This Place in History: Civil War Bell

Vermont Historical Society


At ‘This Place in History’ we’re in Morrisville, Vt. with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We’re standing in front of the Grace Brethren Church here which has a very fascinating bell in its bell tower. So, we’re going to go inside and see Pastor Ethan Kallberg and he’s going to tell us what they have,” said Perkins.

“The fact that it’s from the South and during the Civil War era makes [this bell] really unique. One of the quotes from one of the history books that I think is so amazing is “A bell that once called slaves to work, now calls free men to worship”. I think that’s a really neat and interesting thing about this particular bell,” began Kallberg.

“It was in Louisiana. It was to be given up to be made into cannonballs. The North came down and captured where it was being stored and sent it up to Boston. From New Orleans, it was shipped up here. The bells themselves were used as ballasts in the ships to the East Boston Shipyard where it was sold at auction.”

“How did it end up here in Morrisville?” asked Perkins.

“A congregation member went down and bought it at auction in Boston and brought it back up here to Morrisville,” answered Kallberg.

“It’s very ornate, which is one of the unique features of it. It has a number of different patterns to it, all around the bell, including some angels and different things like that. It also has written right on it, the bell manufacturer and the year that it was made.”

“I believe it is the only southern bell in the state of Vermont, from what I understand. The ornate nature of it also is something very, very unique to that particular bell. Our church, the Grace Brethren Church, purchased the building from the Advent Christian Church in 2004 and inherited the bell along with it. What a great resource and privilege it is to be able to have that in our congregation!” concluded Kallberg.

At ‘This Place in History’!

For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historic markers, click here.

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