Asahel Cheney of Hartford, Connecticut, Northfield, Massachusetts Putney, Windsor and Royalton, Vermont. This is a Northfield, Massachusetts example. The case is attributed to the Northampton cabinet-maker Julius Barnard. DD160.

This fine cherry case tall clock is well proportioned. The finish is currently quite light making this example stand out in a darker setting. It stands on boldly formed ogee bracket feet which are applied to the bottom of a double stepped molding. The waist is long. It is fitted with a shaped waist door that is trimmed with a simple molded edge. The shaping of this door is quite distinctive. It has been found on clock cases that are asscociated with the Northfield cabinetmaker, Julius Barnard. Several other examples are currently known. The corners of the waist are fitted with fluted quarter columns. These terminate at both ends in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is fitted with a variation of a New England style pierce fret work pattern. This is supported by three fluted chimneys or final plinths, each supporting a brass ball and spike finial. The free standing bonnet columns are also fluted and are mounted in brass capitals. Tombstone shaped side lights are cut into the side panels of the hood. These are fitted with glass. So is the arched bonnet door which opens to access the dial.

This is a locally painted dial of New England origin. It lacks the sophistication of the English imports which were available to other New England clockmakers. This dial has a folk art feel. The floral patterns and the bird centered in the arch are done in a free flowing hand. The design is loose. This dial features a traditionally formatted time ring. Roman numerals are used to mark each of the twelve hours and large Arabic numerals are used to mark each of the five minute markers up to sixty. The time is indicated by the nicely formatted steel hands. A calendar aperture is positioned below the center arbor. Here the date of the month is indicated on a disk that is designed to rotate. A subsidiary seconds dial is located above the center arbor. The Clockmaker's name is boldly signed across the center of the dial. The working location can be plainly seen signed below the calendar aperture. Both are signed in large block lettering.

The time and strike movement is constructed in brass. The movement is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is good quality. It is weight driven and will strike each hour on a cast iron bell. Please note the bulbous or "Cigar" shaped posts that support the plates.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet 5 inches tall and was made circa 1790.

Inventory Number DD-160.

About Asahel Cheney of Hartford, Connecticut, Northfield, Massachusetts, Putney and Royalton, Vermont.

Asahel Cheney was born about 1767 in East Hartford, Connecticut and died in Royalton Vermont on October 31, 1819. He was the oldest son of the Hartford clockmaker Benjamin Cheney and Deborah Olcott. Many examples of Benjamin’s work have been recorded. A large number of which have movement constructed of heavy wooden gearing. Asahel and his two brothers Martin and Russell were most likely trained by their father. By 1790, Asahel had moved to Northfield, Massachusetts and was a property owner there. He lived in what is now known as the Joseph Byrt house. Here he continued to manufacture mostly tall case clocks. We have owned several signed Northfield examples over the years featuring both wooden and brass constructed movements. I fine example signed “Northfield” can be found in the Mabel Brady Garvin Collection at Yale University.

By the mid 1790’s, Asahel moved to Windham County Vermont to the town of Putney. A shelf clock which is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum is signed on the engraved brass kidney shaped dial, “Asahel Cheney / Putney.” It is from this clock that we speculate that Asahel trained his brother Martin in the clockmaking trade. On the seat board of this clock it is inscribed, “This clock was made by Martin Cheney.”

Soon after 1800, the brothers parted company. In 1806, Asahel moves to Royalton, VT and purchases a store with a Mr Fessenden. He sells out his share and moves to Rochester only to return to Royalton. In November of 1809, his name is listed in a land transaction in the town of Royalton, Vermont. He purchased a shop and some land located near the Hotel from David Waller. In Royalton, he is reported to have had the clockmaker Jacob Kimball working with him.In 1818, he purchases the Gilbert Tavern. He died suddenly of apoplexy. He had a Masonic Funeral.

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