Historical Civil War Presentation watch to Master Mason 39th IND.

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Civilwarwatchcollector, Dec 1, 2019.

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  1. Civilwarwatchcollector

    Civilwarwatchcollector Registered User

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    #1 Civilwarwatchcollector, Dec 1, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    Hello all:

    I just got my watch back last week from having a needed repair. I posted a few months ago about this watch, when it was in non-running condition, and wasn't sure if it was repairable. We'll, I got it back and it was expertly overhauled and is in great running condition! I wanted to do a followup and share this watch story with those interested in collecting civil war watches. I have done a lot of research on civil war presentation watches and believe this is the only known example that was presented to a free mason for his duties during war time.

    This watch was presented to John Linsday, a "worshipful master" of the Jones Military Lodge (named after Fielder Jones, Colonel of the 39th Ind Infantry, which later became the 8th Indiana Cavalry.) The watch is inscribed " Presented by the Jones Military Lodge, Army of the Cumberland, to John C. Linsday, the "worshipful master" as a token of respect and esteem for faithful and efficient services, A.S. Lakin, Chaplain of the Army of Command, June 3 1863".

    John Linsday was the worshipful master of the Kokomo Lodge prior to his joining the Union Army and was a private in the 39th Ind and 8th Ind. Cavalry from 1861-1864 and discharged due to disability.

    Interestingly, A.S. Lakin was elected to be the first president of the University of Alabama after the college was restored and rebuilt (the Union Army burned down the U Of A ) in 1868. Upon hearing of this news and upon Mr. Lakin to open the University, the KKK in Alabama met this with resistance and forced Mr. Lakin and his wife to another area of Alabama which allowed him to survive and save his life. There is a historical cartoon that was published through out the United States depicting this incident. It showed Mr. Lakin hanging from a tree and calling him out as a "carpet bagger". These little pieces of history are invaluable and remind us of a dark past that existed in our Country over a 150 years ago. So thrilled to get it back passing time in the modern era!

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  2. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Thanks for posting the watch and the great description



    Rob
     
  3. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    #3 Clint Geller, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    It is a real pleasure to see another Civil War provenance watch collector posting in this forum. By coincidence, I also happen to be active on the Civil War Talk message board, where my handle there is “CW Watch Collector.” That is a lovely watch you have there with a fine provenance. You may be interested in my new book, an NAWCC publication, entitled The Appreciation and Authentication of Civil War Timepieces, which came out last June. Similarly, the NAWCC Museum in Columbia, PA is currently running a special exhibit, “Timeless Testaments: Civil War Watches and the Men Who Carried Them,” through the end of January. The exhibit draws from 4 museums and ten private collections and features 18 watches with Civil War provenances.

    So please tell us more about the units in which Pvt. Lindsay served. What battles did they fight in, etc?

    And by the way, if you are interested in things Masonic, check out the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial in the Gettysburg National Cemetery Annex. There is a picture of it on the cover of my book, and I just bought a watch that was owned by the man who sculpted it. The original owner of the sculptor’s watch was a Union Army lieutenant colonel who was mortally wounded in action.
     
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  4. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    #4 Clint Geller, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    CWWC, that lovely silver case looks like it weighs at least 3 ounces, maybe even 4 ounces. Does it have a case maker's or retailer's marking in it? Do you have a picture of Pvt. Lindsay? The movement of your watch was finished in October, 1862, so Pvt. Lindsay acquired the watch sometime after that date.

    I had a peek at the unit histories, and the 39th IN Infantry, which was redesignated the 8th IN Cavalry on October 15, 1863, saw a lot of hard action, including at Shiloh, Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, Nashville, and the Atlanta Campaign, among several other major engagements, losing 398 enlisted men and 9 officers in service.

    I have an AT&Co Grade Waltham Model 1857 quite similar to yours, SN 85,082 finished in October, 1863, which I have probably shown here, that was presented to Major Josiah B. (probably for Botsford) Cobb of the 12th IN Cavalry by his colonel. Major Cobb had previously served as a sergeant in the 2nd IN Cavalry, which saw many of the same fights as Pvt. Lindsay. That watch is in the NAWCC Museum special exhibit now.
     
