Hillsborough Town Clock

The postcard above shows the Orange County Courthouse and dates to ca. 1905-1915. The clock in the clocktower is said to have been a gift to the town by King George III in 1789, however, the history of the clock remains somewhat murky.  According to two histories of the town of Hillsborough (Nash’s Hillsboro, Colonial and Revolutionary and Lloyd’s History of the Town of Hillsboro), the clock was made in Birmingham, England around 1760 as a facsimile of the clock in the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Both clocks were said to have come to the country around the same time, ca. 1766.  It’s unclear whether or not the clock was really a gift from King George III or brought to the town by one or more of the prominent local politicians, such as David Fanning, the register of Deeds, Governor Tryon, or the Earl of Hillsboro.

The clock was relocated several times and involved in numerous disturbances, including a raid on the town, a swim in the Eno River, the Regulator’s War, and then the Revolutionary War.  It wasn’t until 1846 or 1847 that the clockwas placed in the Orange County Courthouse, where it still resides today.