Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Molly Stark--the caregiver who inspired a watch and a hospital



At our event, "Spending Time with Dueber-Hampden," the one watch that was most prevalent was the Molly Stark.  This little watch was named for General John Stark's wife,  Elizabeth " Molly" Page Stark.  One of George Washington's generals, John Stark gives Stark County, Ohio its name in 1808, even though he never set foot here. 

Because there is such an interest in Molly Stark watches, I wanted to write about the watch that gets its name from a lady who inspired not only her husband, but many others. 


Molly was born February 16, 1737 to  Caleb and Elizabeth (Merrill) Page.  Her father was the first Postmaster of New Hampshire.  Together, Molly and John Stark had 11 children.  During her husband's war years, Molly opened her home as a hospital to nurse his soldiers suffering from small pox or other injuries.  The kindness and courage Molly Stark showed others inspired Stark County residents to build the Molly Stark Hospital to treat tuberculosis just off of Ravenna Road (SR-44).
 


Todd Clark, Historic Programming Educator for Stark Parks

On Saturday, September 11, 2010 the Stark Parks offered walking tours of the Molly Stark Hospital grounds.  Todd Clark, Historic Programming Educator, took groups of visitors around the structure that is destined to be demolished.  The Hospital opened its doors in 1929 to tuberculosis or TB patients.  Those poor souls who developed a cough with blood, lost weight, developed night sweats and paled in color, were diagnosed with the aliment often called the wasting disease, or consumption.  
        
Before Molly Stark Hospital was built, residents diagnosed with the illness were sent to Springfield Sanitarium also known as Edwin Shaw Hospital located in Lakemore township, near Akron, Ohio.  Mr. Clark said the most ill and bedridden patients at Molly Stark Hospital were located on the upper floors, where windows could be opened, or patients brought to porches to enjoy the sun.  As the patients regained strength and became more mobile they were moved to lower floors where they could walk outside and enjoy the park-like grounds surrounding the hospital.   

Mr. Clark said the hospital was to be built in the late 1920s at Faircrest Park in Canton Township, but the water wasn't very good, so a new location for the hospital was found. The hospital was expanded in 1952 after much debate about closing it.  The architect for the expansion was Charles Firestone, who also designed the Memorial Civic Center in downtown Canton.  At one time there were 25 TB hospitals throughout Ohio.  

The Molly Stark Hospital in disrepair, September 11, 2010
There are 1200 feet of tunnels underground that houses the steam pipes that warmed the hospital.  The tunnels were built as one of the work progress programs during the depression.  One visitor said he heard the doctors' children rode their bicycles in the tunnels. 

Although the building is expected to be torn down there is a group studying how to save some of the architecture, the doors, and the arch ways.  Mr. Clark said the cost of renovating the building is astronomical and that a figure of ten million was on the table some 10 years ago.  He said the building was constructed during the era of lead paint and asbestos, and that after years of neglect the building has considerable structural damage, molds, and broken glass. The cost of demolishing the building is projected to be about two million dollars. 

The  building inspires beauty, but also fear--fear of death.  But Todd Clark said it also inspires hope and courage, and the building shows a tie to the community.  

Balconies at Molly Stark Hospital where patients could enjoyed the sunshine
The building that saved so many at one time, was named for a woman who was also a kind caregiver.  In addition to a hospital, Dueber-Hampden Watch Works years earlier named a watch in honor of Molly Stark. 

 According to the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors website (NAWCC), the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works introduced the Molly Stark, a size-3/0, 7-jewel, gilt-finished watch in 1896.  When the Molly Stark (pendant watch to be worn around the neck, or pinned to the blouse)  was introduced it was the smallest watch made in America.  Because Dueber-Hampden was located in Stark County some feel this is the reason for naming the watch in Molly Stark's honor.

The NAWCC website added that a new Molly Stark Watch in a 14K solid gold Dueber case sold for $17.00, in 1902 from Sears, Roebuck and Co.,  and the same movement in a 14K gold-filled Dueber case was $11.50.  Molly Stark watches were also cased as boys' watches to carry in their pocket.  (see image right) 

To help understand the wage and cost of that time period, in 1914, Henry Ford astonished the industrial world when he doubled the wages of assembly line workers to $5.00 per day, thus making them the highest-paid hourly workers  (NAWCC).  When the pendent watch fell out of fashion, many were scrapped for the gold cases but other were re-cased into wrist watches. (see ad) The kit included a case, dial, crown and hands that your local jeweler could refashion for the customer.   

