E. C. Beard Pocket Watch

Kentucky became the 15th state to be admitted to the Union in 1792. Louisville, its largest city, had about 7000 residents when Beard likely sold this watch from his silversmith shop in 1829, a year after the incorporation of the City in 1828.

Early Southern American Watchmakers

Few watch examples from southern states are known. Also shown on this website are Kentucky examples by Evans Beard of Louisville and George Nichols of Lexington; Virginia examples by Mordecai Miller of Alexandria and William Mitchell of Richmond that has its original American gold case; and Walter Ramsay of Raleigh North Carolina.

E. C. Beard Pocket Watch

E. C. Beard Pocket Watch

Evans C. Beard was born in 1796 in Pennsylvania and died in 1864 in Louisville. The Louisville City Directory shows him from 1832 to 1875, but this watch evidences that he was working under his own name by 1829. His shop at this time was likely located on Main between Fourth and Fifth streets. An advertisement in 1832 shows that in addition to silverplate, he sold watches, clocks, music, pianofortes, percussion guns, pistol caps, and lamps of every description (Bridwell). Beard was in several partnerships. The earliest was with Elias Ayers in about 1816, and the firm E.C. Beard & Co. was formed about 1831.

Liverpool watches like this example were being imported and sold by watchmakers and silversmiths throughout America.

The watch is engraved “E. C. Beard, Louisville, Ky, serial number 84.” Full plate 7 jewel fusee detached lever escapement with five arm, uncut steel balance and unsigned dust cap. "LEVER" and "PATENT" engraved on the balance table.

Louisville Pocket Watches
Early American Watchmaking

JLS Case Maker's Mark

Silver consular case with Chester hallmarks for 1829 and case maker's mark “JLS”. Some sources list this mark as belonging to Joseph Lewis Samuel of Liverpool but extensive research conducted by Allan Purcell points to Ralph Samuel (54 Wood Street and later 72 Wood Street, Liverpool) as the owner of this mark. Second case maker sponsor mark, "F.R. & O" that is likely Fellows, Read & Olcott of New York (1828 - 1834). Thanks to John Matthews for providing this information on the NAWCC Forums (nawcc.org).

See L. B. Terry for a watch with similar case marks.

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Marquis Boultinghouse, Silversmiths, Jewelers, Clock and Watch Makers of Kentucky, 1785-1900, Boultinghouse, 1980

  • Margaret Bridwell, Kentucky Silversmiths Before 1850, A Presentation at The Filson Club, Louisville, Kentucky, January 6, 1941