1. Tall Case Clock

This walnut long-case or tall-case clock, with a face marked “JESSE HAYDEN/ROCKVILLE,” was made during Hayden’s brief residence in the newly named and platted town of Rockville, c.1803-1805. The clock was owned by Upton Beall, Clerk of the County Court, who completed in c.1815 a fine Federal-style brick house, now known as the Beall-Dawson House. The clock was donated to the Historical Society in 1965, when the Society became co-steward of the city-acquired house, and remains perhaps the most important object in the collection.

Jesse Hayden (1780-1852) was born in Baltimore, but there is no record of the apprenticeship he would have undergone to learn the related skills of clock and watchmaking and silversmithing. He married Sarah Gittings in Rockville on May 29, 1804, and paid property tax in Rockville in 1805. He then moved to Martinsburg, (West) Virginia, where he spent the rest of his life.

Hayden would have acquired the clock case from a cabinetmaker, perhaps in Georgetown, who was still relying on elements of the 18th-century Chippendale style rather than working in the more fashionable Federal style. On the broken-pediment bonnet, or hood, colonettes frame the glazed door which opens to permit winding of the imported clock works located behind a painted face. The works are twice labeled “Osborne” for the Osborne and Wilson Manufactory in Birmingham, England (active 1772-1812). The trunk, or waist, decorated with quarter columns to match the bonnet colonettes, contains the pendulum and weights.

Upton Beall was Assistant Clerk of the County Court until 1795 when he succeeded his father Brooke Beall as clerk. In 1796, he married Mathilda Price (died 1806), both hailing from wealthy and notable families. In fact, his grandfather, Samuel Beall, and her father, Thomas Price, had been among the “Immortals,” the twelve Frederick County justices who renounced the Stamp Act in 1765. In 1810, he married his second wife, Jane Robb.

On Upton Beall’s death, the valuable clock was purchased from his estate by his wife, Jane. She left it to her three daughters who continued to live in the house. The last daughter, Margaret, invited her cousin Amelia Somervell (granddaughter of Upton’s brother) to live with her; Amelia married farmer John Dawson in 1871, and they raised eight children in the house. When the Dawsons sold the house to the Davis family in 1946, the clock conveyed with the house. When the widowed Mrs. Davis moved out in 1965, she gave the clock to the Anderson family next door. Thomas M. Anderson, Jr. returned the clock to the Beall-Dawson House shortly thereafter when the Historical Society took possession of the building.

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