The Courthouse Clock
Quad River News--July 17, 1985
by Bill Gladstone

There isn't any such word as 'histew' but if there were such a word possibly this month's column could be called histews. It is partly current news and partly history. I used to try to interest student in history by explaining to them that history was nothing other than yesterday's news.
The accompanying photograph is just about as current as you can get. It shows Ray Wemple with one of the old windows which was originally in the court house clock tower. But there is a long story between the window being in the clock tower and its now setting in the lobby of the court house.
When the court house plans were made in 1898 provisions were made for a place to put a clock but the available finances were not sufficient to buy a clock at the same time that the court house was built.
The first reference I can find to the court house clock is an article in the Worth County Times in the Aug. 4, 1898 issue. Editor Garver writes:
Last Saturday a number of farmers inquired of us whether a clock will be put in the tower of the new courthouse. For the information of the public we will say that so far as the county is concerned, there will be no clock put in the courthouse, and for the very good reason that it will require every dollar voted to complete the building. The proper kind of a clock will cost about $500 and that is too much money to appropriate out of the county and building fund. A clock costing the sum named would add greatly to the appearance of the courthouse and could be heard striking for a distance of several miles. Why not raise money by subscription to pay for the bell?
In the bond election in 1898 when funds were approved to finance the construction of the new courthouse the levy passed by a 3 to 1 margin. Most of the opposition was in the west part of the county. The editor of the Sheridan Advance, Moores, was still a little edgy when Editor Garver make his plea for funds for a clock. Said Editor Moores in the Sheridan Advance:
Let's finish the courthouse first, Bro. Garver; then we can easily devise some scheme of robbing the people of money to buy the courthouse clock.
Of course Editor Garver responded in his paper the next week. He suggested that since Moores had brought up the subject of robbing the people he, Moores, should be up in charge of the 'whole scheme of robbing the people'.
A few people responded to the plea for funds but not much seemed to come of it for quite awhile. Some fourteen years later, in the Aug. 15, 1912 Grant City Star, the Worth County Court House Clock Committee made an appeal for funds. They designated the day Aug. 31, 1912 as a day for women of the county to 'contribute just One Old Hen' to the court house clock fund. One poultry house in each town was designated to receive the donations. A couple of weeks later the paper carried a listing of the women who had donated hens. The listing was make under the headline CHICKEN DAY HONOR ROLL and there were 150 women listed.
Another money making scheme for the clock was an amateur theatre group which put on the play, The Convicts Daughter. The play was presented twice to audiences in Grant City and a week later it was presented in Sheridan.
The cast of characters for the play were: Dell Eighmy, W.E. Sparks, Harry Dalby, Fred Dawson, Bert Miller, J. Jay Cokely, Ed Eighmy, Gladys Hass, Mrs. John Jamison, Marie Eighmy and Dorothy Sparks.
The money for the clock was raised and the clock was installed either late in the fall of 1912 or early in 1913.
The windows which were in the clock tower before the clock was installed were taken out and stored in the attic of the courthouse. There they sat, probably untouched, for more than 70 years.
Several months ago the Grant City Lion's Club took as a club project the restoration of the court house clock. To raise money for the project the club held a pancake breakfast. Most of the club members worked at the breakfast.
The actual work of restoring the clock was done by brothers-in-law Charles Foland and Jerry Hunt with a lot of sage advice being offered by Jubal Hunt.
As the group worked on the clock someone (most probably Jubal Hunt) came up with the idea of refinishing the windows and having them on display for the public.
As a starter Ray Wemple, also a member of the Lion's Club, took one of the old windows and began a restoration project. After more than 30 hours the project was completed. It is beautiful and it set in the lobby of the court house.