Thursday, February 16, 2012

John Dueber is the toast of the town

In this blog and those upcoming, I want to share my presentation from the NAWCC Ward Francillon Time Symposium in Hebron, Kentucky.

According to the Stark County Story, when the bidding for the Dueber-Hampden Watch Factory came about, Dr . Charles Dougherty a local dentist, and head of the Board of Trade (a predecessor to the Chamber of Commerce), sprung into action to raise the $100,000 dollars needed to bring the company to Canton. Dr. Dougherty who had closed his dental practice due to ill health and was then pursuing a career in real estate and insurance, was able to raise the money in three months with individual pledges of $5,000 from twenty of Canton's most prominent citizens. William McKinley, United States Representative (later president) is said to have been among those pledging to help bring Dueber-Hampden to Canton (Haldi).

Some have called Dr. Dougherty the spark plug who was instrumental in bringing the Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Factory to Canton. He was also responsible for bringing other major manufacturing companies to Canton, including the Berger Manufacturing Company, and The Timken Roller Bearing Company. Dougherty is from a long line of Greentown, Ohio doctors. Dougherty's own father carried his dental tools in his saddlebag while riding horseback to practice dentistry. Dougherty's brothers were also dentists and doctors in the Canton area. Dougherty originally came to Canton with $2.00 in his pocket at the age of 19, and worked his way through dental school finishing when he was 32 years old (Stark County Bicentennial Story, pg. 195).

According to Mathis Premiere Design website—a thousand cities were interested in John C. Dueber’s plant—cities as far away as Kansas City, and as far south as Chattanooga, along with countless Ohio towns.   Dueber arrived in Canton from a tour of Mansfield.  After considering his many options, Dueber settled on Canton.  It was established that Richmond, Indiana, and  Troy, Sidney, Mansfield and Canton, Ohio offered the most advantages to the proposed factory, but Dueber not only saw an industrious community he liked the spirit of Canton’s people.  ONE CITY IN A THOUSAND was written into the Canton Repository, this headline continued to help grow the city’s spirit and pride that they had landed the Watch Works and Case Company that would dominate Canton's economy through WWI.

At the Canton opera house in 1886, John C. Dueber and his associates were the toast of the town as they met with city officials to accept the $100,000 dollar award, the donation of 20 acres of land with tax benefits, and the promises of a railroad spur to reach the future Dueber-Hampden Watch and Case Companies. Many Canton residents at the time and those who still remember today refer to Dueber-Hampden as the "Watch Works." Congressman (later President) William McKinley's congratulatory note was among many received by the Dueber congregation as they toasted their newly adopted city.

Lady Grace: 
This watch photo was supplied by David Miller.  His grandparents were employed by the Dueber-Hampden Watch Works in Canton, and later traveled to Russia when the company was sold.  What our collectors are saying about this watch.  It was advertised as a Lady Grace.  A local story is the case was designed and built by Mr. Wossner.  He received a bonus for developing this case.  There was no movement developed at this time for this particular case.  In order to get this watch into early production a Swiss movement was contracted.  To learn more about Dueber Hampden Watch Works and to share your own watch, please join us on Dueber-Hampden Facebook


Haldi, Richard. "Dueber-Hampden Watchworks ." Massillon Genealogical Society. Massillon. 3 Feb. 2010. Lecture.

Heald, Edward T. "Greentown's Famous Doctors."The Stark County Story. The Stark County Historical Society. I. Columbus, Ohio: The Stoneman Press, 1949. Print. 

Miller, Dave. Photograph of Lady Grace. 2010. digital file.

Phillips-Garver, Marilyn.  Photograph of Opera House.  2010. 


  1. This is a very interesting story. I continue to look forward to the history of Canton, Ohio and the Watch Works. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement, and reading the blog.

  3. Its really different and nice post in you have described all about the royal watches.