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Newport Baptist Bell

Newport Baptist Bell1.jpg

Parkersburg Newspaper, September 27, 1941

Hanging of Bell in 1878 Described as Newport Baptist Church Prepares to Celebrate Its Hundredth Anniversary Next Week


            The Newport Baptist Church will observe its 100th anniversary on October 5, and a program has been prepared for the event. H. E. Bevan who is familiar with the church bell installation has written the following:

            In the year of 1878 the Newport Baptist Church decided to make some change in the church building.

            This was at a time when our only means of transportation was by water. That, the beautiful Ohio River. We had a line of steamboats, the steamer side-wheel Courier and the side-wheel Express. We called them the U. S. Mail boats. Running from Wheeling,, W.Va. to Parkersburg, W. Va., one up and one down every day, if fog and low water did not hinder them. Where they landed most all the town would congregate on the bank till the  one John Ferrier and the other mail clerk would deliver the mail to the postoffice and return with Newport mail. That was one of the big times of the town.


Brought on Boat

            I suppose the big bell was brought here on one of the boats. The church had never had a bell so they took out a balcony and built a bell tower, instead, which was fine, the next thing was to pay for tit in the new house made for it.

            As the boats were our only way of getting things and hauling our cattle, berries, apples and potatoes to market, the committee thought they might help them pay for the bell. There were asked to take up a collection for that purpose, which they did. I don’t know how much they got, but I know that Captain Mack Gamble was given a gold-headed cane.

            The writer was present at the hanging of the bell or putting it in its place to till at the end of the building. Those were good old Baptist brethren I knew and loved.


Deacons Present

            Deacon Stephen A. Dana was present at the time and [also]Alex Rymer, a man and son of Jessie Rymer. No doubt he was a citizen of the town at the time the church was built, who was a steamboat man, [and] had charge of the blocks and lines that they used to put it in its place. They had two sets of blocks and lines, a four and a three, that steamboat men would understand what a four and three would mean.

            No finer bell on the Ohio River between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, said so by many people. The writer has listened to every church bell between those points and Cincinnati.


Hark! The deep tone bell is calling

Come no longer roam

Louder now louder pealing

On the hearts that voice is stealing

Come wanderer come!


Wheeling Parkersburg Marietta Express.jpg


The Side-wheel Express