This eight-day long-case clock was built by B. Chandlee of Nottingham, Pennsylvania ca. 1780, the son of Benjamin Chandlee Snr. (1685-1745).
At this point in history time had not yet been standardised so while time was different between the USA and Ireland, time was also different in every town and city in the country. In the 1880s Greenwich Mean Time was adopted in England and Dublin Mean Time in Ireland – which means that at that time clocks were 25 minutes faster here than our nearest neighbours!
At this point in Irish history emigration to North America was not as common as in the following century and the vast majority of emigrants at that time were Ulster Presbyterians. Most Ulster Presbyterians were the descendants of the Scottish families who had arrived on Irish shores during the Ulster plantation which began in 1609. While Presbyterians were Protestants and largely lived in Ulster many wanted to leave Ulster where they felt that they were being treated as second-class citizens. Many more simply had wanderlust – they had already travelled west to Ireland and wanted to see what lay even further west.
A Family Trade
We don’t know much about Benjamin Chandlee Snr. but that he was born in Kildare and immigrated to the thirteen colonies some time before 1710, the date of his marriage to Sarah Cottey in Philadelphia. He worked as a clock and watchmaker, a trade he apparently passed on to his son. Emigration was certainly easier for those with a trade like clock-making, which made them eminently more employable in their new home. At any rate, this beautiful long case clock - made by a first generation American, with Irish blood pumping through his vein - which has now made its way back to this island, is a potent symbol of the special relationship between Ireland and the United States, as well as the heritage we share.