Upon entering the Sherman Room, one of the first items that catch most people’s eye is a grandfather clock sitting across from the entrance. The clock has an ornately gilded brass face; a silvered dial with raised brass numerals; and a sweep seconds hand with a hand painted revolving moon dial. The moon dial rotates, eventually displaying the phases of the moon and changing scenery. This is an 8-day clock and requires winding once a week. It was made by the Seth Thomas Company, one of America’s oldest clock makers.
Seth Thomas was born in Connecticut in 1785 and became a clockmaker apprentice at the age of 14 under Daniel Tuttle. Seven years later, Thomas and Silas Hoadley took a job with Eli Terry. In 1810 Terry sold his shop to Thomas and Hoadley for $6,000. In 1813 Thomas sold his half of the business and bought land, which included a clock factory. The land was conveniently located next to Eli Terry’s new shop. The two men created a partnership and Thomas continued to make wooded movements until around 1840 when the brass movement was being introduced. By 1844 wooden movements were no longer being produced and, in 1850, Thomas was producing 24,000 brass movements a year. In 1859 Seth Thomas passed the company on to his son, Aaron, and died shortly after at the age of 73. The Seth Thomas name was acquired by different companies throughout the late 20th century and is currently no longer in production.
John Christmas Larwill was born in Wooster, Ohio February 20, 1820. He came from a pioneering family. His father, William Larwill, was one of the first settlers in Wayne County, Ohio and his uncle Joseph H. Larwill, along with James Hedges and Jacob Newman, laid out and founded Mansfield, Ohio in 1808. At a young age, J. C. Larwill was appointed clerk of the Ohio State Senate with the influence of his brother-in-law Governor Thomas W. Bartley. After leaving the Senate, Larwill entered the mercantile business in Loudonville, building up a fortune before he came to Mansfield around 1890. Larwill was married twice: once to a Miss Workman, who died many years before him, and second to Miss Susan Moore. He had one son, Arthur Larwill, who preceded him in death on December 21, 1881 at the age of 24. Upon coming to Mansfield, Larwill became president of the Monarch Stove Company, and was a director in the Ohio Brass Company, Mansfield Gas Company and the Richland Insurance Company. John Christmas Larwill died on August 30, 1901.
It’s apparent by J. C. Larwill’s will that the library was important to him. He gave $5,000 to the library association, with his wife Susan acting as trustee, and gave a considerable amount to the Baptist church of Loudonville to help them supply their library. Susan Larwill contributed many items to the library to continue the legacy of John C. Larwill. This included not only books, but the Megalethoscpoe, which now sits at the Mansfield Memorial Museum at 34 Park Ave. West, and the Seth Thomas grandfather clock, which sits in the Sherman Room.
The Mansfield Daily Shield. 31 AUG 1901
The Mansfield News. 09 SEP 1901