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Regulator clock good example of preserving history

By Don Williams For the Tribune

Editor's note: Don Williams donated several of his son’s major collections to the Lynden Pioneer Museum. This story, in particular, is about a regulator clock that was manufactured in 1880. The clock currently hangs in the front office at the museum. Williams lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

I have written in the past regarding a regulator clock that my father purchased in 1921 from a RR depot in Montana. The clock has a long history, and told before, but I have been asked to redo it along with the information on the new home for the clock.

I encourage individual readers who may have heirlooms that they really treasure and wonder what to do with them when their time on this earth is up.

Write the history of these items, and think about donating them to a museum. Of course, family members come first. But like many readers have expressed to me, they are the end of the line, and they do not have family members to pass heirloom items on to.

It is necessary, for a tax exemption, to have an official appraisal by someone in the business to appraise it, and then donate it to a tax-exempt museum.

It gives great satisfaction to know that your prize keepsakes will have a good home for many years after you have left this earth.

Following is the update and history of the three generations of a regulator wall clock, built somewhere around 1880.

The Regulator Clock

The story begins in Lawrence, Washington, March 5, 1910. Palmer Clinton Williams was born to Clara and Art Williams. Shortly after Palmer’s birth the Williams family homesteaded in 1912 at Antelope Springs, 16 miles from Roundup, Montana. Palmer would have been about 18 months old at this time.

My father, Palmer, told me this story, and always referred to it as the old homestead.

In 1921 my father, Palmer, at age 11, rode that 16 miles into either Roundup or Flatwillow, Montana on horseback and purchased a used wall hanging regulator clock with date hand from , as I remember, a railroad depot.

The clock was carried on horseback to the old homestead and given to his mother, Clara, on her birthday.

In 1929 or 1930, Clara and Art Williams moved with some of the family to Cheshire/Deadwood, Oregon. They carried the clock with them, and there it hung on the wall until 1945, upon grandpa Art’s death.

Clara and Arthur had 11 children who lived to adulthood.

When Clara, my grandmother, broke up housekeeping in 1945, following the passing of her husband, Art, the clock was sent to my father, Palmer Williams, on, Maple Street, Everett, Washington, who originally gave the clock to his mother. My grandmother was giving back to my father, the person who gave her the clock, in 1921.

Memories of the clock

I first remember the clock when I was 9 years old when the delivery man knocked on the door. He had a wooden crate containing the clock.

The clock was hung on the wall and remained there from 1945-1970, when it was introduced to the third generation of the Williams Family.

Jean and I were married in early 1958. Matthew, our firstborn, arrived late 1959. Jean and I moved from the Maple House in 1970 to the Baker House, and then in 1976, to Cottage Grove, Oregon.

The clock hung on the wall above the davenport.

I recall vividly my wife carrying our newborn son up the walk and laying him on the davenport under the clock. The same with our daughter, three years later. The first sound they heard in their new home was the clicking of the clock hanging on the wall.

The 11 Williams children originally from the homestead, plus aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents, all told time by this clock that set their time to go to work, go to school, and church activities.

When I moved my family to Cottage Grove, Oregon, in 1976, my father delivered the clock to my home on my 40th birthday.

The clock hung on my kitchen wall from 1976-2022, when it was sent to a clock maker, Larry Harriman, for repairs in Bellingham, and is now donated to the Lynden Pioneer Museum.

100 years

The clock has been in the Williams family for over 100 years. In the words of Larry Harriman, who repaired the 1880 Ingraham Wall Regulator clock: “Ingraham co. was a division of McGraw Edison. Elias was a cabinet maker, also making clock cases. He started the E. Ingraham Co. in Canada, Kentucky, and N. Carolina in 1860. This regulator is criteria 1880.”

The following two quotations are from Museum Director Amanda May after she received the clock at the museum:

“It is one of my favorite pieces right now and I love hearing the sound it adds to the front room. I will definitely be using your history and some pictures because the significance is so important. These items will be added when we do the room update.” Amanda May, Lynden Pioneer Museum director

“Here is a picture of the clock. It is located in our main sitting room. Every visitor sees it on their way through the museum. The room will be getting an update in a couple of months. The plaque with the donation information will be added to the wall just to the left or right of the clock. Thank you so much. It has been appreciated by so many.”

It gives this donor a good feeling to see other people enjoying precious family heirlooms.


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