John Dinsmore was born in Windham on June 26, 1759. He later married Susannah Bell of Londonderry and settled on the John-Kelley farm. In 1800, the family relocated to the lower village of Derry where he kept a hotel. Dinsmore is recorded as having been, "a man of great personal worth, and highly esteemed by his townsmen". His wife died on October 27, 1807 and he remarried shortly after to Mary Rogers. Tragically, John, his wife, and three of his daughters died of consumption, or tuberculosis, in Derry. Before his death in 1814, Dinsmore believed that it was the climate of New England that was so conducive to contracting tuberculosis that he urged his remaining family to move to a more moderate climate, which they did following his death.
It is unclear if Dinsmore ordered the case clock for his residence or the hotel. However, he was certainly prosperous enough to purchase a clock, which was a luxury item at the time. He paid $65 for to Timothy Chandler to build him a mahogany case clock. Chandler was born in 1752 in Concord, New Hampshire. He relocated to Connecticut in the 1780s to serve as an apprentice to a wool carder. It is believed that it is during this time that he learned the clock making trade. In 1791 he returned to Concord and set up shop as a silversmith and clock maker. Several years later, in 1797, Chandler signed up with the local militia and rose to the rank of Major by 1799. In 1809, shortly after he had built Dinsmore's clock, Chandler's shop furnace caught fire and burned his shop and home to the ground. The fire resulted in a $5,000 loss, a significant amount at a time before the widespread use of insurance. The people of Concord were generous enough to raise $1,200 for Chandler, which helped him rebuild and continue as a clock maker. Timothy Chandler later died on August 9, 1848.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.