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Merrell, Ansel, and Margaret Any Comes

Merrell, Ansel: Early Settler, Clockmaker
Birth: October 20, 1797, Waterbury, New Haven County, Connecticut
Death: March 4, 1873, Massillon, Stark County, Ohio
Burial: Massillon City Cemetery, Massillon, Stark County, Ohio

Margaret Any Comes: Early Settler
Birth: January 4, 1805
Death: November 20, 1866, Stark County, Ohio
Burial: Massillon City Cemetery, Massillon, Stark County, Ohio

Ansel Merrell manufactured wooden-work clocks in Vienna, Ohio taking part in the local clock industry. He began to work as a clockmaker in 1821 or 1822, and in 1824 purchased a three-acre lot on Niles-Vienna Road on which his manufactory was located. Merrell also operated a store at Vienna Center, at first with Ruel Miller, but on his own in 1828. According to historian Rebecca M. Rogers, this store likely sold Merrell's clocks and Merrell's manufactory was the second larger producer of wooden-work clocks in Trumbull County.[1]

Merrell's success in the 1820s ended in 1831, when his brother Arad Merrell, Ambrose Hart (another clockmaker), and Martin C. Way assumed financial responsibility for the business.

Merrell's career as a clock manufacturer mirrored in many respects those of other Vienna clockmakers. Overextension of credit through mortgages, reduced demand for clocks, and an economic depression in the early 1830s essentially ended the clockmaking "boom" in Vienna and Trumbull County.

By 1836 Merrell had sold his clock factory and land on Niles-Vienna Road and moved to Hubbard, Trumbull County, Ohio, and later to Pennsylvania, only to return to Ohio, where he died in Massillon, Ohio.

Merrell married Margaret Any Comes (or Combs) on August 30, 1820. Margaret Any Comes was the daughter of Ebenezer Newell Comes and Mary Ann Humason. Ebenezer and Mary Ann moved from Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut to Vienna in the spring of 1803. Margaret Any was born in 1805 in Vienna Township. One of their children, Lorriston G. Merrell, attended Vienna Academy and was later a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Meadville, Pennsylvania.[2]

American Heritage, National Portal to Historic Collections, at
Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. Volume 13.
Palmer, Brooks. A Treasury of American Clocks. New York: Macmillan, 1967.
Rogers, Rebecca M. Trumbull County Clock Industry, 1812-1825. Dayton, OH : Sterling Graphics, [1991?].

[1] Rebecca M. Rogers, Trumbull County Clock Industry, 1812-1825 (Dayton, OH : Sterling Graphics, [1991?]), p. 22.
[2] History of Crawford County, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of the County, its Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc.; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men; Biographies; History of Pennsylvania; Statistical and Miscellaneous Matters, Etc., Etc. (Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co., 1885), p. 899: "REV. L. G. MERRILL, pastor of the Meadville Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Meadville, was born near Vienna, Trumbull Co., Ohio, July 15, 1825, and is a son of Ansel and Any (Combs) Merrill, the father a native of Connecticut, the mother of Ohio, and both of English descent. The father was a wealthy clock manufacturer. Our subject is the fourth in a family of eleven children. He attended the academy at Vienna, Ohio, and Kingsville and Allegheny Colleges. Having chosen the ministry as his profession, his first charge was a South Oil City for one year as supply. He was then regularly appointed. He has preached at several places since, and as his labors have been blessed he has remained generally two years in a place. He was married in 1854 to Amanda A., daughter of F. A. Wilson; their surviving children are Luella, wife of W. A. Seyler; Alice, wife of George F. Sheets; Florence, Hattie and Laura. Politically, Mr. Merrill regards the prohibition issue as paramount. He is the owner of twenty-five acres of well-improved land in Mead Township, this county. Having been all his life a close student and a hard worker, he is now taking a year's vacation to recuperate his health."