Jon Crispin's Notebook

Emancipation Proclamation

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Family, Government, History, People by joncrispin on 04/01/2013

On the first of January bells were rung around Massachusetts at 2 pm to commemorate the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  I had heard that Pelham was going to join in and we went up to the historical society to have a look.  This building used to be a church.  It was built in 1839 when the government made the town move the worship area out of the town hall due to separation of church and state.  The town hall (built 1743) is right next door and is interesting in that it is the oldest town hall in continuous use in the United States.  The October town meeting is convened in it and then moved down to the school to be able to hold everyone.  Pelham is also interesting in that it is the home of Daniel Shays.  It is worth reading about him if you are interested in American history.  His story is amazing.

Anyway, we arrived at the historical society and a few folks had shown up to participate.  The single bell in the belfry was cast in England in the 1830s and has been out of service for a long time.  Somehow enough money was found to conduct an engineering assessment of the structure to make sure that if it were rung the whole thing wouldn’t just collapse.  It checked out OK (as they say); a new pull rope was attached and it was ready to go.  We all took our turns and it was a surprisingly moving experience.

3 Responses

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  1. bettybean said, on 15/01/2013 at 6:52 am

    Do you know where in England the bell was made? I was wondering if it might be the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in east London.

    • joncrispin said, on 15/01/2013 at 10:09 am

      Betty, That is a great question and I think I can find out the answer from the local historical society. I would guess that it came from Whitechapel, which is I believe where the Bow Bells and the bells in Big Ben were made. Thanks for your interest.

  2. bettybean said, on 15/01/2013 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you. I would love to know. I live in London and used to live on the same road as the Bell Foundry. You are quite correct about the bells. The Liberty Bell was also made there, I believe.

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