Friday, October 25, 2019

Daniel Burnap Musical Clock Wadsworth Atheneum Museum

Daniel Burnap musical clock from clockmakers own home gifted by his descendants to Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in 1941. Clock plays six tunes, the names of which are engraved around the top: Elliot's Minuit; Hob Nob; Rakes of Rodney; Fr. Kings Minuit; Ovr, the Watr, To Charly; Maid of The Mill. Photo Courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum

       Brandy Culp, curator of the The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art furnished photographs and Grace Malloy, of the Connecticut Historical Society provided research materials on the Burnap family history. 
      All known early American musical clocks have been documented in Gary Sullivan's Musical Clocks of Early America, 1730-1830. To purchase see
      The clock was a gift of Erskine Burnap Hyde and Miss Mary Elizabeth Hyde, the children of Charlotte Elizabeth Burnap (1830-1906) and Thomas Colton Parmalee Hyde (1825-1900) grandchildren of the clock maker, Daniel Burnap

The clock was designed to chime six melodies (which can be heard using a link on the wall label). It is coupled with stanzas from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Old Clock on the Stairs.” From Susan Hodara's feature piece, "Poets Give Voice to Art in ‘Sound and Sense’ at Wadsworth Museum." Published in The New York Times March 2016

Others donations associated with the estate of Erskine Burnap Hyde were presented as a gift through the heirs, Grant and Sylvia Brown of Brookfield. The donation comprised of letters, account books and documents of Daniel Burnap. These items are extremely valuable and have made it possible for scholars such as Gary Sullivan, to research the history associated with Burnap's clock making career. Full text of "Connecticut Historical Society Annual Report" Content can be viewed here Papers of the Burnap, Brown, Post, Hyde, and Bushnell families

Image From When the World Ran onConnecticut Time Connecticut Historical Society Gift of Grant Brown and Sylvia Brown, 2015.133.11 © 2017 Two photographs of the engraved plate Daniel Burnap used to print his watch papers. The lettering appears backward, and reads, "Daniel Burnap / Clock & Watch Maker / near Bisell's tavern / East Windsor".

The donor of the clock Erskine B. Hyde lived on the homestead of clock maker Daniel Burnap with his wife Nellie and sister Mary Elizabeth.

Photograph of the Burnap Farm house, also known as Burnap Brook Farm. As of 2015, it is still a farm, and offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box for subscribers. CHS

Photograph of Nellie Hyde, wife of Erskine Burnap Hyde wearing a floor-length floral dress standing in a room with the clock made by Daniel Burnap now at Wadsworth Atheneum. Photo from Connecticut Historical Society Digital Collection

Back of Nellie Hyde Photo: Inscription: Verso, handwritten in pencil: "Nellie Hyde with / Burnap Clock / (which is now in / Wadsworth Atheneum / Hartford CT" Handwritten in pencil: "1974" Handwritten in pencil: "1973" Handwritten in pencil: "Loon [?] is now with / Sylvia G Brown / Cambridge MA"

Photo of Erskine B. Hyde in Hartford Courant Sunday May 19, 1950 below article accompanied the photo.

NOTE: Grandfather "Rev Libbeus Hyde." is misspelled-should be Lavius Hyde (1789-1865)

Burnap-Skinner Memorial Building: On November 12, 1927, a new building on the corner of Long Hill Road and Route 6 was dedicated as the Andover Public Library Andover, Connecticut.  In 1919, Elliot P. Skinner, a son-in-law of Daniel Burnap, added a codicil to  his will which laid the financial ground work for a new home for the library:

"I give to William B. Sprague and Erskine B. Hyde in trust, the sum of Five Thousand - 5000 dollars from my estate, and hereby appoint said William B. Sprague and Erskine B. Hyde trustees to use and expend said sum of money for the erection and equipment of a suitable building for the use of the Andover Library Association, said building to be known as the Burnap - Skinner Memorial building. When said building is fully complete it shall be turned over to the Town of Andover and become the property of said Town of Andover."

Genealogy of the Daniel Burnap, Clock maker and the Donors.

Silhouette of Daniel Burnap, the clock maker. The Connecticut Historical Society Digital Photo Collection

Clock maker, Daniel Burnap (1759-1838) was the son of Captain Abraham Burnap (1730-1800) and Irene “Susan” Wright (1733-1798) daughter of James Wright (1699-1750) and Sarah Guild (1704-1777). He married Marry Kingsbury (1787-1873) daughter of Joseph Kingsbury and Ruth Benton (1733-1798).  

