Pard Puckett, a hulk of a man who stood nearly seven feet tall, packed his wife
and seven children from Kentucky to Kansas, and finally to Silverton, Co in 1877. It took little time compared to his direct ancestor who sailed from England for Virginia in 1637.
Pard’s third child, Rilda, joined the other students in Silverton’s schoolhouse.
Meanwhile, an industrious man from Tennessee, descended from Jamestown Quakers, Matthew Copeland, employed his entrepreneurial and political skills and built his bank account in the bustling silver mining town. He took claim to several silver mines, as well.
Turn the clock forward three years, and Rilda, 21-years-old, became Copeland’s bride. By then Copeland led the county Republican Party, and served as county clerk of San Juan County and Silverton’s postmaster. The civil wedding took place in January inside the Puckett home, just outside of the Silverton commercial district.
Matthew built one of Silverton’s finest homes for his bride. When the Victorian cottage was complete, it included one of America’s most precise and well made clocks shipped to the Copeland home from the Michigan clock maker, Colonial Manufacturing Company. Thus begins a journey of time.
Two years later in 1882, the clock, Rilda’s paintings and hand painted china were wrapped and secured for their move to Los Angeles, along with their first child.
Les Arnold, a Palm Springs master clocksmith, recently shared the 132-year-old grandfather style floor clock’s history while he prepped it for its next move.
“I’ve worked on this clock for your aunt. She told me how it came out from Silverton to Pasadena, then moved to Angelino Heights, Silver Lake, Studio City, and finally to Palm Springs.”
He paused to remove a solid brass weight, and then added, “It’s in real good shape for its age.”
Yes, I crafted the story of how the clock wound up in the Copeland Silverton home, but it makes sense.
Matthew, my great-grandfather went on to build “a fine and respectable home” in Angelino Heights—an 1880s fashionable district of Victorian and Queen Anne style homes in the hills above downtown Los Angeles– for his daughter’s eventual presentation. That would be my grandmother. He didn’t live long enough to watch her societal presentation at the home that still overlooks Echo Park Lake, with stairs that he originally built to reach the park. But the clock continued its gentle ticking and its rich amber tone when the striker hits the coil on the hour and half hour.
The clock went to my grandmother. She showcased it in her Silver Lake Craftsman-style home until her death. She outlived my mother, so her youngest son, then a Superior Court judge (who is a dead ringer for his great-grandfather, Pard Puckett), was next to take charge of the heirloom that gently ticks from the meticulously engineered solid brass works. That’s when it took occupation in a mid-century modern Studio City hill-top home.
When my uncle retired, he and my aunt moved to the desert near Palm Springs. The clock greeted visitors from inside their stylish country club home. When I’d visit, the clock sang to me at night as it announced the hour and half hours at dawn.
My uncle and aunt are gone now, so I brought the clock home after Les secured it for another move, and found a wall where it will live until my next move. I’m sure my daughters will keep the clock within the family line. In fact, I insist. I want to rest knowing that my granddaughter can leave her electronic tools and digital noise and fall asleep to the tick, tock, tick, tock rhythm, punctuated on the hour and half hour with a mellow chime of solid brass.
I think Rilda would smile.