeks, which encouraged me very much in the way of
singing, and was afterwards employed as a teacher to some extent, and
for a long time led the singing there and at Bristol where I afterwards
lived. The next summer was the cold one of 1816, which none of the old
people will ever forget, and which many of the young have heard a great
deal about. There was ice and snow in every month in the year. I well
remember on the seventh of June, while on my way to work, about a mile
from home, dressed throughout with thick woolen clothes and an overcoat
on, my hands got so cold that I was obliged to lay down my tools and put
on a pair of mittens which I had in my pocket. It snowed about an hour
that day. On the tenth of June, my wife brought in some clothes that had
been spread on the ground the night before, which were frozen stiff as
in winter. On the fourth of July, I saw several men pitching quoits in
the middle of the day with thick overcoats on, and the sun shining
bright at the same time. A body could not feel very patriotic in such
weather. I often saw men when hoeing corn, stop at the end of a row and
get in the sun by a fence to warm themselves. Not half enough corn
ripened that year to furnish seed for the next. I worked at my trade,
and had the job of finishing the inside of a three-story house, having
twenty-seven doors and a white oak matched floor to make, and did the
whole for eighty-five dollars. The same work could not now be done as I
did it for less than five hundred dollars. Such times as these were
indeed hard for poor young men. We did not have many carpets or costly
furniture and servants; but as winter approached times seemed to grow
harder and harder. No work could be had. I was in debt for my little
house and lot which I had bought only a short time before, near the
center of Plymouth, and had a payment to make on it the next spring. I
proposed going south to the city of Baltimore, to obtain work, and had
already made preparations to go and leave my young family for the
winter, at which I could not help feeling very sad, when I accidentally
heard that Mr. Eli Terry was about to fit up his factory (which was
built the year before,) for making his new Patent Shelf Clock. I thought
perhaps I could get a job with him, and started immediately to see Mr.
Terry, and closed a bargain with him at once. I never shall forget the
great good feeling that this bargain gave me. It was a pleasant kind of
business for me, and then I knew I could see my family once a week or
oftener if necessary.



At the beginning of this book I have said that I would give to the
public a history of the AMERICAN CLOCK BUSINESS. I am now the oldest man
living that has had much to do with the manufacturing of clocks, and
can, I believe, give a more correct account than any other person. This
great business has grown almost from nothing during my remembrance.
Nearly all of the clocks used in this country are made or have been made
in the small State of Connecticut, and a heavy trade in them is carried
on in foreign countries. The business or manufacture of them has become
so systematized of late that it has brought the prices exceedingly low,
and it has long been the astonishment of the whole world how they could
be made so cheap and yet be good. A gentleman called at my factory a few
years ago, when I was carrying on the business, who said he lived in
London, and had seen my clocks in that city, and declared that he was
perfectly astonished at the price of them, and had often remarked that
if he ever came to this country he would visit the factory and see for
himself. After I had showed him all the different processes it required
to complete a clock, he expressed himself in the strongest terms - he
told me he had traveled a great deal in Europe, and had taken a great
interest in all kinds of manufactures, but had never seen anything equal
to this, and did not believe that there was anything made in the known
world that made as much show, and at the same time was as cheap and
useful as the brass clock which I was then manufacturing.

