History of a Bell: The White School House bell now at Wilton church

first_imgDonald Hamlin and Joanne Douglas ringing the transplanted bell at Calvary Hill Baptist Church.By Bernadette HarvellWILTON – Donated at the end of the 19th Century, a bell that has tolled from atop a school and later a grange has found a new, permanent home at a local church.According to The District Schools of Wilton, Maine 1803 -1890, the White School House was an original school of School House District No. 6, located on property on the Weld Road and owned by Lawrence and Marcella Farrington. Pupils that attended class in the White School House during the winter term of 1865 later arranged to purchase the bell, raising the necessary sum of $26.50. The bell was first used on June 29, 1897.Later, several local districts were combined into a larger one and the building was no longer used as a school. In 1948, the Franklin Grange purchased the building for use as its grange hall, closing in the bell tower. Later that century, “Pride in Maine and Community Service” contests in 1984-85 inspired a local project to restore the bell for use by the grange and the community.The school house during the Old Scholar Reunion of 1897.The bell was last used during this time. The Franklin Grange followed the steps of the White School House, closing its doors in 2006. The bell was donated to the Wilton Historical Society before the building was sold.The bell was of interest to two men: Willard Douglas and Donald Hamlin. Douglas’ grandfather, Chester P. Hamlin, and Hamlin’s grandfather, Dana E. Hamlin, were brothers that had both attended the White School House. Their descendants wanted the bell to somehow be preserved, and both attended Calvary Hill Baptist Church.The historical society agreed to donate the bell to Calvary Hill Baptist Church. John Becker, Kimball and Cindy Farrington, Calvary Hill Baptist Church members, along with others, worked to transport the bell and build a place for it. Willard Douglas since passed away, but his wife, Joanne continued to attend Calvary Hill Baptist Church, as did Donald Hamlin.During a ceremony in November the bell was dedicated in the honor of Willard and Donald’s grandparents. Donald Hamlin spoke about the history of the bell and he and Douglas’ wife, Joanne, were the first to ring the bell at its new location.Hazel and Lincoln Flagg were present as representatives of the Grange. Lincoln Flagg was a Grange member for 50 years.Joanne Douglas tests out the bell.last_img

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