Mr. Lovewell, I Presume

Robin Lovewell alerted me to the fact that her husband possesses three gifts bestowed by his Lovewell lineage:  Thomas Lovewell’s watch, his name, and his face.  She sent a few photographs to substantiate her claims, and I can’t disagree with her.

Robin's Pics

I also can’t say with certainty that the watch in question once belonged to the same Thomas Lovewell whose likeness graces the banner at the top of this page, even if it’s old enough.  Manufactured by the American Waltham Watch Co., the timepiece contains three serial numbers, though the name of the company alone provides an immediate clue to the age of the watch.   The watchmaker in Waltham, Massachusetts did business under the name American Waltham only between 1885 and 1907.  A serial number on the 17-jewel movement seems to put the date of manufacture squarely in 1901.

The process of buying a watch of distinction in 1901 involved finding works of the desired ruggedness, picking out a handsome case and decorative cover, and having the jeweler assemble the package.  In this instance the watch is inscribed with the words “To be made with Solid Gold with composition between and worn,” and was guaranteed for twenty-five years of wear.  It was manufactured from a brass plate sandwiched between two thin pieces of gold, with the three layers rolled together under intense pressure.  The rolling process was supposed to be more durable than gold plating, which could be rubbed away here and there with daily use, and this one seems to have held up well.

As for the other face in the sidebar to the left, while I would never mistake the men for one another, the genetic link between the two Thomases is clear, especially when comparing the newer model to the photograph of the old one standing on the porch at his brother-in-law’s house in Langdon, Kansas, in 1885*.  It’s the picture in which he gives off a vibe that says, “dangerous when provoked.”  As we well know, he was really an old softy, but his prominent brow ridge and steely gaze could be intimidating.  The look must have served him well when he was Marshal of White Rock. 

The younger Thomas Lovewell on the left seems benign enough, but bear in mind that he’s actually beaming with fatherly pride while holding a tiny new addition to his family.

Imagine how mean he could look if he really tried.

Thanks for sharing, Robin!


* It became apparent later that the picture was taken in the little town of Republic, Kansas, at a G.A.R. gathering, although Thomas is standing in the vicinity of his brother-in-law Daniel Davis.  See 1885 Soldiers’ Meeting in the Lovewell Album.

© Dale Switzer 2023