  5. Civilwarwatchcollector

    Civilwarwatchcollector Registered User

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    #5 Civilwarwatchcollector, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    Hi Clint,
    This is Robert....we have had a few discussions in the past on CW presentation watches. For some reason my old account wouldn"t allow my login credentials, so I sm posting as a new member.
    Anyhow, yes the case seems to be 4 oz. , and the case makers name is C.E.C., stamped with an eagle. I wasn't able to find any info. on this maker.
    I do not have a photo of Mr. Linsday, but he is buried in Kingfisher, Ok. according to findagrave.com. He was disabled from being severly injured in one of the early 1864 battles. Can't remember which one at the moment. The 39th became a dismounted Cavalry unit and gained it's official Cavalry status of the 8th Ind. Cavalry I believe in October of 1863. During it's in-between status, my understanding is it was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland as one of the Corp's regiments.
    The watch was given to Mr. Linsday about a month before they engaged in battle at Liberty Gap, and a couple of months before Chickamauga. I'm sure it was ticking away precious American history during many battles.
    I was able to contact the State of Indiana and they sent me all of his records on file when he was a worshipful master in Kokomo before the war.
    I am truly fascinated with the role of civil war masons and how they played such an intrical part in the lives of their fellow soldiers as well as their enemies. Reading some of the stories on how soldiers became masons and their deep belief in their cause is truly remarkable.
     
  6. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    Well then, hello again, Robert. I didn’t know it was you. You know, I think a lot of the professional West Point graduate officers of the CW period were masons. Same, or even more so for the US Navy. Lots of enlisted men like your John Lindsay too. In the early 1970’s I recall that the mayor of NY City, my home town, was named John Lindsay.
     
  7. Civilwarwatchcollector

    Civilwarwatchcollector Registered User

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    #7 Civilwarwatchcollector, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Clint, I was at the Confederate musuem here in Texas over the weekend and saw three watches. Earlier this year, I was in New Orleans and visited their museum. Not a single watch was on display. Of the three on display here in Texas, one was Jeb Stuart's. It only has his initials. I believe it's owner (Richey) paid in excess of $130,000 at Heritage Auctions for it.

    As I have said before, these presentation watches are easily the most difficult to find. Guns and swords, not so much. I believe you will find one presention watch for every 500 presentation swords or firearms. That's how rare they are!

    Your book I haven't purchased yet, but have seen it's contents. It looks like a good 30% or so of the watches on display are post war inscriptions. Still, very difficult to find these.

    I am so fortunate to have 6 with presentations, and one with just a name, and I know you have quite a few more. They are invaluable.
     
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  8. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    #8 Clint Geller, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Robert, of the 18 provenance watches in the exhibit, the latest presentation is dated in 1868, a presentation to a semi-famous medal of honor recipient and brigadier general by the former officers of his original regiment. (This watch is not written up in my book. It is discussed in a separate NAWCC Bulletin article.) All the others were presented and/or carried either during a person's period of service or at its immediate end as a parting gift from his comrades in arms. One officer was KIA with his watch in his pocket. Another provenance watch has an accompanying diary with an entry mentioning the receipt of the watch from the sergeant's company. All 18 watches have pictures of their owners. Several original owners have surviving letters or other writings. Several owners are also mentioned by name in period documents.

    I have found Civil War provenance watches to be scarce but not unattainably rare. In about five years I have managed to collect eleven of them, and I was the unsuccessful back bidder on two others (both of which are alongside mine in the museum exhibit). A few others slipped through my fingers as well in the same period. Finding these watches is no more, and sometimes less challenging than finding some other kinds of watches I collect. They all turn up eventually. Certainly over a hundred, and quite possibly several hundred Civil War provenance watches survive today. Given that probably over half a million watches, mostly foreign, were carried during the conflict, this should not be surprising.
     
