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    • #11146

      Mary Caughlan Kelley sends us a picture of a new addition to her collection:

      Pictured above, the most recent Caughlan bell I have been able to purchase, measuring 11” at the mouth. It began life as a stage depot bell in Missouri in the early 1850s.

      Mary also tells us:

      My love for large, cast bronze bells (actually, any bell) continues ever stronger as I have gotten more and more into research on my great-grandfather, David Caughlan. My book on him is essentially finished and the three sections (Ancestry, Bell Foundries, Ministry) are out to family for proofreading.

    • #14674

      More information from Mary (posted with her permission):

      Hello, Carolyn,

      I’ve just taken a look at your post on the latest Caughlan bell I’ve been able to purchase (I have five now) and it was a thrill.

      I am hopeful someone will take a look at it and remember a bell they have seen at some time, somewhere, and write me about it. I feel there are many more Caughlan bells still in churches in and around St. Louis. I have located the whereabouts of 30 so far, mostly in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Idaho, Kansas, and Kentucky. Their stories are each wonderful. The 1850s were a critical time in our country and it is exciting to think of the part these large bells played in schools, churches, factories, farms, river boats and stage depots.

      The particular bell in the picture was in a stage depot (later absorbed into the Well-Fargo system) in Danville, Mo. before the Civil War, about 1853. It rang when the stage arrived from St. Louis with the newspapers. The local Dr. would hurry down to the depot, sit on the front steps, and read the news to anyone who was interested in hearing it. I’m sure this was an appreciated service for those who were unable to read.

      In 1864, Bill Anderson and a mob of Southern sympathizers attacked the town and burned the depot. The bell survived only because it was mounted outside. It remained in the possession of local people until I had the opportunity to purchase it.

      The present wood support for the bell was created from oak from the first log home built in that area, dating from 1830. While not a traditional stand, I think it is quite suitable and functional.

      Bell Talk is better than ever. Thank you for all that you do.


      Thanks for sharing this fascinating story with us, Mary!

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