Stephen Hasham of Charlestown, Hew Hampshire. Tall case clock.
This is an important inlaid cherry case tall clock 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 nicely proportioned dark stained cherry case example stands on applied bracket feet. Each foot is nicely detailed, exhibiting subtle shaping, strong returns and good height. The waist section is very long and accentuates the fine proportions of this case. It is fitted with a long narrow waist door that is trimmed with applied molding. The open fretwork style bonnet is surmounted with three brass ball and spiked finials. These are positioned on capped plinths or chimneys. The bonnet door is an arched form and is fitted with glass. The free standing bonnet columns are smoothly turned and terminate in brass capitals.
The dial is colorfully painted and is signed by the Maker, "HASHAM" in the interior of the subsidiary seconds dial. The floral decorations in each of the four spandrel areas are colorfully formatted and lack the traditional gilt boarders found on so many other painted dials of this period. The display of the time and date are done so in the traditional format. This dial also features a lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism in it's arch.
The weight driven movement is brass construction, eight-day duration and of good quality. This clock is designed to strike each hour on the hour on a bell. The bell is mounted above the movement on a bell stand.
This wonderful example was made circa 1800. It stands approximately 8 feet tall to the top of the center finial.
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 number six. While growing up in Boston, Stephen and his father witnessed the battle of Breed’s Hill from the top of Coop’s Hill in Boston’s North End and also 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 to the city of Worcester which was only ten miles away. 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 moved north to the small town of Charlestown, New Hampshire. This well positioned town had a population of approximately 900. 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.
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 an engraved brass dial. We have also owned brass dial and several painted dial examples and sold them to New England collectors. Stephen is also known to have made clocks in the Massachusetts shelf clock form, the banjo style wall clocks, and a number of tower clocks were installed in local New England towns. He also made several clocks that were mounted into the interior walls of some of the homes built in Charlestown. A surveying instrument constructed by him is in the collection of the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. In addition to clockmaking, Hasham was very active in trading real estate, he became a builder, an accomplished carver, and later a tavern keeper at his Eagle Hotel.
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. 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 was forced to watch over him until his death on February 3, 1861 at 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 Donn Haven Lathrop and Frederick Shelley. It is on page 723.
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