Mrs. Stark died in 1814 at the age of 78 from typhus.  Her husband was 86.  Stark was the last Continental general of the Revolution.  In his later years and nearly up to his death on May 8, 1822, the General  was nearly penniless, before the Congress voted him a small stipend (SeaCoast).








Thanks Todd and Stark Parks for an informative and enjoyable tour of the Molly Stark Hospital grounds. 




Sources

"Hampden/Molly Stark Ladies' pocket watch -." National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, 05-30-2005. Web. 11 Sep 2010. .

Lever Set Hampden Movement. advertisement. Edward Thouvenin, private collection, Canton.

Molly Stark. Print . Edward Thouvenin, private collection, Canton.

Moran, John. "Major General John Stark of New Hampshire, One of George Washington." Revolutionary War Archives. Sons of Liberty, California Society SAR, May 2006. Web. 11 Sep 2010.

"SeaCoast NH.com." Framers of Freedom, John Stark. SeaCoast NH.com, 1997-2003. Web. 11 Sep 2010. .

Images:
Molly Stark Hospital & Todd Clark. Photographs. Lee Horrisberger, Canton. 





29 comments:

  1. Thank you for the information. I inheirted a Molly Stark Pocket watch and had no idea about its' background.
    Sue Stahl
    Lubbock, TX

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  2. Hi Sue--Glad you enjoyed the blog. Join us on Dueber-Hampden Facebook. With the serial number of your watch, our collectors can give you a bit more information about your watch and its history.

    Thanks for reading.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lee,

      I was hoping to get more information on a Dueber-Hampden 14k gold-filled Molly Stark pendant watch, the serial # is 4187921. Can you provide any additional information on it?

      Thank you,

      Rich

      Delete
    2. Hi Rich,
      The serial number you are giving me is most certainly from the case, it exceeds the number of watches produced by Dueber-Hampden. To get the correct serial number you will need to open the back of watch and you will find the serial number on your watch's movement/works.

      Delete
    3. Hi Lee, I realized that after I sent the e-mail to you. I found the correct number and the information I was looking for.

      Thank you!

      Rich

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  3. Great Rich--glad you were able to find the correct number, hope that gives you the information you need to learn more about your watch.

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  4. Hi I too have inherited a Molly Stark pocket watch and was pleased to find the serial numbers 2748368. I believe it was made around 1910. It belonged to my grandmother who wore it proudly for years. She died at 107, by the way! So I'm thinking that it was her good luck charm. The case has different serial numbers, and I am having difficulty finding out about the case maker. It is not marked 14k, so I am suspecting it is likely gold filled. Most of them were at that time. Do you have any idea of the price of this watch? It is of course priceless to me.
    Neil

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    Replies
    1. Dear Neil---thanks for reading my Dueber-Hampden blog, what I can tell you about your watch: Your watch has a Molly Stark Movement, 3/0 size, 7 jewel, hunting configuration, 4th model. Neil you should have a Dueber-case and it is probably gold filled. There is really no way to track the cases. We believe your watch was made approximately about 1908 in Canton, Ohio. To get a good appraisal of your watch I recommend you take it to a reputable jeweler in your area. We hope that you will be wearing that watch even longer than your grandmother.

      Delete
    2. I'm seeing them on e-bay for b/w 500.00 and 900.00. Parts for them anywhere from 20.00 to 90.00.

      Delete
  5. would like info on pocketwatch....
    the number on the working parts is....1249513, the case is a dueber special with anchor and has matching numbers on the parts that flip open. molly stark spelled out and contained in a ribbon, not a flag. on the lip or edge near the serial i find number 436, upside down compared to serial number. on this same edge, near a dial for the adjustment by competent jeweler i find the number 21 or 27, it gives more creedence to 27, but i,m not sure, the 436 and the 21 or 27 can only be seen with works exposed otherwise the case covers the numbers. the works also say Canton O. the case is gold in color, ornate, with palm trees? and a bird is located at the base of the winding stem. i dont know enough to describe the size in jeweler terms, but closed its 1 inch and 3 eighths across. thanks in advance,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your watch is a Molly Stark 3/0, 7 jewels, hunting movement (goes in a case with a cover), gilt finish, 3rd model, lever set, and unadjusted. It was made in Canton, Ohio, manufactured in 1900.