  9. Civilwarwatchcollector

    Civilwarwatchcollector Registered User

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    #9 Civilwarwatchcollector, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Clint,

    I guess the rarity could be based on supply and demand, and if yo go by the availability of CW "presentation" watches with inscriptions, and not ones that made it down the line as "grandpa's watch that he wore in the CW with a letter by his grandson, 1920", they are in my opinion, very rare. Do a research on any database with invaluable, liveauctineers, Heritage, Jones and Horan {who have had a few over the years, and I believe you own a couple of them), Skinner, etc...they just don't come up that often. I'm not sure how many turn up at the NAWCC marts. I use to attend those when I had a rather large collection of antique clocks, but I wasn't collecting watches at the time. My 500 number is a bit of a reach, but being a collector of CW pieces with inscriptions (I own a few revolvers and one Confederate sword presented to a Captain (the Railroad Boys) of the First Tennessee Infantry, elected from his position as a RR conductor with the Nashville and Chattanooga RR) these watches are extremely hard to come by, in my opinion. If you have lots of connections in the hobby, I could see them turning up more often, but as a self proclaimed amateur picker as myself (LOL) they are hard to get. They are without question, my favorite to collect.

    I tend to use the end of the CW date of Lee's surrender April 9, 1865, as the end of the civil war, although it was really the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Inscriptions after that date are what I personally consider post war, but that is just me. I believe the major attraction to these is did the soldier carry the watch in battle, or was it a present as a parting gift. I know the values seems to dip considerably with inscriptions that date post war. I do own one post war I was able to acquire from the Union Drummer Boy in Gettysburg. I would like to get some thoughts on it and may start another post in the near future.

    Regardless, just owning one of them, even post war as a parting gift to the soldier, tells a unique story, and glorifies, even on a small scale, the contribution that others admired and rewarded with a pocket watch, inscribed, for duties well performed, is as about as good as it gets.
     
  10. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    #10 Clint Geller, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Robert,

    As I pointed out in my previous post, I have averaged at least three purchasing opportunities a year for Civil War provenance watches since I started collecting them, whereas other kinds of watches I collect I have waited 30 years for. Watches were perhaps most often presented as parting gifts at the end of a soldier's service, which often occurred during the war, because unlike a sword or a gun, a watch would continue to be useful as the recipient transitioned back to civilian life. In my own collection, one watch was purchased by the combatant shortly before the war, one was a beginning-of-service gift from the soldier’s company, five were in service presentations, three were end-of-service presentations made when the recipient was still in uniform, and one was a presentation made three years later by comrades in arms. I have never seen a Confederate "presentation watch" and I only know of half a dozen or so inscribed ones. That's because there weren't a lot of new watches available in Confederate territory during the war, and at the end of the war, when watch presentations were most popular, there wasn't a lot of congratulating and gift giving going on in the South.

    In my book, I list numerous factors bearing on the desirability of a presentation watch, and whether or not the watch was owned during the recipient's service, or at the end of it is only one such factor. Of the three watches in my own collection that I consider most historically significant and precious to me personally, one was an end-of-service presentation, and one was an after service presentation. Both were presented to semi-famous generals by grateful comrades. For me, who the watch was presented to, who presented the watch, and why it was presented can be more important than when it was presented. My other favorite watch carries a name on its cuvette, but it is not a presentation. It was purchased slightly before the war by a student at Harvard and was carried throughout the war until the owner, by then a lieutenant colonel, was KIA during the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. According to the Harvard Memorial Biographies, the man's brother, who was a captain in a different unit, received the watch along with a letter stating that the watch was recovered from his sibling's body.
     
  11. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    I should have mentioned that the battle history of Lt. Colonel John Hodges, Jr.'s watch may not have ended when John's life ended on July 30, 1864. The brother who received John's watch, Captain Thorndike Deland Hodges of the 1st NC Colored Volunteers (a.k.a., the 35th USCT), a unit of black enlisted men with white officers, fought alongside his men at the Battle of Honey Hill in Jasper Cy. SC on November 30, 1864. As had all the other officers of the regiment, Thorndike had volunteered for duty with the 35th USCT, probably the first Union regiment whose enlisted men were recruited entirely from among freed slaves. Earlier in the war, the 35th USCT had fought alongside the more famous 54th MA at the Battle of Olustee, taking heavy casualties in that engagement.
     

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