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Seth Thomas Clocktower (1919)
Columbus, Kansas

[photograph: Seth Thomas Clocktower, 1919, Columbus, KS]

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1919

Business of Chamber of Commerce

... A delegation from the Women's Civic Committee was present at the meeting to confer with the Chamber of Commerce in regard to the soldiers' memorial.

Attorney Chas. Stephens was the only member of the Chamber of Commerce who was not in favor of the town clock and bronze tablet as a memorial for the boys of Cherokee county who have given up their lives in the world war. Mr. Stephens was of the opinion that a tombstone set up in the courthouse yard would be a more fitting memorial. Dr. Janes was in favor of the town clock and made a fine talk for it. The majority of the members made evident their opinion by voting to help the women in their efforts to secure the clock and to turn the entire matter over to the Civic Committee and to co-operate with them in every way possible. The members of the Civic Committee present last evening were: Mrs. Calvin Cooper, Mrs. Chas. Bartlett, Mrs. J.L. Griswold, Mrs. A.L. Majors and Miss Neva Tedlock....

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1919, page 1, col. 1-3




Think It and Tablets Would Be Fitting Memorial for Soldiers

The Women's Civic Committee have opened their campaign for a soldiers' memorial by interviewing the people. Everyone has been favorable to a memorial in some form, some have expressed what forms. The interviews, which no doubt, will be on interest to the public, are printed below.

"It is just and right that we should honor these soldiers who defended the righteousness of our country; righteousness means right living. And we must withhold no tribute from these clean, live American soldiers who stood in the mud and fought for our right living. When the boys returning see this memorial erected in their honor it will show them we appreciate their service, while the father and the mother of the boy who can't come back will know that we are doing for their boy what we would want them to do for ours. As we enter the Court House from time to time in the years to come, the clock will remind us of the splendid manhood of Cherokee county and the bronze tablet will be a pledge that those who fell in the service shall be forever in our memory." REV. MARTIN ARMSTRONG.

"I am in favor of a memorial, but I think a clock is too necessary to be a memorial. it is too much like giving your wife something she needs for a Christmas present." HARRY ROBERTS.

"The clock appeals to me, I consider it a sensible thing to do." GEORGE HOOD.

"Yes indeed, I favor a clock as a memorial." J.B. GRISHAM.

"I think the clock is a grand thing for a memorial." MRS. J.H. ELLIS.

"I favor some form of a memorial. I think it is a worthy cause." MRS. ISAAC WRIGHT.

"I do not see how we could remember the boys any better than by having a clock." MARGUERITE CARROL

"The sooner we have a memorial the better, if we do not have a memorial we would forget our soldiers in a short time." ED. BRADNEY.

"I think that the clock is just fine." MRS. B.R. YOUNGMAN

"I think that we should have a memorial by all means, and the idea of the clock seems good to me." MRS. FLETCH CROWDER.

"I think that the memorial had better be a clock." FRED BALDWIN.

"I don't know of anything that would be more appropriate than a clock." CHAS. BRIGGS.

"I am for a memorial and I think that there should be this public record made of those who lost their lives." ERNEST HALL

"I am for a memorial, and the clock sounds all right to me." JAMES BURKE.

"I think that the Memorial Clock is a wonderful idea." MRS. CHAS. TAYLOR.

"I do not think that we could have a more fitting form of a memorial than a clock." MRS. J. DALE GRAHAM.

"A clock is something we need and I approve of it s[sic] a memorial." MRS. HERMON MITTS.

"I think the clock is the best thing that we could have for a memorial. I think it is something that would be of benefit to all." MRS. EMERY YOUNGMAN.

"I believe in a memorial, the most we can do will be small enough." TED RICHARDSON.

"I am for a memorial in whatever form is chosen by the majority." JOE ZIMMERMAN.

"I like the idea of a clock with chimes and think that as a memorial it is the nicest thing that we can offer." MARY SCOTT.