* * * * *

The man above all others in his day for the wood clock was Eli Terry. He
was born in East Windsor, Conn., in April, 1772, and made a few old
fashioned hang-up clocks in his native place before he was twenty-one
years of age. He was a young man of great ingenuity and good native
talent. He moved to the town of Plymouth, Litchfield county, in 1793,
and commenced making a few of the same kind, working alone for several
years. About the year 1800, he might have had a boy or one or two young
men to help him. They would begin one or two dozen at a time, using no
machinery, but cutting the wheels and teeth with a saw and jack-knife.
Mr. Terry would make two or three trips a year to the New Country, as it
was then called, just across the North River, taking with him three or
four clocks, which he would sell for about twenty-five dollars apiece.
This was for the movement only. In 1807 he bought an old mill in the
southern part of the town, and fitted it up to make his clocks by
machinery. About this time a number of men in Waterbury associated
themselves together, and made a large contract with him, they furnishing
the stock, and he making the movements. With this contract and what he
made and sold to other parties, he accumulated quite a little fortune
for those times. The first five hundred clocks ever made by machinery in
the country were started at one time by Mr. Terry at this old mill in
1808, a larger number than had ever been begun at one time in the world.
Previous to this time the wheels and teeth had been cut out by hand;
first marked out with square and compasses, and then sawed with a fine
saw, a very slow and tedious process. Capt. Riley Blakeslee, of this
city, lived with Mr. Terry at that time, and worked on this lot of
clocks, cutting the teeth. Talking with Capt. Blakeslee a few days
since, he related an incident which happened when he was a boy, sixty
years ago, and lived on a farm in Litchfield. One day Mr. Terry came to
the house where he lived to sell a clock. The man with whom young
Blakeslee lived, left him to plow in the field and went to the house to
make a bargain for it, which he did, paying Mr. Terry in salt pork, a
part of which he carried home in his saddle-bags where he had carried
the clock. He was at that time very poor, but twenty-five years after
was worth $200,000, all of which he made in the clock business.

Mr. Terry sold out his business to Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley, two of
his leading workmen, in 1810. This establishment was the leading one for
several years, but other ones springing up in the vicinity, the
competition became so great that the prices were reduced from ten to
five dollars apiece for the bare movement. Daniel Clark, Zenas Cook and
Wm. Porter, started clock-making at Waterbury, and carried it on largely
for several years, but finally failed and went out of the business.

Col. Wm. Leavenworth, of the same place, was in the business in 1810,
but failed, and moved to Albany, N.Y. A man by the name of Mark
Leavenworth made clocks for a long time, and in the latter part of his
life manufactured the Patent Shelf Clock.

Two brothers, James and Lemuel Harrison, made a few before the year
1800, using no machinery, making their wheels with a saw and knife.
Sixty years ago, a man by the name of Gideon Roberts got up a few in the
old way: he was an excellent mechanic and made a good article. He would
finish three or four at a time and take them to New York State to sell.
I have seen him many times, when I was a small boy, pass my father's
house on horseback with a clock in each side of his saddle-bags, and a
third lashed on behind the saddle with the dials in plain sight. They
were then a great curiosity to me. Mr. Roberts had to give up this kind
of business; he could not compete with machinery. John Rich of Bristol
was in the business; also Levi Lewis, but gave it up in a few years. An
Ives family in Bristol were quite conspicuous as clock-makers. They were
good mechanics. One of them, Joseph Ives, has done a great deal towards
improving the eight day brass clock, which I shall speak about

Chauncey Boardman, of Bristol, Riley Whiting, of Winsted, and Asa
Hopkins, of Northfield, were all engaged in the manufacture of the old
fashioned hang-up clock. Butler Dunbar, an old schoolmate of mine, and
father of Col. Edward Dunbar, of Bristol, was engaged with Dr. Titus
Merriman in the same business. They all gave up the business after a few

Mr. Eli Terry (in the year 1814,) invented a beautiful shelf clock made
of wood, which completely revolutionized the whole business. The making
of the old fashioned hang-up wood clock, about which I have been
speaking, passed out of existence. This patent article Mr. Terry
introduced, was called the Pillar Scroll Top Case. The pillars were
about twenty-one inches long, three-quarters of an inch at the base, and
three-eights at the top - resting on a square base, and the top finished
by a handsome cap. It had a large dial eleven inches square, and tablet
below the dial seven by eleven inches. This style of clock was liked
very much and was made in large quantities, and for several years. Mr.
Terry sold a right to manufacture them to Seth Thomas, for one thousand
dollars, which was thought to be a great sum. At first, Terry and Thomas
made each about six thousand clocks per year, but afterwards increased
to ten or twelve thousand. They were sold for fifteen dollars apiece
when first manufactured. I think that these two men cleared about one
hundred thousand dollars apiece, up to the year 1825. Mr. Thomas had
made a good deal of money on the old fashioned style, for he made a good
article, and had but little competition, and controlled most of the

In 1818, Joseph Ives invented a metal clock, making the plates of iron
and the wheels of brass. The movement was very large, and required a
case about five feet long. This style was made for two or three years,
but not in large quantities.

