Tall Case Clock
MAKER: Jonathan Jessop (1771-1857) was born in Guilford County, North Carolina to Quaker parents Thomas Jessop (1715-1783) and his wife, Anne (Matthews) Floyd Jessop. Jonathan’s mother was an active minister within the New Garden Monthly Meeting. When Thomas Jessop died, Anne requested a transfer for herself and her children to Warrington Monthly Meeting in York County, Pennsylvania. There, Jonathan apprenticed with his mother’s cousin, Elisha Kirk ((1757-1790), a clockmaker. After completing his apprenticeship, Jonathan Jessop chose to remain in Pennsylviania, but in 1794 agreed to take the sixteen-year-old Barzillai Gardner, Jr. (1778-1815) as an apprentice from his native state. In November of 1796, Gardner ran away from Jessop’s shop and Jessop advertised that his young apprentice was likely on his way home to North Carolina.
This clock was probably made for Barzillai Gardner, Sr. (1753-1829) and his wife, Jemima Macy (1750-1833), shortly after they decided to send their son to Pennsylviania for his apprenticeship. It is likely that the father delivered his son to Jessop and brought home the clock works for which a local case was made. By 1795, the dominant cabinetmaker in the New Garden Meeting area was David Osborne (1759-1833), who was born in Guilford County, trained under the Chester County, Pennsylviania-born cabinetmaker Thomas Pierce, and like many North Carolina Quakers migrated to Ohio and Indiana in the early 19th century.
RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA owns a Guilford County desk and bookcase-on-frame that is also attributed to David Osborne and the only known clock made by Barzillai Gardner, Jr., during his career in Charlotte, North Carolina, see MESDA Acc. # 3541, 4480.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Robert Leath, “Friendly Furniture: The Quaker Cabinetmakers of Guilford County, 1775-1825,” MESDA Journal 2018.