"We do not want to forget our boys, we should be reminded of them from now on, I have thought this over and I think that the clock is the best form of a reminder." MRS. GEO. GALLAGHER.

"The clock is a beautiful memorial." MRS. JOE ZIMMERMAN.

"I am favorable to a memorial, and I think that the clock would be money well spent." SAM STAUFFER.

"I favor a memorial and if the clock would answer that purpose I am for it." E.H. ELLIS.

"I would like to have a memorial clock." MRS. FRANK HAINER.

"I believe in some form of a memorial and if the majority want a clock, I do too." MRS. BERTHA WILSON.

"I approve of the clock." CHAS. SKIDMORE.

"You can say that I am for the clock, I think it is splendid." MINNIE MURRAY.

"I very much approve of the clock as a memorial." MRS. MAUD AVERILL.

"I certainly approve of a memorial clock." DR. JAMES.

"I like the idea of a soldiers' memorial clock, and I would like to see Columbus put up a tablet for the boys who can't come back." PAUL STAUFFER.

"I think the clock would be useful in reminding of the boys." MRS. RILLA HARRIS.

"I favor a park as a memorial, but whatever form is decided upon I shall be glad to support." PROF. S.W. BLACK.

I shall be glad to see a memorial clcok in the court house tower." MRS. MEGINITY.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Thursday, Feb. 6, 1919, page 1, col. 3 and page 2, col. 3


Everyone in Favor of Some Kind and May Prefer Clock.

Much has been said in regard to our soldier heroes, and in many ways we have endeavored to show our appreciation for the sacrifices that they have made for us.

One of the most popular things that has yet been suggested is the erec- tion of some monument to the fallen heroes, and many suggestions have been offered, but the one that has met with the most universal approval is the suggestion offered by the women's civic committee, that of placing a large clock and chimes in the Court House tower. This would be indeed a fine thing to do as we cannot think of a thing that would be so much comfort to the relatives and friends of our departed heroes as to hear the chimes strike off the hours, refreshing our minds constantly of the wonderful sacrifices that our boys have made for their country.

It is my deisre that every department of the Christian church give this monument their full support. REV. A. BRADSHAW.

"I approve of some form of a memorial for the soldiers." F. C. HAINER.

"The memorial clock will be something that will be heard a thousand times a day. I think that the clock is a fine thing, but understand, it must be a good clock." JOHN TUTTON

"I think that there should be some form of a memorial." ED MAXWELL

"I will support either a clock or a park." O. S. LYMAN

"I prefer the clock as a memorial." MRS. MABEL MANLOVE

"I approve of a clock as a memorial." JAMES AVERILL

"I I think that a clock would be a useful as well as an ornamental memorial." DR. ENGLISH

"I am strong for a memorial clock, and strong for the bronze tablet that will take care of the names of the boys that died in the service." C. W. VAN ZANDT

"I really favor a useful memorial. I like the idea of a memorial clock and think that it would be useful to everyone." FRED COWLEY

"I favor a memorial that could be used as a social center by the entire community, city and county. But I will support the memorial in whatever form is chosen." CLYDE DAVIDSON

"The memorial spirit is what we must have, if we have the true memorial spirit the chimes of the clock will bring the sacrifice of the boys to our memory." MRS. FURNESS

"I am sure that my boy will appreciate anything that Columbus does in the way of a memorial." MRS. B. F. RHINEHART

"The Mother's Club at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon indorsed the memorial movement and adopted the clock as their form of a memorial. Their represenative notified Mrs. Bartlett that it was their wish as a club of mothers to be the first woman's organization to publicly indorse the memorial movement.

Mrs. Chas. Bartlett was notified last evening that the Embroidery Club on Wednesday afternoon indorsed the memorial movement and adopted the clock as their form of memorial. This is the second women's organization to indorse the memorial movement. If any of the other organizaions have indorsed the memorial movement will they please notify Mrs. Bartlett.

