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Donn Haven Lathrop 2008

Emeline Loomis, the daughter of Abijah and Margaret (Barrett) Loomis was born 27 July, 1811, at New Hartford, Connecticut. Of her early life, little is known---we must assume that she had what education, most likely in domestic duties---was considered proper for young women of that day. She moved into the horological limelight at the age of 22 when she went to work for Garret Smith Blakeslee of Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut. She was employed as a dial painter, one of 13 women hired by Blakeslee between 1830 and 1834. Blakeslee was in the business of supplying finished components of clocks and clock cases to clock- and casemakers.

Miss Loomis first appears in this entry in the Blakeslee Account Book when she was "hired in":

Eleanor Humphrey
Emeline Loomis
Commenced Work & Boarding
April 7, 1834

There are no further entries concerning Miss Humphrey, so we can only speculate on the length of her employment by Blakeslee. Both of these women can be safely be called Miss. Were either of them married, according to the mores of the day, any contract for their work would have been negotiated by the husband, with the actual worker---the wife---merely peripherally mentioned. Earnings would also have been paid to the husband.

Emeline Loomis worked for Blakeslee for a total of 48 weeks (not necessarily consecutive), for which she was charged $60.00 for her board at $1. 25 a week. Other charges appearing in the account book are two cash advances (one of $10. 00 on 8 September, and one of $5. 00 on 15 November), and three charges (15 August, $3. 18; 12 September, $2. 05; 15 November, $1. 98) on her account at a local store. In those 48 weeks, her total known expenses were $82. 21. I suppose she would have been considered a spendthrift.

I think it is safe to assume that her work-week extended through 6 days, and began early and ended late. April 7, 1834 was a Monday, and the full (consecutive) 48 weeks would therefore extend to the last day of February, 1835. At the end of her 48 weeks Emeline was credited with "figuring 9, 283 faces and filling 35 faces", for a total of 9, 318 dials. She therefore worked a (possible) total of 286 days (if we assume that she worked 6 days a week), and finished an average of 321/2 dials each day. For her efforts she was paid a total of $232. 50, or just under 21/2 for each dial. The final settlement of her account with Blakeslee was on 21 March, 1935, when she was paid $150.29 in cash. And she was well paid---by comparison---perhaps because she was not charged for "lost time", or days off, during the course of her employment. Of this situation, Dr. Snowden Taylor wrote in his discussion of The Account Book of Alpha Hart (TIMEPIECE JOURNAL, Spring 1993, Pg.70):

Clarena Apley was charged for "lost time" for "sleigh ride to the Village," "one evening to Mr. Barns. 2 evenings at home. evening to Doct. Marshs," "one afternoon and evening at Mr. Austins." etc. Having fun cost money!

The wages for other women in Blakeslee's employ vary from a high of $78.00 to a low of $26.00.

After Emeline ended her employment with Blakeslee, she returned to New Hartford, where three years later she married Henry H. Peck on 27 April, 1838. There were no children of this marriage, and her husband died in New Hartford in about 1878. Eight years later the 66-year old Emeline married Frederick Kellogg of Terryville, Connecticut, who died in 1898. She was a mere 97 years old in 1908 when the Loomis genealogy noted that "Her mind is as clear as ever and she reads and writes without glasses."

Emeline Loomis Peck Kellogg died on the 6th of June, 1911, just weeks short of her 100th birthday.

The data for this article were taken from the microfilm of Blakeslee's Account Book for 1830-1836, which is now in the collections of the American Clock and Watch Museum. Grateful appreciation is extended to Dr. Snowden Taylor, Mr. Jacque Houser and Mr. Chris Bailey for permission to quote from their researches.


BLAKESLEE, Garrett Smith, Account Book, Microform, courtesy of the American Clock and Watch Museum, Bristol, Connecticut.

DeVOE, Shirley Spaulding, The Tinsmiths of Connecticut. Middletown, Conn., Published for the Connecticut Historical Society [by the] Wesleyan University Press. 1968

HODGES, Theodore Burt, Erastus Hodges, 1781-1847: Phoenix Publishing, West Kennebunk, Maine. 1994

TIMEPIECE JOURNAL: Dr. Snowden Taylor, The Account Book of Alpha Hart, Spring, 1993; Jaque Houser, Emeline Loomis - Dial Painter, Chris Bailey, Additional Notes, Fall, 1994.

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