Built in 1772, on Old Main Street in East Windsor Hill for Smith Bailey, a goldsmith and silversmith. Bailey was married to a granddaughter of Timothy Edwards and had a shop in the building that is now the East Windsor Hill Post Office. His gambrel-roofed house was later owned by neighbor Lucy Webster, who sold it to Daniel Burnap in 1786. Burnap used as a workshop and also worked with silver and brass in his East Windsor workshop. 

Children of Daniel Burnap and Hannah Kingsbury Burnap: Charlotte Elizabeth (1830-1906) , Mary Delia Burnap (1827-1912), and Daniel Kingsbury Burnap (1824-1844)

1) Charlotte Elizabeth Burnap (1830-1906) married Thomas Colton Hyde (1825-1900) son of Lavius Hyde (1789-1865) son of Captain Jacob Hyde (1703-1782) and Hannah Kingsbury (1707-1770) daughter of Joseph Kingsbury (1682-1757) and Ruth Dennison (1686-1779).

Ruth Dennison’s sister Hannah Dennison(m. to Nathaniel Kingsbury) was mother of Daniel Burnap’s first wife Deliverance Kingsbury. Parents of Ruth Dennison and Hannah Dennison: John Dennison and Ruth Ayer. Joseph Kingsbury son of Jabez Kingsbury and Mary Phelps, daughter of Joseph Phelps and Abigail Bissell.

Children of Charlotte and Thomas Hyde: 

  • Erskine Burnap Hyde married cousin of Daniel Burnap Nellie Rose (1860-1939) daughter of William Palmer Rose and Julia Burnap (1846-1873) daughter of Daniel Burnap (1819-1890) and Martha Hayes (1823-1888). Daniel Burnap son of Milton Burnap (1795-1869) and Martha Skinner (1795-1855). Milton son of John Burnap, brother of Clock maker, Daniel Burnap.????
  • Emily Hollister Hyde (1862-1887) never married no issue.
  • Mary Elizabeth Hyde (1868-1950) never married no issue

2) Mary Delia Burnap (1827-1912) married Elliott Palmer Skinner (1831-1917) son of Zenas B Skinner and Ann Palmer.  Children: 

3) Daniel Kingsbury Burnap (1824-1844) no issue

Silhouette of Daniel Kingsbury Burnap, son of Daniel Burnap, the clock maker. Burnap's only son died at age twenty six, He was a sophomore at Yale College. CHS

Obit for husband of Charlotte Burnap Hyde, Thomas C P Hyde Hartford Courant October 29 1900 page 8

Estate of Erskine B Hyde April 12 1952 Hartford Courant  


Obit Mary Delia Burnap Skinner May 31 1912 Hartford Courant

Obit for Mary Burnap Skinner Norwich Bulletin May 28 1912


Obit Elliot Palmer Skinner husband of Mary Burnap May 14 1917 Hartford Courant


Below is another Daniel Burnap clock that remained in the family and gifted to the CHS by Charles S Bissell