"I heartly approve of the splendid ideas in relation to the clock and tablet in memory of the fallen soldiers, and would add by way of explanation when the court house was first completed, some of the citizens, I among the others, met and suggested putting a clock in the court house, we even went so far as to ascertain the cost, which ranged then from nine to sixteen hundred dollars. The scheme was finally abandoned and about five years ago the soldiers of this neighborhood spent a number of meetings in trying to devise ways and means to build a monument to the memory of the soldiers of the Civil War. That, too, we found an expensive proposition and it, too, was finally abandoned. Why not, in this memorial, instead of a tablet which will become defaced in time, add a little more expense and make it a county affair? As in my judgment the people will continue to come to the county seat in all probabilities and at all times, this in my judgment would enable us to build and place on the square a picture that whenever any of the young, rising generations come along and cast their eyes in the direction in which stands this monument or memorial, would be a means of always keeping it fresh in the minds of the people. I ask the committee to think over these matters for it will meet the approval, not only of the old soldiers living, but also the friends of those who are laid in the White City; who would cheerfully lend their assistance and contribute towards its erection. I am certain that the old soldiers will get their shoulders to the wheel and push, besides, contributing. Again wishing you God's speed in your glorious undertaking. I am with you heart and soul." M. BLISS.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Thursday, February 13, 1919 page. 1, col. 2-3


Every Woman Should Be Present Tomorrow

A very interesting program has been arranged by Mrs. Chas. Bartlett, president of Civic Committee, for the Women's Mass Meeting to be held Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock at the Christian church.

It is hoped that every women in Columbus who feels any interest in the erection of a memorial for the boys of this county who gave up their lives in the service of the country will be present at this meeting.

Rev. A. J. Bradshaw will preside at this meeting and will spaeak on the "Spirit of the Memorial."

Mrs. Gallagher will give the "Mother's Viewpoint." Mrs. Grant will speak of the Expresssions from the Rural Communities.

Mrs. Stanley Walbert will have for her subject, "The Schools and the Memorial."

Mrs. S. L. Walker will speak of the financial part of the movement, give approximate cost of clock, tablets, etc.

Every woman who can come to this meeting and does not should consider herself a slacker, and if the women consider what these boys did for the women of this country they certainly would not let anything prevent them from being, present and doing their part in the work necessary for the raising of the fund for this memorial.

Miss Mountjoy and her Camp Fire Girls have already agreed to give two Saturdays to the work of canvassing.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Tuesday, January 13, 1920 page. 1, col. 6




Expert to Come From Seth Thomas Factory to Do the Work of Installing.

The long-looked for and much desired Memorial Clock arrlved in Columbus yesterday and the boxes containing it stand in the court house hall and will be opened as soon as the expert from the Seth Thomas factory for whom George Blake has wired, arrives and is ready to start the work of installing.

The Women's Civic Committee will arrange at once for the dedication and,engage a speaker who is familiar with the work of the soldiers in the late war. This clock is to stand as a memorial for both the living and the dead of this county who gave their services for their country.

The work of raising the money for the memorial to the Cherokee County soldiers began about a year ago, when the Women's Civic Committee decided to start a campaign for this purpose, and after thoroughly canvassing the subject and getting expressions from the people of Columbus in regard to what was a fitting memorial for both the living and dead soldiers, the [sic] decided to erect the court house clock and the bronze memorial tablet.

The beautiful bronze tablet, modeled after a special design by Robert Aitchison, a former Columbus boy, was cast and received here in time to be dedicated at the Soldiers and Sailors reunion last August, Governor Allen being present and making the dedication address.

Owing to unsettled industrial conditions, the Seth Thomas people were delayed in the clock shipment and after many weary months, they at last notified the purchasing committee that the clock had been shipped on December 11 and today the drayman unloaded it at its final resting place, the county court house.

This clock is the best of the kind that is made by any manufacturing concern. It will have four dials, and a heavy bronze bell that can be heard many miles, which will strike the hour. The chimes will ring at 6 a.m. at noon and at 6 p.m. The clock will be electrically lighted so that the dial can be seen clearly at night.

