The Historic Shepherdstown Museum opens for the season on April 7 with a new temporary display of past and recent photos of Shepherdstown. In addition, visitors will be able to see a “new” Jacob Craft clock donated last fall by former Jefferson County resident Curt Mason.
Last fall, local historian Doug Perks compiled past and current photos of Shepherdstown into a presentation called “The Changing Face of Shepherdstown.” He has now organized the photos into a display for the Museum. The display features images from as far back as the 1860’s and as recently as 2015.
As Perks notes “Streetscapes and viewscapes changed through time. Roads were moved and improved. One building replaced another. But many remain unchanged. The exhibit gives Shepherdstown residents and visitors a tantalizing glimpse of past and present.”
The Museum is also pleased to display its third early 19th century grandfather clock made by Shepherdstown resident Jacob Craft. Curt Mason donated the clock to the Museum so that it could “come home.” The clock once belonged to Rezin Davis (R.D.) Shepherd, a Shakespearean actor in the first half of the 20th century. A great-grandson of the founder of Shepherdstown, R.D grew up at Wild Goose Farm, just outside of town. He eventually moved to California where he died in 1946. Having no close relatives, he left his Craft clock to his long-time housekeeper. The housekeeper’s daughter, Elizabeth Shepherd Saxe, was Curt Mason’s mother’s close friend and left the clock to her.
According to Curt, “Elizabeth apparently had valued Mom’s appreciation of the clock and felt that it would be in good hands if it were passed on to her.” After Curt moved to Virginia, his mother passed the clock on to him so that it would be closer to home. Then Curt and his wife Suzette Kimball moved to WV and eventually learned that the clock had been made in Shepherdstown. So when they moved away last fall, they gave it to the Museum in memory of Curt’s mother, Berthe Courtois Mason. Curt says she “would have been happy to know it came home to within a block of where Jacob Craft brought it to life.”