March 25, 2012 in Region

Antique pocket watches missing from museum

 

SALEM – Two antique watches, one of which belonged to famed cartoonist Homer Davenport, have disappeared from a Silverton, Ore., museum, and some of the volunteers who work there believe they were stolen.

Silverton police are investigating the disappearance but have no suspects.

“We’re sick. It’s sickening is what it is,” Chris Schwab, a volunteer with the Silverton Country Historical Society, told the Salem Statesman Journal.

The other missing watch belonged to William McGinnis, who once managed Silver Falls Timber Co. and the Silverton Red Sox baseball team. That watch was taken from an unlocked case.

Neither Schwab nor Carolyn Hutton, the volunteer who discovered the watches were missing, wants to believe that it was an inside job, but police officials said it’s not out of the scope of possibility.

Both watches were donated to the historical society in 2010 by descendants of their former owners. Davenport was an influential political cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner and the New York Journal. He became famous for his cartoons taking on corporate trusts, and died of pneumonia in 1912 shortly after his last assignment commenting on the sinking of the Titanic.

Before it was displayed in the museum, the watch had been locked away in a safe deposit box for at least 60 years, Hutton said.

The watch is a gold Elgin with a white face and Roman numerals. The back of the watch is engraved with a horse’s head in the center of a floral and ribbon design. Inside is a patent date of Feb. 19, 1884.

McGinnis received his watch in 1923. It has a white face with bold, black numbers. It’s engraved on the back with a deer head inside of a heart and floral border. The initials W.L.McG are engraved between the deer’s antlers. A brown shoelace with knotted ends is attached to the top.

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