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  6. p.s., i failed to mention its a Hampden, white face, second hand at bottom.....also the rear case that opens and has the dueber logo, i find.....4-20-69x, this is placed there by use of a scribe? and is a persons hand writing. sorry if my info is mundane, but i have no knowledge as to the watches identifiers and may have went overboard on description

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading my blog, and sharing your watch with us. Your description helped us identify your watch.

      Delete
  7. I have a Molly Stark pendant watch. The serial number is 1554510. The case number is 4924511. It is in a blue velvet and silk watch box with embossed A. Newhalt Dayton Ohio. I was told that my grandfather gave it to my grandmother on their wedding day. I'm not certain exactly what year but it was before 1909.
    zfold

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your watch is a Molly Stark 3/0, 7 jewels, hunting movement (goes in a case with a cover), gilt finish, 3rd model, lever set, and unadjusted. It was made in Canton, Ohio, manufactured in 1901. It sounds as though your grandfather purchased the watch from a local jeweler, whose store's name is embossed on the box and is from Dayton, Ohio. Your watch's history is authenticated by your grandparents wedding.

      Delete
  8. what would be a reasonable amount of money to put into repairs in a hampden, deuber anchor special, molly stark hunters, 1900yr, which has no sentemental value ? i just really like it and want to see it running,

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Although the watch has no sentimental value, you said you like it, and if it is on a chain, or clipped to your sweater you may enjoy wearing it if the watch was running. I wouldn't know what you want to pay to repair it, you have to accept that this is a unique watch and make a decision based on what you are willing to pay. I have seen where a lady takes the old works and turns them into necklaces, or where you would just turn your case into a locket type of jewelry to hold a photograph. Another recommendation is to try to find a working Molly Stark and put it into your case.

      Delete
  9. is there an averege price for these wathces value

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  10. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about watches! The Molly Stark I inherited from my great-grandmother has a serial number of 1248115. Is that from 1900? It still runs.

    Charlotte

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  11. I inherited a Dueber Special pocket watch with an anchor logo The number inside the case is 5684919. When I open up the back of the watch itself, I find "Molly Stark" in a ribbon with the number 1907281. The back of the case is ornate with what looks to be a bird in the center.
    Can you tell me anything about it?

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  12. I have a Hampden 340 14s. can anyone tell me anything about it

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  13. I have a Hampden pocket watch I inherited. Serial number 2177679. It has a small diamond on the front and what looks like an initial on the back. It still works. Can you tell me about it?

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  14. I visited Molly Stark today to take pictures and there was an opening in the basement so I stuck my camera in and took a picture...later I was reviewing my photos and noticed something shiny sitting on the shelf and when I zoomed in on it I asked my boyfriend what he thought it was and he said "looks like a pocket watch" I have been researching Molly Stark for a few hours now and when I came across this article I literally got chills!!

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  15. I have a hampden dueber special i kno nothing about the# 9548180

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. 3445453 or 3445458 is the serial number I have on a Molly Stark ladies wrist watch I just bought. It belonged to an elderly man's wife's grandmother and their children didn't want it. Being an historian I thought $80.00 was a fair price for it. I'd love to know more about the model and year it was made if you could please supply me with that info. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 3445453 or 3445458 is the serial number I have on a Molly Stark ladies wrist watch I just bought. It belonged to an elderly man's wife's grandmother and their children didn't want it. Being an historian I thought $80.00 was a fair price for it. I'd love to know more about the model and year it was made if you could please supply me with that info. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 3445453 or 3445458 is the serial number I have on a Molly Stark ladies wrist watch I just bought. It belonged to an elderly man's wife's grandmother and their children didn't want it. Being an historian I thought $80.00 was a fair price for it. I'd love to know more about the model and year it was made if you could please supply me with that info. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi I Have an Molly Starke pendent watch serial# on inside case by watch movement is 268917 on the outside case there is there are also numbers, which are 7304971 can you tell me anything re. this watch. It is in a gold case with an18inch gold chain.

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