The Old Dominy House
The old Dominy House was eventually taken down, much to many people's regret, but fortunately Mr. Dudley Roberts Jr. was in time to rescue the two most interesting parts of it - the Clock Shop at one end and the Cabinetmaker's Shop at the other.
He combined them into one building, using as much of the original lumber as he could find or buy. and placed it on one of East Hampton's old dunes as a weekend retreat. Furnishing it with old things (Dominy as much as possible) he made it a most interesting place for himself and friends.
It is regrettable that one of the shops could not have been placed somewhere in the village as a memento to the Clockmaker. Clinton Academy has two of the old clocks, but the tools that Mr. Dominy fashioned himself for use in making the clocks have been sold to the DuPonts of Wilmington, Delaware, to be exhibited there with one of the clocks and other objects which Mr. Dominy made. I regret that they were not placed in the old Academy here or, at least, retained in this village.
In recent years I visited Bristol,Connecticut, to see the old Clock Museum there, It was with great delight that I could tell them of East Hampton's clocks and present a copy of the Forum telling about them. With my permission they made copies of the article.
So Dominy Clocks are becoming better known, and the ingenious Clockmaker's work lives on.
Elizabeth R. Brown. East Hampton
Dominy House Drawings
The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities has copies of the 14 measured drawings of the Dominy House, East Hampton. which were made under the Works Progress Administration, Historic American Buildings Survey. The drawings, done by Mr. Daniel M. C. Hopping, are dated May 1940, and include 11 sheets of the house and three of the clock shop.
Mrs. Valmai Messiter, Ass't to Secretary, S.P.L.I.A.. Thompson House, Setauket.
Dominy Workshops - Four generations of the Dominy family of East Hampton,
New York, were furnituremakers, carpenters, millwrights, clockmakers, and
all-purpose craftsmen: Nathaniel Dominy III (1714-78); Nathaniel Dominy
IV (1737-1812); Nathaniel Dominy V (1770-1852); and Felix Dominy (1800-1868).
On October 30, 1797, the East Hampton selectmen granted Nathaniel Dominy IV a lease for land adjoining the Dominy house. A clock shop was added at the opposite end of the house from the woodworking shop. It was attached to the front of the original section of the house and could be entered through an outside door as well as from the parlor. Completed in the spring of 1798, the clock shop was used by four generations of Dominys for clock fabrication and watch repair.
Nathaniel Dominy III added a woodworking shop on the northeast side of his house between 1745 and 1750. This structure extended behind the rear of the house and was accessible from the kitchen as well as an exterior door. Three more generations of Dominys used this shop, and it remained attached to the house until 1946. Most eighteenth-century woodworkers practiced their trade in cramped, poorly lighted structures like this one.
The Dominys moved out of the house in the 1930s, and the building was vacant when photographed and measured by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1940. The house was demolished in 1946, and the shop was moved elsewhere and altered. The reconstruction of the shop now at Winterthur is based on the 1940 plan. The benches and tools are the original fixtures from the building
The Dominy Hawaian Connection
HER MAJESTY, QUEEN LILIUOKALANI
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE CONSORT,
JOHN OWEN DOMINIS (Dominy)
Liliuokalani was the
last Constitutional Queen of the Hawaiian Islands. Her rule lasted from
1891 to 1895. She was born Lydia Paki Kamekeha Liliuokalani in 1838. Her
parents were councillors to King Kamehameha III. Young Lydia attended the
Royal School which was run by American missionaries. In 1862 she married
John Owen Dominis but he died shortly after she ascended the throne.
Liliuokalani's brother, King David Kalakaua, ascended the throne in 1874. He gave much governing power to a cabinet composed of Americans. As a result, new constitution was passed which gave voting rights to foreign residents but denied these rights to most Hawaiian natives. Liliuokalani succeeded to the throne upon the death of her brother in 1891. When she attempted to restore some of the power of the monarchy that had been lost during the reign of her brother, she encountered the revolt by the American colonists who controlled most of Hawaii's economy. In 1893, U.S. marines called in by a U.S. minister occupied the government buildings in Honolulu and deposed the queen. The colonists, led by Sanford Dole, applied for the annexation of the islands to the United States. Queen Liliuokalani appealed to the U.S. President Grover Cleveland for reinstatement.
Ignoring President Cleveland's orders, Dole established a provisional government in Hawaii. His forces put down the revolt by the royalists and jailed many of the queen's supporters. In 1895 Queen Liliuokalani was put under the house arrest in the Iolani Palace for eight months, after which she abdicated in return for the release of her jailed supporters. In 1898 the Hawaiian Islands were formally annexed to the United States. In the same year Queen Liliuokalani composed a song "Aloha Oe" as a farewell to her country. She was released as a private citizen and lived at Washington Place (320 South Beretania Street) in Honolulu until her death in 1917.
"That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government.
"Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands."
- Queen Liliuokalani, Jan 17, 1893
The Queen's words Describing her Husband
and married life:
I was engaged to Mr. Dominis for about two years; and it was our intention to be married on the second day of September, 1862. But by reason of the fact that the court was in affliction and mourning, our wedding was delayed at the request of the king, Kamehameha IV., to the sixteenth of that month; Rev. Dr. Damon, father of Mr. S. M. Damon, at present the leading banker of the Islands, being the officiating clergyman. It was celebrated at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Bishop, in the house which had been erected by my father, Paki, and which, known as the Arlington Hotel, is still one of the most beautiful and central of the mansions in Honolulu. To it came all the high chiefs then living there, also the foreign residents; in fact, all the best society of the city.
My husband took me at once to the estate known as Washington Place, which had been built by his father, and which is still my private residence. It is a large, square, white house, with pillars and porticos on all sides, really a palatial dwelling, as comfortable in its appointments as it is inviting in its aspect; its front is distant from the street far enough to avoid the dust and noise. Trees shade its walls from the heat of noonday; its ample gardens are filled with the choicest flowers and shrubs; it is, in fact, just what it appears, a choice tropical retreat in the midst of the chief city of the Hawaiian Islands. Opposite its doors is the edifice, recently erected, known as the Central Union Church, which is attended by the missionary families, and indeed most of the foreign residents of American birth or sympathies.
THE PRIVATE RESIDENCE OF THE QUEEN,
FORMERLY THE HOME OF GENERAL JOHN OWEN DOMINIS, THE PRINCE CONSORT
Captain Dominis, father
of my husband, had but little enjoyment from the homestead he had planned.
He last sailed from the port in 1846, just as the house was on the point
of completion, and the ship he commanded was never heard of more. His widow
expected, hoped, and prayed, but no tidings of his fate were ever received;
slowly she was compelled to recognize the truth so many sailors' wives
are constantly learning, and to hope long deferred succeeded grief for
irreparable loss. For this reason she clung with tenacity to the affection
and constant attentions of her son, and no man could be more devoted than
was General Dominis to his mother. He was really an only child, although
there had been two daughters older; but while he was an infant they both
died in the United States, where they had been left to gain their education.
Mrs. Dominis was a native of Boston.
As she felt that no one should step between her and her child, naturally I, as her son's wife, was considered an intruder; and I was forced to realize this from the beginning. My husband was extremely kind and considerate to me, yet he would not swerve to the one side or to the other in any matter where there was danger of hurting his mother's feelings. I respected the closeness of the tie between mother and son, and conformed my own ideas, so far as I could, to encourage and assist my husband in his devotion to his mother. Later in life Mrs. Dominis seemed to fully realize that there had been some self-sacrifice, and she became more and more a tender and affectionate mother to me as her days were drawing to a close.