Archive for April, 2013

Civil War Weekend Battle Re-enactment

400px-Tullahoma_CampaignThe battles being re-enacted during Civil War Weekend at Heritage Village Museum occurred during the Tullahoma Campaign between June 24th and July 3rd, 1863. The campaign is named for the city of Tullahoma, which is located in South Central Tennessee. This campaign is notable to Ohioans as over 36 Ohio units participated. The forces engaged in the Tullahoma Campaign were the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Major General William S. Rosecrans for the Union and the Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Braxton Bragg for the Confederates. The Union sent Colonel John T. Wilder and his mounted infantry brigade through Hoover’s Gap, one of several lightly defended passes through the mountains. Wilder’s men had an advantage over the Confederates because they had the new Spencer Repeating Rifle, which greatly increased the rate of fire compared to the older guns. Wilder’s “Lightning Brigade”, as it became known, easily pushed out the rebel defenders. The battle of Hoover’s Gap, along with the movement of the Union’s main line, forced the Confederates to withdraw to Chattanooga. The battle of Hoover’s Gap during this campaign opened the door for the Union army to reach Chattanooga, which was a strategic objective of President Abraham Lincoln. Despite being a resounding Union Victory, the Tullahoma Campaign is often overlooked since the Battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg also took place the same summer.
Heritage Village’s Civil War Weekend is May 18th 10am-5pm and May 19th 10am-3pm. Re-enactment battles occur each day at 2pm.

Luman Watson: Cincinnati Clockmaker

Read & Watson 1815 Tall Case Clock

Throughout the centuries, humans have created objects to try and capture the passing of time. Examples of this craft can be seen at the Heritage Village Museum’s Antique Clock Exhibit. Did you know that Cincinnati challenged New England in clock making during the early 19th Century? After the Revolutionary War, there was a reduction in purchasing manufactured goods from Europe, as the former colonists began to produce their own merchandise. The craft of clock making quickly transformed into an American industry with Connecticut being the manufacturing center.
Since brass for the clock gearings was difficult to obtain in America, wooden movement clocks were constructed. Although hardwood could be substituted for brass in the gearing, the workings of these clocks were inferior so they needed winding about every 30 hours. Also, clocks made with wooden movements were more fragile than brass clocks and easily damaged when shipped to the newly expanding western United States. So, why did Cincinnati become a rival in clock making? Cincinnati had an abundance of hardwood to make these wooden movement clocks and being located further west, the shipping distance was greatly reduced.
Luman Watson is an example of a successful Cincinnati clock maker. Born in Connecticut in 1790, Watson moved to Ohio in 1809 and began marketing the new wooden works clocks to local makers. Watson then formed a partnership with Ezra Read and opened a factory in Cincinnati to manufacture wooden works clocks. Although business was profitable, the partnership with Read dissolved after six months and Watson continued alone. Ezra Read moved to Xenia, Ohio and made the majority of Watson’s clock cases. Watson’s clock factory was in existence from 1815-1834, when Watson passed away. Over 30,000 tall case (grandfather) clocks were manufactured in the 19 years the factory existed. Luman Watson also make shelf, or mantle clocks. These clocks generally had glass panels, which were painted with scenic landscapes, animals or portraits.
Heritage Village Museum has a tall case Read and Watson clock on display for our Antique Clock Exhibit. The clock was made during the short span Read and Watson worked together in 1815 and has the wooden movement. Also on display is a Watson mantle clock circa 1815-1834. Both clocks are beautiful examples of clock craftsmanship in Cincinnati during the 19th Century. The Antique Clock Exhibit is open Wednesday – Friday 10am-4pm in April and Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm May – June.