Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Philip Seewald--Jeweler and Clock Maker Extraordinaire

Philip Seewald and Louisa Lang Seewald are the maternal 3x great grandparents of my husband, Ted.  Philip is the son of Ludwig Seewald and Sophia Correll.  He was born on September 26 1799 in Sippersfeld, Bavarian Palatinate, Germany.  Louisa, daughter of George Ludwig Henry Lang and Catherine Scheutz, was born on February 26, 1802 in Bavaria, Germany.

The immigration and gradual movement across pioneer America of the Seewalds from Philadelphia to Tiffin, Ohio is well documented in the History of Seneca County published in 1880  by William Lang, page 255-257.  As noted in the books article, all three of Philips sons; John Louis Seewald, William Henry Seewald and John Philip Seewald, carried on the family trade of jeweler.

At the end of the Seewald section of William Lang's book, it mentions that Philip Seewald began making tower clocks in his later years.  Lang credits Philip Seewald with the building of the clock located in the clock tower near the Seneca County Courthouse.  I  found an article in the Advertiser Tribune, Tiffin's local newspaper, that groundbreaking for the courthouse was begun in 1883.  The tower clock was made by Seewald and Hart, Tiffin, Ohio.  Since Philip Seewald died in 1878, it begs the question--was the original clock in the tower built by Philip or his son, John Louis?  Or, perhaps, the original clock was simply in a tower standing alone in the Tiffin town square before the Seneca County Courthouse was built.

Another one of Philip's tower clocks is still in operation in Hudson, Michigan.  According to an article in the Toledo Blade, March 1, 1982, page 6, Future of Old Clock Has Hudson Wound Up, the Hudson clock was originally in Fremont, Ohio and was subsequently moved to Hudson in front of John Philip Seewald's jewelry store.

The Seneca County Courthouse and clock tower were razed early this year following protests by local groups and even a failed request to the Ohio Supreme Court.  There was a quote by a local resident that I found in a Toledo Blade article, "Watching the 107-foot clock tower of Seneca County's 1884 courthouse come down piece by dusty piece Thursday, the resident conceded most people considered the tower ugly." "I wasn't too fond of it either, been but the original one was underneath it and it could've been brought back," he said.  I know my Aunt said that the clock that was destroyed was not the Seewald clock; however, it seems from the above quote, the razed tower and clock may have been built over the original one.

I have been working lately on my husband's Seewald genealogy and it was amazing to learn just how many descendants of  Philip Seewald continued his business in jewelry and clock making.  The Seewalds fanned out across America and generations have provided new customers with beautiful articles of jewelry and time pieces.

Other spellings of Philip Seewald:  Phillip Seewald, Johann Phillip Seewald
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© 2012, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. My dad was JUST telling me how my 2 or 3x great grandfather Seewald made the tower clock in Tiffin! I sent him this link, and we have a lot to add! My name is Dana Funk, my dads name is Russ Funk, his mother was a Seewald. Are you and your husband in the Toledo, OH area? Email anytime, I'd love to pass along the email! Missdana419@aol.com

  2. Did Philip in your research go to Amarillo? If so then I am of this Seewald line.

    would love to compare trees.

    wendellmk@hotmail.com My Maternal Great Grandmother is Agnes Seewald

  3. Philipp is my 5th Great Grandfather. Thank you very much for this information. I was able to find the book your reference and believe I may have found his military record from when he was in the Bavarian army, also mentioned in that book. I also ran into this: http://www.senecacountymuseum.com/ Which seems to show a picture of Philipp as well as a secretary he crafted. I have also found records of a Philipp Seewald who as in the 55th Ohio Infantry but am not 100% convinced it is our Philip. He is listed as a musician and I have not seen any reference to support he had every been a musician much less one in the military.

  4. My great grandfather (my fathers mothers father) was named Phillip H. Seewald. He was born in Ft Smith Arkansas. He and his wife Pink Adams Seewald moved from old Tascosa Texas to Amarillo Texas and were pioneers in this area. He was the first jeweler/watchmaker between Denver and Dallas. He died here in Amarillo in the 1930's.

  5. Hi All. I believe I have a portrait of Philip Seewald along with a tall clock (grandfather's clock) he build in my home in Virginia My great aunt was Cora Seewald...my maternal grandmother was Katherine Horton (Bunn) of Tifton Ohio. Cheers! Jonathan Lyle