Our historic church bell
Recently, the church office received a telephone call from a woman regarding a church bell that she located on her parents property in Upstate New York. Interestingly, through her research, she noted that her bell may have been linked to The Federated Church of Orleans.
This telephone call prompted me to do more research on the church’s bell. I learned that our bell was cast by the Holbrook Bell Company out of Medway, MA. The business of manufacturing bells and church or town clocks had contributed so much to the prosperity of an area, and which carried the name of the town to almost every habitable portion of the country (if not the world). The original Holbrook Bell founder, Major George Holbrook, received a limited education in the public schools; and while young was apprenticed to Paul Revere, of Revolutionary fame, to learn the machinists and clockmaker's trades. In 1816, Major Holbrook founded the Holbrook Bell Company and during the years 1816-1820, the Holbrook Bell Company was the only establishment of its kind in America. The business was successfully carried on by four successive generations of the same family, until the year 1880. During the period of its existence, over eleven thousand bells were cast at this establishment, and sent to all parts of the United States, British Provinces, Mexico and the Sandwich Islands.
In 1820 his son, Colonel George Handel Holbrook succeeded the entire business which he carried until 1871. In the year 1831, four bells were cast; one for The Federated Church of Orleans, one for Mission San Rafeal, San Rafeal, CA, one for the 1st Congregation Church of Litchfield, CT and one in Alton, IL, which sold in 2010 (may be now in Upstate New York). Not knowing the status of our 1831 bell, and with the help of our Sexton, Ross Witt-Long, who climbed up and into the church’s belfry, we discovered our historic 1831 Holbrook Bell still hanging strong.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to bring the 1831 Holbrook Bell down from the belfry and plant it in a location to be admired and shared with the whole community?
Please send me your thoughts. Thank you. Kimberly