When I was grade school I had a teacher, who was in love with history. She told tales of the American Revolution like she’d been there. The stories were so vivid and detailed that secretly my friends and I wondered if she might not be old enough to have witnessed the war between Britain and the thirteen colonies in person. She’d been to many of the historical sites and she’d show us her pictures and say if we ever got a chance we should follow in her footsteps. She said when we went on this pilgrimage we should make a point of visiting the Liberty Bell.
Recently, when I’m probably the same age my grade school teacher was when she regaled us with historical legends and lore, I traveled to the east coast and I got see the Liberty Bell. In tribute to my teacher, I’d like to share a few facts I’ve learned.
1. The Liberty Bell hasn’t tolled for over 150 years.
2. In 1751, colonists ordered the bell from England, intending to use it in the Pennsylvania State House, which is now known as Independence Hall.
3. The bell arrived in August 1752. It weighed 2,080 pounds.
4. Then colonists built a special steeple for the bell. They planned a special ceremony for the bell’s first tolling on March 10th, 1753, but when they rang the bell it clanked. It was cracked.
5. The colonists’ first idea was to send the bell back to England for repairs, but they couldn’t find a captain willing to sail with the bell immediately.
6. Colonists decided to ask John Pass and John Stow to recast the bell.
7. The two craftsmen added copper to the bell’s mix to make it stronger, but when the bell chimed it sounded terrible because there was too much copper.
8. Pass and Stow melted the bell down again and added tin; however, when the bell rang it still didn’t sound very musical. People weren’t fond of the sound, but the assembly used it anyway to call meetings to order and to chime the hour.
9. Townspeople really didn’t start liking the bell until delegates rang the bell on July 8, 1776 in celebration after the Declaration of Independence was read in the courtyard of the Pennsylvania State House.
10. Because colonists were afraid the bell might fall into the hands of the British they asked Benjamin Flower to hide it.
11. He asked John Jacob, a local farmer, to transport the bell out of Philadelphia.
12. Where was the bell? Colonists hid it in Allentown, Pennsylvania under the floor of the Zion Reformed Church.
13. After the British army march toward New York, colonists retrieved the bell. When the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 24, 1781, the people in the newly independent America rang the bell.
The Liberty Bell has a lot more significance and a lot more history than what I’ve shared today. I’m going to do another post and give you more facts soon, but I want to stop at thirteen and wish you a Merry Christmas.
Thanks for reading my posts and I wish you a safe and blessed holiday.
The Liberty Bell by Debra Hess
The Liberty Bell by Mary Firestone
The Liberty Bell by Hall Marcovitz