I also have a bell in excess of 20″ that says at the top of the bell “A. Major & Brother 1860”. In this case we have some known history about this particular bell. In the 1960’s my parents bought the plantation house of Col. Jefferson Phillips. Col. Phillips was a Confederate Colonel that ordered the burning of Hampton to keep it from falling into Union hands early in the war. His plantation was quite large and included all of what is now langley AFB (Air Force Base) in Hampton, Va. As a teenager I grew up in Col. Phillips house. Behind the house is a slaves quarters and a horse stable. The two buildings were separated end-to-end by about 15 feet. In the middle was a modern steel pole with this bell mounted on top. As a teenager I had fun ringing it. The pole and hanger was not orginal but the bell has the original yoke and a metal piece at a 90 degree angle on top of the yoke with a counterweight at one end and a loop at the other for a rope to pull the bell. The yoke and counter weight are attached to the bell by a bolt with an unusual looking square nut (rather large). During one of the hurricanes that grazed Hampton the pole was blown over and the clapper lost. I need to go back there with a metal detector and see if I can find it. We managed to salvage the old parts of the bell which is undameged. I don’t know if the bell is iron or bronze. The attached yoke has surface rust but the bell does not so I am not sure if the bell is bronze or iron. I do know that they made these bells to last!

Does anyone have any information on this bell?

Best regards,
Pete Holman