Daniel Balch, Sr. - Clockmaker

Daniel Balch (March 14, 1734-5-November 30, 1790) was born in Bradford, Massachusetts to the Reverend William and Rebecca (Stone) Balch. Little is known about Daniel's life until August 19, 1756 when he married Hannah Clement (or possibly Clemens). Shortly after, on January 25, 1757, Daniel bought a piece of land, with home and buildings, in Newbury, Massachusetts. Daniel would reside on this land for the next thirty years. In 1764, when the town of Newburyport was incorporated, Daniel's land would become part of the new town.

Daniel's wife Hannah must have died sometime before 1784. It was on March 24, 1784 that Daniel would take his second wife; Judith Thurston. Judith would out live Daniel by thirty five years. Daniel had four children with Hannah and no children with Judith.

Daniel made his living through the construction and repair of clocks and he would train at least two of his sons, Daniel and Thomas, to do the same . Daniel and Thomas would become well known clock makers in their own right. Sources do not indicate whether another son, William, was trained or skilled in the family business.

Some of Daniel's clocks still seem to remain, in existence, to this day. The picture you see, with this article, is an example of a clock worked on by Daniel Balch. Daniel Balch was responsible for the inner workings of the clock with the outer portion done presumably by someone else. If you could get a better view of the face of this clock you'd see that it is engraved "Dan'l Balch Newbury Port".

Daniel Balch, Sr. ended up spending much of his life in and around the vicinity of Newbury Port, Massachusetts. Through his work Daniel established an excellent reputation for himself. Today his clocks are considered to be valuable antiques. A few years ago a well known auction house, Sotheby's, sold one of Daniel's clocks. This clock was said to be valued at aproximately $8-12,000 but an interested collector outbid fifty nine other bidders to pay $57,750 for this clock. Below I've included a paragraph that briefly describes the condition of the $57k clock.

"Made in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the clock was in as-found condition, as was most of the consignment from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Russel S. Hayden, also a major consignor to the January live catalog sale. The clock had been on view on Sotheby's tenth floor in early January. The condition report spelled out water stains, dirt, broken glass, missing parts of the gilt finials, pencil inscriptions, and a date in white chalk "Nov. 14th 1780."

~Source: Maine Antique Digest

Genealogy of Daniel:

Father: William Balch
Mother: Rebecca Stone

Wife1: Hannah Clement (or Clemens)
Married: August 19, 1756


1. Hannah
2. Daniel
3. William
4. Thomas Hutchins

Wife2: Judith Thurston
Married: March 24, 1784


1. No Children from this marriage

Primary Sources/Links:

Genealogy of the Balch Families in America - By: Galusha Balch

History of Newburyport, Massachusetts - By: John James Currier

The Old Clock Book - By: N. Hudson Moore

Peter Sawyer Antiques - Daniel Balch Clock

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