In the year 1825, the writer invented a new case, somewhat larger than
the Scroll Top, which was called the Bronze Looking-Glass Clock. This
was the richest looking and best clock that had ever been made, for the
price. They could be got up for one dollar less than the Scroll Top, yet
sold for two dollars more.



I must now go back and give a history of myself, from the winter of
1816, to this time (1825.) As I said before, I went to work for Mr.
Terry, making the Patent Shelf Clock in the winter of 1816. Mr. Thomas
had been making them for about two years, doing nearly all of the labor
on the case by hand. Mr. Terry in the mean time being a great mechanic
had made many improvements in the way of making the cases. Under his
directions I worked a long time at putting up machinery and benches. We
had a circular saw, the first one in the town, and which was considered
a great curiosity. In the course of the winter he drew another plan of
the Pillar Scroll Top Case with great improvements over the one which
Thomas was then making. I made the first one of the new style that was
ever produced in that factory, which became so celebrated for making the
patent case for more than ten years after.

When my time was out in the spring, I bought some parts of clocks,
mahogany, veneers, etc., and commenced in a small shop, business for
myself. I made the case, and bought the movements, dials and glass,
finishing a few at a time. I found a ready sale for them. I went on in
this small way for a few years, feeling greatly animated with my
prosperity, occasionally making a payment on my little house. I heard
one day of a man in Bristol, who did business in South Carolina, who
wanted to buy a few clocks to take to that market with him. I started at
once over to see him, and soon made a bargain with him to deliver twelve
wood clocks at twelve dollars apiece. I returned home greatly encouraged
by the large order, and went right to work on them. I had them finished
and boxed ready for shipping in a short time. I had agreed to deliver
them on a certain day and was to receive $144 in cash. I hired an old
horse and lumber wagon of one of my neighbors, loaded the boxes and took
an early start for Bristol. I was thinking all the way there of the
large sum that I was to receive, and was fearful that something might
happen to disappoint me. I arrived at Bristol early in the forenoon and
hurried to the house of my customer, and told him I had brought the the
clocks as agreed. He said nothing but went into another room with his
son. I thought surely that something was wrong and that I should not get
the wished-for money, but after a while the old gentleman came back and
sat down by the table. "Here," he says, "is your money, and a heap of
it, too." It did look to me like a large sum, and took us a long time to
count it. This was more than forty years ago, and money was very scarce.
I took it with a trembling hand, and securing it safely in my pocket,
started immediately for home. This was a larger sum than I had ever had
at one time, and I was much alarmed for fear that I should be robbed of
my treasure before I got home. I thought perhaps it might be known that
I was to receive a large sum for clocks, and that some robbers might be
watching in a lonely part of the road and take it from me, but not
meeting any, I arrived safely home, feeling greatly encouraged and
happy. I told my wife that I would make another payment on our house,
which I did with a great deal of satisfaction. After this I was so
anxious to get along with my work that I did not so much as go out into
the street for a week at a time. I would not go out of the gate from the
time I returned from church one Sunday till the next. I loved to work as
well as I did to eat. I remember once, when at school, of chopping a
whole load of wood, for a great lazy boy, for one penny, and I used to
chop all the wood I could get from the families in the neighborhood,
moonlight nights, for very small sums. The winter after I made this
large sale, I took about one dozen of the Pillar Scroll Top Clocks, and
went to the town of Wethersfield to sell them. I hired a man to carry me
over there with a lumber wagon, who returned home. I would take one of
these clocks under each arm and go from house to house and offer them
for sale. The people seemed to be well pleased with them, and I sold
them for eighteen dollars apiece. This was good luck for me. I sold my
last one on Saturday afternoon. There had been a fall of snow the night
before of about eight or ten inches which ended in a rain, and made very
bad walking. Here I was, twenty-five miles from home, my wife was
expecting me, and I felt that I could not stay over Sunday. I was
anxious to tell my family of my good luck that we might rejoice

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