The cost of the clock and tablet and the incidental expenses involved will be made public in a detailed financial report by the civic committee as soon as possible after the work is completed.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Monday, February 9, 1920 page. 1, col. 4

Installing Memorial Clock

G.F. Huwald, expert of the Seth Thomas Clock Co. arrived in Columbus Saturday and is busy installing the Mmorial Clock in the court house. He expects to have the clock in place by the end of the week. The date of the dedication will be announced later.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Wednesday, February 11, 1920 page. 1, col. 1-2




Cherokee County Gave $1,000 and the Balance Was Raised by Popular Subscription.

Mrs. C. F. Bartlett, president of the Women's Civic Committee, assisted by the other members, is busy making arrangements for the special dedication service to be held as soon as the work on the clock is finished, probably next Saturday afternoon at 2:30. The program will occupy about an hour's time and will be held on the south steps of the court house.

It is hoped that there will be a large number of people in attendance. This service is to honor the soldiers from this county who took part in the late war and the clock is to stand as a living memorial to those men who gave their services for the good of mankind. This clock is erected in the name of Cherokee County soldiers and sailors and should be a daily reminder of the debt the people of the county owe these men.

Lieutenant-Governor Chas. S. Huffman will act as chairman of the meeting and the program will be as follows:

Invocation--Reverend Daniels.
America--by the audience.
Voice solo.
Introductory address--Rev. R. A. Waggoner.
Dedication address--Rev. Emmanuel Jones.
Voice Solo.
Address--Father Gorman.
Star Spangled Banner--by the audience.
Benediction--Reverend Rogers.

The expert from the factory arrived here the last of last week and is busily engaged in installing the clock. The dials are being placed today and one can begin to believe that at last Columbus is to have a much desired town clock.

The Civic Committee first advanced the idea of purchasing a clock for the court house in 1916 and by giving entertainments and in other manners they raised $1,000, which was to have been used for the purchase of a small town clock. When the high school burned they met and voted unanimously to give the money to the fund for rebuilding the high school and to let the matter of a town clock wait until a later date. During the war it was not thought advisable to attempt to raise the money because of more pressing needs of the people in general, and the clock idea was temporarily abandoned.

When a memorial for the dead and living soldiers of this county was proposed there were many plans suggested, but the Civic Committee was the only one who were ready to advance a concrete idea and go to work at once. They proposed the bronze tablet bearing the names of the dead and the town clock as a memorial to the living. Of course it was desired that a better clock than the one first proposed be purchased and after the money was subscribed a committee was appointed to attend to the details, the members of the committee were: George Blake, J. E. Tutton and Calvin Cooper. These gentlemen gave their services free and have been of great assistance to the civic committee in every way. After receiving bids it was decided that the best clock for the money could be purchased from the Seth Thomas people and the order was placed there. The cost of the clock cannot be fully determined until it is installed. There is plenty of money in the treasury of the committee to pay all bills and the tablet costing over $700 is paid for. The money was raised by popular subscription under the direction of the Civic Committee with the exception of $1,000 given by the county. A detailed statement of all expenditures will be made to the public as soon as these bills are settled.

While some people have become very impatient at the long delay in the delivering of the clock, still, owing to unsettled industrial conditions the clock people have probably done the best they could and now that the clock is here and almost ready for use, everyone will gladly forget the months that it took to get it.

The tablets were dedicated last August, during the Soldiers and Sailors' Reunion: Governor Allen coming here to make the dedication address. Those services also included tributes to the living soldiers, but it was the opinion of many that a special service should be held when the clock was ready to start and the Civic Committee gladly acceded to the request and arranged the short service which will be held Saturday afternoon.

: : :

Called Off The Meeting

(Late this afternnnon Dr. J. C. Montgomery called the chairman of the Civic Committee and requested that she call the dedication off for the present because of the objection to holding unnecessary meetings at present time. The program will be given a later date but will be the same as above announced.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Friday, February 13, 1920 page. 1, col. 3-4


Memorial Clock Wound Up and Started at Noon Today.

