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Shepherd University Foundation accepts heirloom antique grandfather clock

ISSUED: 10 February 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd University Foundation accepts heirloom antique grandfather clock)

Shepherdstown, WV--The Shepherd University Foundation announces the receipt of an Ashton of Bredbury grandfather clock, c. 1780, donated by the Oates family, Max Jr., T.K. II, and Mary Elizabeth, in memory of their parents, Dr. Max O. and Evelyn S. Oates. The clock will be housed in the Shepherd Room in McMurran Hall.

As longtime Shepherd benefactors, the Oates family members wanted to continue their support of the university with a different kind of gift. Standing at eight feet tall with a brass moon dial and sweep second hand, the clock's mahogany case displays fine workmanship within its delicate inlays. Its mechanism is quite unique, says Lloyd Furches of New Freedom, Pennsylvania, an expert in antique clock repairs.

"The clock uses a bim-bam bell strike which produces a two-bell chime each quarter. On the hour, it strikes the hour using one bell," said Furches. "The master who taught me had never seen that particular design in 30 years of clock work."

Ashton is the family name of the clock's maker and Bredbury is the English town from which they hailed.

The Shepherd Room was renovated in 1989 under the direction of Shepherdstown interior designer Keith Knost. McMurran Hall was originally completed in 1865. McMurran Hall is the oldest building on Shepherd's campus, making it a fitting home for the antique clock.

"We feel fortunate that Shepherd University is part of our region and we are always interested in ways we can show our support," said Liz Oates of her family's gift. "The donation of this clock also provides a lasting legacy to our parents."

To learn more about in-kind giving through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact Monica Lingenfelter, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397,, or visit


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Dr. Suzanne Shipley and Mary Elizabeth Oates

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