Stephen Hasham of Charlestown, Hew Hampshire. A tall case clock.

This is important cherry case tall clock was made by Stephen Hasham of Charlestown, Hew Hampshire. If you have any interest in antique clocks made by New England Clockmakers that were truly characters, then Stephen Hasham has to be at the top of your list.

This 18th century tall case clock is constructed in cherry and retains an older surface. This surfaced has mellowed into a wonderful warm patina. This case form is distinctive in that it features a very unusual foot design. This case stands on five feet. It consists of a double step molding that is applied to the lower section of the base. The lower molding transitions into or forms five ogee bracket feet. The fifth foot is located in the center between the front two feet. All five feet are not applied to the molding. They are cut from the same piece of wood. This is an unusual presentation. All five feet are original to this clock and are nicely shaped. This design element has been found on at least three other cherry cased tall clock examples that were constructed in this region. One example is currently in the collection at Historic-Deerfield and is on display upstairs in the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. That clock also features an engraved silvered dial that is signed by the Walpole, New Hampshire clockmaker Isaiah Eaton. Eaton was and Apprentice of Hasham’s. The two other examples are currently in our inventory. These clocks are not signed and feature painted dials. The base panel on the Hasham signed clock features a figured cherry board that formatted in a horizontal orientation. The waist is section long. It is fitted with a large tombstone shaped waist door. This door is trimmed around the perimeter with an applied molding. A circular window is centered in the door. The opening is trimmed with a molding and is fitted with glass. Looking through it, one can monitor the motion of the swinging pendulum. Open this waist door and one can access the pendulum and weights. The corners of the waist are fitted with boldly fluted quarter columns. These terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The hood is designed with a molded cornice. A whale’s tails fret work pattern is positioned above the arched molding. This fret is supported by three finial plinths. Each of which supporting a brass finial. The hood columns are mounted in brass capitals. These flank the arch formed hood door. This door is fitted with glass. Additional columns are located at the back of the hood. This hood is also fitted with large tombstone shaped side lights.

This 13 inch dial is constructed from a sheet of brass. It gets its silver color from a wash that is applied after it has been engraved. The engravings are skillfully executed. The rococo scroll work theme is consistent in the four spandrel areas. This dial is signed by the Maker. The Maker’s name and working location “S. Hasham “ is positioned in the center of the dial and can be plainly seen. In the arch of the dial is a lunar calendar or a moon phase mechanism. Interestingly, the moon is painted and has a pleasing face. The time ring is laid out in a traditional format. It is interesting to note that it is applied on the base sheet of the dial. The hours are indicated in Roman numerals and the five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic form. The day of the month is also displayed through a small square opening above the Roman numeral “Six.”

This movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. It is nicely finished. The large brass plates are supported by four turned posts. 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 on a post.

This case has the following approximate dimensions: 96.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. It is 2.25 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep at the upper bonnet molding. This clock was made circa 1790.

About Stephen Hasham of Charlestown, New Hampshire.

Stephen Hasham was born in October of 1764 in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents, Samuel (Jr.) and Hannah (Simpson) Hasham had nine children. Stephen was the sixth. While growing up in Boston, Stephen and his father witnessed the battle of Breed’s Hill from Coop’s Hill in Boston’s North End. They also watched the battle of Bunker Hill from the belfry of a meeting house at the North End of Boston. In 1775, his family moved west to the rural community of Grafton, Massachusetts. Two years later, Stephen and a brother moved ten miles away to the city of Worcester. It is now thought that Stephen was trained as a clockmaker by Abel Stowell. Stowell advertised frequently that he was looking to train young boys as apprentices in the skill of clockmaking. Town records support this in that Stowell was reimbursed for the care of Stephen and his brother Mayhew. Sometime by he mid 1780’s, Stephen and Mayhew move north to the small town of Charlestown, New Hampshire. This well positioned town had a population of approximately 900 people. On September 27, 1787, it is recorded that Stephen married Theodosia Hastings the only daughter of Deacon John and Susanna (Willard, Johnson) Hastings who were extensive property owners. Stephen and Theodosia had five children and it is here that Stephen establishes himself as a clockmaker and probably trained others including Isaiah Eaton. In addition to clockmaking, Hasham was very active in trading real estate, he became a builder, an architect, an accomplished carver, and later a tavern keeper at his Eagle Hotel.

We have owned and seen a number of tall clocks that were made by him. One fine example is a brass dial example that is in the collection of the New Hampshire Historical Society and is well documented. This clock is actually numbered “145” on it’s engraved brass dial. Currently, we have for sale another brass dial example. Hasham’s output was not limited to tall case clocks. It is reported that he also made clocks in the Massachusetts shelf clock form. Several banjo style clocks are also known and as many as ten tower clocks have been documented over the years. He also made several clocks that were designed to be mounted into the interior walls of a number of a number of Charlestown homes. The walls acted as the clock’s case by protecting the inner workings. A surveying instrument call a “semi-circumferenter” made by Hasham is in the collection of the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

On March 6, 1841 his wife Theodosia died at the age of 72. They had been married 50 years. Interestingly, with in weeks, Stephen was courting a 23 year old school teacher by the name of Lucy Amy Miller. Stephen was now 76 years old. They were married in August 19th, 1841 and had five children together. The last child Emily, was born when Stephen was 86 years old. By 1851, financial difficulties begin to play a large role in Stephen’s life. In addition, his wife Lucy was deemed an insane person by the neighborhood and was committed in 1852. Financial hardships followed and he was soon ruined. The town of Charlestown was forced to watch over him until his death on February 3, 1861. He was 100 years young. Some of the stories regarding this man are priceless. Please read the December 1994 NAWCC Bulletin article, The Amazing Stephen Hasham written by Don Haven Lathrop and Frederick Shelley.

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