The Memorial clock was wound up, set and started some time around 12 o'clock today and at the time of going to press the hands on all four dials were recording the time in perfect unison.

The clock strikes once on the hour and half hours and the chimes are scheuled[sic] to ring at 7 o'clock a.m. 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. It is possible to tell time by the clock several blocks away from the square. However the bell cannot be heard for more than a mile away.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Monday, February 16, 1920 page. 1, col. 2


Bells Could Be Heard if Tower Was Open

Mrs Chas. Bartlett, chairman of the Civic Committee reports that, there has been the criticism of the Memorial Clock. A few people say they are disappointed because the hour bell can not be heard at a greater distance and because there are no more notes to the Angelus chime which rings at morning, noon and evening. The clock itself appears to be all that could be required, the dials are as large as can be placed in the tower and as soon as regulated it will keep perfect time, as this is a part of the clock company's guarantee.

The only subject for fault-finding seems to be that the bells are not loud enough.

An explanation of this is due, the bells can not be heard as far as the committee understood they would, but the fault is not with the clock, but in the construction of the tower and this could not be changed. The clock had to be placed in the tower as it stood and it was quite a difficult job to fix the tower so that the clock could be safely placed there. This was done under the direction of Calvin Cooper, but Mr. Cooper could not of course reconstruct the tower so as to release the sound of the bells. If the sides were open, allowing the sound to escape, the hour bell is d heavy enough to carry the sound for a long distance. The bell that comes with the clock of this kind is an 800 pound one, while the Purcell bell which the committee used is a 1200-pound bell, so that this bell is much heavier than the one furnished by the clock people. The Angelus chime was thought to be the best that could be purchased with the money which the committee had to spend. All chimes are very expensive and the one that play several notes or a bar of music are away beyond the means of a small town. The Westminister chimes cost $2400 to add to any clock, these are the cheapest and from that they range from $10,000 upward.

Mrs. Bartlett states that there will be a small amount of money left in the treasury of the committee when all bills are paid and if any club or organizaion or responsible individual who is dissatisfied with the bells of the clock wish to undertake to raise the money for more expensive bells, she will advise the Civic Committee to donate what they have on hand, and get permission to allow the bells to be changed for the more expensive ones. At the present price of bell metal it does not take much of a bell with the mechanical equipment which runs it to cost $1,000. The purchasing committee purchased the very best clock they could with the money available and the clock itself is the best made by the Seth-Thomas people, but the hour bell is not as loud as larger ones would be or as loud as it would be if there could be some way to open the sides of the tower to allow the sound to escape. The chimes all depend on the number of bells. The more bells, the more notes and serveral notes can be purchased for the Angelus chime if any one can afford the price which ranges around $1,000 per bell.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Monday, March 29, 1920 page. 1, col. 4


The Memorial clock got out of working order yesterday for the second time since it has been installed and stopped with the hands at ten minutes to 2. Mr. Mast who takes care of the clock said today that the vibration of the tower caused by the heavy wind threw the works out of adjustment, thereby causing it to stop. It was adjusted and started at 8:30 o'clock this morning.

copied from the Columbus Daily Advocate
Friday, May 14, 1920 page. 1, col. 3-4

Chimes Not Striking

The chimes on the Memorial clock have not struck since the storm over a month ago when the motor burned out. The vibrationi of the tower caused the mechanism to catch fire and the motor was burned out. The county commissioners made Geo. Blake caretaker of the clock some time ago and he has adjusted it until it keeps perfect time. Mr. Blake said he did not know wheether the Ladies' Civic Committee would replace the motor or not. He said that he understood the county commissioners would not buy a new one.

Site author: George Laughead Jr. Thanks to Lynn H. Nelson, who explains HNSource, the first history site on the WWW.

Return to City of Columbus, KS or the Kansas History Web Sites or the Kansas Heritage Group.
Site maintained at the University of Kansas. Posted: August 1996. Updated: 15 January 2005.