 Donation Daniel Burnap Clock Noted in 1960 and 1968 in "The Annual Report of the Connecticut Historical Society." Article from May 1962. Object Number: 1970.1.0 Tall case clock in the Chippendale, or rococo, style, with a cherry case, a fretwork, pagoda-shaped pediment at the top of the arched hood, a brass clock movement that plays six different songs, and a brass dial that is engraved "Daniel Burnap/ E. Windsor". The tall case clock consists of three major components: the removable hood, the removable dial and clock works, and the clock case. The dial and works sit on a horizontal board at the top of the clock case; the pendulum (separated from the clock) and weights (separated and possibly missing) that drive the works would be suspended in the trunk, or narrow body, of the case. The hood slides over the works and sits at the top of the case. At the top of the arched hood are three finials, each consisting of a slender cone with a ring atop a ball. Each finial sits at the top of a reeded plinth. The side plinths form the outside edges of the pagoda-shaped pediment. Between the center plinth and each side plinth is a solid, squared panel of wood that slopes down to the side plinth. The top edge of each of these panels is decorated with fretwork, or a pierced board, in the shape of "X"s and scrolls. The front of the hood has a glass door that is arched and recessed, with a brass lock escutcheon at the left side. The door is flanked by a fluted, free-standing column. Each side of the hood has a rectangular glass window with a rounded top. The trunk of the clock case has deep cove, or recessed quarter-circle, molding at the top and bottom; a tall rectangular door on the front; and fluted quarter columns at each front corner. The top edge of the door is shaped with a cyma curve, or S-curve, and reverse cyma curve. All four sides of the door are edged with ovolo, or thumbnail, molding. The rectangular base of the clock case has two tiers of base molding at the front and sides, over ogee bracket feet that project beyond the front and sides of the base (the feet are shortened). Construction Details: A single, vertically-oriented backboard with squared top corners extends the full height of the hood and case. The hood does not have a back; it slides over the clock works to rest on the cove molding at the top of the trunk. At each side of the hood, the top is tenoned into a panel that projects beyond the top of each side of the hood; the board that forms each side of the hood is nailed to the interior of this projecting panel. All ornament is nailed or glued to the top or sides of the hood: the plinths, the pediment, the arched projecting molding at the front, and the projecting molding at the sides. The fretwork at the top of the pediment is supported by small glue blocks at the back lower edge. The sides of the hood attach to a horizontal, three-sided frame with molding at the outside edges. Each free-standing column extends between the projecting molding at the top of the hood and the horizontal, three-sided frame at the bottom. The door is constructed of a four-sided frame that is tenoned at each corner. The door pivots on a pair of brass hinges at the top right and bottom right corner. The backboard is nailed into a rabbet on each back corner of the sides of the trunk. The boards that form the sides of the trunk extend several inches above the bottom of the hood. The clock works rest on a seat board, or horizontal board immediately behind the dial. The seat board rests on the top edge of each side of the trunk. The cove molding is nailed to the front and sides of the top and bottom of the trunk. There is a rail above and below the door, and a vertical post at each front corner of the trunk that forms the carved quarter columns. The door is constructed of a single board that is joined to the trunk with two brass hinges at the right side; there is a lock escutcheon at the center left side. The sides of the trunk extend down to the top of the base. The front and sides of the base are joined with a nailed but joint at the front corners. The base molding is nailed to the front and sides of the base. The bottom board of the base is nailed to the underside of the base sides. Each ogee bracket foot is constructed of facing that is nailed to the underside of the base molding. Dial: The engraved, brass dial is square with an arched top. The center of the dial arch is engraved with a fan that has a scalloped edge. Above the fan are the names of six songs: "AIR BY/ HANDEL", "THE/ RAPIUR", "Maid of The/ MILL", "Over the Wat/ er to Charley", "FRENCH KING's/ MINUIT", and "MINUIT BY/ T. OLMSTED". At the bottom of the fan is a projecting arbor, or axle, around which a hand (possibly replaced) pivots to indicate which song the clock will play. The top of the dial arch is engraved with leaf and scroll designs that extend down onto the top corners of the square dial plate. The middle of the dial plate is engraved with a chapter ring, consisting of a ring of Roman numerals, inside a ring of minute gradations, inside a ring of Arabic numbers from one to sixty in increments of five. In the center of the chapter ring is an arbor around which the hour and minute hands pivot. To either side of the main arbor is a winding arbor, to wind the clock. A recessed, round seconds dial is located above the main arbor. A recessed, arched calendar dial is below the main arbor; a plate rotates behind the arch to indicate the day of the month. The center of the chapter ring is engraved with "Daniel Burnap/ E. Windsor" and with additional leaves, scrolls, and vines. Each lower corner of the dial plate is also engraved with leaves, scrolls, and vines. Clock Works Movement: weight powered Duration: eight day Materials: case brass Strike: count wheel Escapement: dead-beat The dial is screwed on. The works are designed to chime every three hours. The movement is fitted with a chiming mechanism that plays six different tunes. The posts are bulbous. The seat board is original. The works are accompanied by two rectangular cast iron weights, two cylindrical cast iron weights, one brass bell, a rod of small wooden pads for between the bells, and one steel rod. Condition: The lower back corner of the left side of the trunk is repaired. The feet are shortened. The glass in the window on the right side of the hood is held in place with duct tape at each top corner. The lower left screw on the front of the dial plate is replaced. The music hand is possibly replaced. Two bells in the works are replaced or have been spun to tune them. The pads between the bells are replaced. The pendulum is separated from the clock works. The recantular cast iron weights, cylindrical cast iron weights, one brass bell, pads for between the bells, and one rod from the works are separated from the works. The key to open the trunk door does not work.
Inscription: "Daniel Burnap/E. Windsor" is engraved on the dial plate. The top of the dial arch is engraved with the names of six songs: "AIR BY/ HANDEL", "THE/ RAPIUR", "Maid of The/ MILL", "Over the Wat/ er to Charley", "FRENCH KING's/ MINUIT", and "MINUIT BY/ T. OLMSTED".

All known early American musical clocks have been documented in Gary Sullivan's Musical Clocks of Early America, 1730-1830. To purchase see

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