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Antique grandfather clock built in Hagerstown donated to Washington County Free Library

September 06, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Alice Brumbaugh of Chambersburg, Pa., with the early 19th century grandfather clock she donated to the Western Maryland Room of the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown. The George Woltz clock was built in Hagerstown sometime prior to his death in 1812.
By Don Aines/Reporter

A few minutes into a conversation with Alice Brumbaugh, the George Woltz grandfather clock she donated to the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library chimed the hour as it has for more than two centuries.

“It seemed right for it to come back to Hagerstown,” Brumbaugh said.

The Chambersburg, Pa., woman said the clock, which was built in Hagerstown, has been in her family at least a century.

It now graces a corner of the John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room, the repository for the rebuilt library’s collection of rare books, records and other documents of the region.

“The Western Maryland Room people were very welcoming to my brother, who was a historian,” Brumbaugh said of her late brother, Thomas.

The donation was in honor of the people who settled and helped build the Hagerstown area, she said.

Woltz was a cabinetmaker born in York, Pa., in 1744, according to a 1939 article in Antiques magazine provided by Elizabeth Howe, a reference librarian and archivist for the Western Maryland Room.

Woltz served in the Maryland militia during the Revolutionary War and was a charter member of the Hagerstown Fire Co. in 1791, the article said.

He died in Hagerstown in 1812, and one of her ancestors, George Brumbaugh, was the executor and administrator of the Woltz estate, Alice Brumbaugh said.

There is no indication on the clock noting what year it was built, Brumbaugh said.

Frye, the curator of the Western Maryland Room, said the clock might have been built around 1810.

Brumbaugh could not pinpoint exactly when the clock came into her family’s possession, but said it had been in a home they had in Greencastle, Pa., at least a hundred years.

The family moved to Greencastle around 1870 and lived in Frederick before that, she said.

“An authentic George Woltz clock means a lot to the Western Maryland Room and to Hagerstown, because it was brought home,” Frye said. “We’re proud to have it.”

The new library is scheduled to open Oct. 5.

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Editor's note: This story was edited Friday, Sept. 6, to correct the full name of the Western Maryland Room at the library.

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