November 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm #11256dogman50Participant
I would like to get more info on the founder of my bell . G. Hedderly of Philadelphia around 1807. Trying to determine the value of my bell.
November 8, 2009 at 10:00 pm #14917hjlong3Participant
There was an Edwin Hedderly who cast the Bucks County Bell in 1807 and apparently worked with Pass & Stowe who cast the Liberty Bell. G. Hedderly must have been a relative and probably worked in the same foundry. This foundry could have been a successor of the Pass & Stowe foundry. Perhaps the Philadelphia Hisorical Society could be of help. The Hedderly name is associated with Bell Founding in Nottingham England a century earlier but I am not aware of a relative coming to the Colonies.
Harry Long, MD
November 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm #14918hjlong3Participant
I found additional information on George Hedderly. There is an interesting piece on the following website http://www.historicwilliamsport.com/Features/CourthouseBell.htm .G. Hedderly was a bell founder in Nottingham, England who went bankrupt in 1793 and emigrated to Philadelphia where he cast bells until his death in 1813. You have a real gem there.
November 10, 2009 at 6:01 am #14919AnonymousInactive
I have received permission from the author of the article to which Harry referred us to post it on our website. Our thanks and appreciation go to Joan Blank. Her web page is http://www.historicwilliamsport.com/joanblank.html. There are photos on the website http://www.historicwilliamsport.com/Features/CourthouseBell.htm.
The Courthouse Bell Rings Once Again…
By Joan Blank
A bell has begun ringing in downtown Williamsport [PA] recently – and it is one that has been silent for some time. The Lycoming County government maintenance department has repaired the bell in the tower at the courthouse by correcting some corrosion issues with the piston that rings the bell.
The hourly chime that you can now hear is really the sound of history. The bell that hangs in the free-standing tower on the plaza was made over 200 years ago – in 1804 – to be hung in the tower of the first courthouse, which was also built that year. According to the History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (edited by John Meginness in 1892), the cost of the bell was around $300, and it measures two feet four inches across the open end, is two feet high, and weighs between 500 and 600 pounds. It was hauled from Philadelphia in a wagon by Gen. John Burrows, one of the commissioners at the time.
“George Hedderly made me…”
The maker of the bell was George Hedderly, a bellfounder who emigrated to America from Nottingham, England, in 1793. The inscription around the top of the bell reads: “George Hedderly made me in Philadelphia, Anno Domini 1804.”
John Hedderly of Devon, England, has provided the following information about the bell maker George Hedderly, who is John’s distant relative (first cousin, six times removed).
George was born in 1755 in St. Marys, Nottingham, England. He was apprenticed as a framesmith in 1769, when he was 14 years old. (A framesmith was someone who made weaving frames. Nottingham was famous at that time for lace making.) He later worked with his father and brother, Thomas II, probably doing the frame building and bell-hanging work.
On the death of his brother, George found himself in charge of the foundry. Trade was not brisk and he resorted to regular advertisements in papers. After the death of his first wife, Hannah, he married a second time, to Sarah Sills in 1792. In March 1793, the son of George and Sarah – Francis – was baptised at St. Mary, Nottingham. Shortly thereafter, George disappeared from Nottingham and emigrated to America, leaving his wife and child in England.
In America, George formed a partnership with John Bailey, a New York artisan. On February 27, 1794, they placed an advertisement in the New York Daily Advertiser announcing the establishment of the ‘New York Bellfoundery’. By 1798, he had moved his business to Philadelphia, where he operated the foundry until his death in 1813. A number of bells that he crafted here in America are known to have survived:
1804 Raleigh, NC, courthouse bell
1804 Williamsport, PA, courthouse bell
1805 Hillsborough, NC, courthouse bell
1806 Old Swedes Church, Southwark, Philadelphia
1807 Sunbury, PA, courthouse bell, now hanging in the First Presbyterian Church, Sunbury, PA
1807 First Presbyterian Church, Trenton, NJ
Sights and Sounds of History
It is said that the county courthouse bell was rung so vigorously in 1815, on the reception of the news of peace at the close of the war of 1812, that it was heard a distance of eleven miles. We aren’t promising that you will hear the bell from eleven miles away, but stop by the courthouse around the top of the hour and you’ll hear the bell chime a bit of the past. You’ll also be able to see history – the Hedderly bell is easily visible hanging in the clock tower on the west side of the courthouse plaza on West Third Street in downtown Williamsport.
Information for portions of this article provided by George Dawson of Nottinghamshire, England (http://www.georgedawson.homestead.com/archaeology.html) and John Hedderly of Devon, England. Other information excerpted from History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, edited by John Meginness. Text written by Joan Blank for the June 2007, edition of “County News” – the quarterly newsletter for employees of Lycoming County, published by the Human Resources Office, County of Lycoming.
November 13, 2009 at 4:44 am #14915Neil GoeppingerParticipant
As I recall, a few years ago Carl Scott Zimmerman (an ABA member) was contacted by a member of the Hedderly family in England about the history of the Hedderly bell founding family in the U. S. and there was quite a bit of correspondence between them unearthing the family bell founding history in both countries. — Neil Goeppinger
November 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm #14916Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
Neil is quite correct. The preeminent authority on the Hedderly bellfounders, not only in England but in the USA, is George Dawson, who was mentioned above.
January 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm #14920johnhedderlyParticipant
Edwin Hedderly was George Hedderly’s son. There is no evidence that either worked with Pass & Stowe.
June 25, 2020 at 9:52 am #29946georgedawsonParticipant
John, can you contact me please.
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