Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jacob Eby clock at the de Young museum

Earlier this year, I started researching my family's history. I knew very little about my ancestors, other than that I was the fifth Richard Klau in the family, and that the first Richard Klau came to the United States from Germany in the 1850s. After pursuing a number of branches of the family tree on, I'd hit a couple dead-ends, one of which was my paternal grandmother's line. I couldn't find any information on her mother's ancestors, so I asked my grandmother whether she had any info that could help me out. She sent me some sheets of paper that another relative had compiled several years ago, and one of those included a sheet listing her grandparents. "leaves" indicate possible info about ancestors
If you've ever used, you know about the leaves that display on an individual's record when thinks it has information that might be helpful for you. In my case, the minute that I entered my grandmother's grandmother's name, went nuts - eventually leading me back another 6 generations. Sophronia Eby, it turns out, is part of a rather remarkable family line. She is a direct descendant of Theodorus Eby, one of the first Mennonite settlers in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. His sons emigrated to Canada, where they founded the Mennonite community.

Theodorus's great-grandson, Jacob Eby, was a clock-maker in Pennsylvania. I discovered this after finding a website dedicated to Eby descendants, where the woman who maintains the site mentioned that she has a Jacob Eby clock in her house. I did some research about his clocks (on a separate blog I keep focused on the family tree), and was stunned to find that another Eby original is on permanent display at the de Young museum in San Francisco.

We went to the de Young today, and it was a thrill to find the clock on display. Here I am with my kids, Jacob Eby's 7th- and 8th-generation descendants:

Jacob Eby clock, at the de Young Museum
The clock face is really fascinating, and I'm hopeful I can learn more about it:

You can make out Jacob Eby's name on the face, right above Manheim (he lived in Manheim, Pennsylvania). The inner-most circle on the face appears to track the day of the month, while the dial at the top of the clock might be tracking seconds. Here are a few close-ups:


The final detail is in the clock base, which is a beautiful mahogany wood base. Inlaid in the wood is this eagle:

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started researching my family's history. Finding such a beautiful piece of work, made by someone I'm directly descended from, is a thrill.


  1. What a great story! I've been into genealogy for about 8 years and it's always a thrill to have such a breakthrough. But to find an actual object like this clock, that's just amazing! Well done on your family search!

  2. I am a decendent of jacob, and christian eby. my great x5 grandfather was samual stauffer (also a clock maker) and jacob and christian apprentected under him. I too have an jacob eby clock circa 1824 (probably given to the family). passed from stauffers to the sturgis family (my grandmother who was adopted by her aunt and uncle henery and venetta stauffer(hosteter) she (my grandmother) was born in manhiem in the sturgis pretzel house.