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New Orleans Church Bell in Vermont

In contrast to the biblical phrase "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks," melting down church bells has a long history. When the Saracens recaptured Jerusalem in 1187, church bells in the captured city were smashed up and melted down. In 1570, when the Turks took Cyprus, they melted down the church bells to make cannon for the defences of the cities.

Early in the Civil War, lacking the resources of the North, Southern cities resorted to melting down church and farm bells to supply the raw materials needed by foundries to make cannon.

One of those bells destined for the same fate was taken by Northern troops in New Orleans in 1862, and eventually ended up in the belfrey of Lamoille Valley Grace Brethren Church in Morristown, where it still hangs, and rings, today. What follows are pictures of that bell and its history.

Photographs courtesy of Deanna French.