Old St. Andrews



The Town Bell



The Old Town Bell


July 21, 1852
We found the following jeu d’esprit in our “communication box.”
For the Standard
A Seasonable Rhyme for Children of larger growth.
The Market House Bell hath a tongue, and it speaketh to his Comrade the clock.


Dickory! Dickory! Dock!
A word with you friend Clock;
Tell me I pray, the time of day,
Dickory! Dickory! Dock!


Ding! Ding! Dong!
Don’t you hear my mellifluous gong?
Which ascends to the sky from my turret on high?
Ding! Ding! Dong!


Dickory! Dickory! Dock!
What! not answer me friend Clock?
As you asleep? Let’s have a peep,
Dickory! Dickory! Dock!


Ding! Ding! Dong
Ah! Now I see what’s wrong,
Oh! Shame on the Town, to let you run down
Ding! Ding! Dong.


Dickory! Dickory! Dock!
Where’s he who winds thee, Clock?
Three Pounds a year, is lost I fear!
Dickory! Dickory! Dock!


Ding! Ding! Dong.
I should not stand it long,
Petition the town to take you down
Ding! Ding! Dong.


A “still, small voice” from the clock replieth—
I have no time friend Bell to speak
With three just now, wait till next week.


Dec 23/1874
The new engine house with tower is finished, and the bell recently imported has been rung for the past few days at the usual hours. In common with many others we believe the bell to be too small. Some persons living in the town have not even heard it, and those who have think the sound a dull one. Certainly it is neither loud nor musical, nor has it the sharp and clear sound of the one formerly used.


Feb. 4/1892
Ex-bell ringer Keezer lingered long and lovingly over the bell-rope on Saturday night—on the last day of the Keezer regime. The new bellman made his debut very quietly on Monday morning.


The Old Town Bell
Its Companion, the Clock, has Long Since Ceased from its Labours
The Beacon and one of “the oldest inhabitants” were chatting over the recent change in the own bell ringer.
“It is a good many years,” quoth the latter, “since I first heard the tuneful notes of the town bell of Saint Andrews. It did not stand where it now is, for in those days the Episcopal bell sounded the hours. The hours were different, too. In summer, the first tinkle of the bell was heard at 8 o’clock in the morning. Everybody who had work to do was at it long before this. At that time there was no ten-hour or any other system, except to go to work at daylight and knock off when it was dark. Yes! and there was work to do in those days, for when the bell rung at 1 o’clock for dinner, it was no uncommon sight to see one hundred men coming up from Rait’s wharf and scores from the other wharves. After the bell had sounded for dinner, it did not give tongue again until 9 o’clock in the evening. In winter, the bell rang at 8 o’clock, instead of 9.
            “The Episcopal church then stood in the Church block, where Mr. Algar now lives. it was some time before the removal of the church from that site that the town bell was removed to the Court House, which then stood where the present town hall stands.
            “The change in the hours of bell-ringing came about the time the railway was commenced.
            “The first town bell-ringer that I remember was Michael Cronin. Mike was a native or Ireland, but came here from Newfoundland. Following him, if I remember correctly, was a man named Douglas, who belonged up the St. John River. George Cole pulled the rope for a while, and then Alex. Donald rung out the hours. The latter’s place was taken by David Keezer, who now gives away to Alex. Campbell. Campbell is an old Solider, and a pensioner. He has been a resident of St. Andrews for many years.
            “The present bell is the third, I think that has been the property of the town. The first was melted when the old court house was burned. The second succumbed one New Year’s morning, a good many years ago, as some lively spirits were ringing the old year out and the New Year in. It was replaced by the present bell.”


St. Croix Courier
Feb 23/1939
Shire town Items—They Rang the Old Town Bell!
Hear the loud alarum bell!
‘Tis to tell, not of fire
Leaping higher.
Not of terror and disaster,
Tho’ it makes the heart beat faster,
But its clanging from the steeple
Is to notify the people
That the Senators have won!
In the frosty air of night,
How it rang out its delight!
How it tried so hard to speak,
But could only shout, and shriek
Out the story and the glory
Of the vict’ry of our boys;
And the joys and the noise
Of the fans, so much affected
By results so unexpected!
It made our hearts within us swell,
Roused emotions none would quell,
To hear the clamor and the clangor
Of the bell!


St. Croix Courier
Sept 21/1939
Shiretown Items—The Old Town Bell. What a kitchen is without a clock, St. Andrews is without the told town bell. Citizens have become so accustomed to its regular ringing that the day passes very unsatisfactorily without it. it is not that one any longer depends upon it for calls to labour or refreshment, but just because it is an old custom one certainly does miss it. The wooden wheel to which the bell-rope was attached had rotted out after many years of service and broke down one day lat week. A new wheel is being made by Nelson Pye, who also made the one which is being replaced. The present bell is the second one of the town, and was made by the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, Md. It was bought by Mr. Foster for $144.50 and was hung on the 17th of December, 1879. It weighs 426 lb s. The bell-ringers from that time on were Michael Cloney, King Coole, Sandy Donald, David Keezer, William Campbell, Daniel Byrne, John S. Magee, Fred Craig, and Herbert Greenlaw, the present ringer who has rung the old bell for twenty-nine years. The minutes of the Town Council show that for two or three weeks during the summer of 1904 the ringing of the town bell was discontinued owing to the serious illness of a guest at Kennedy’s Hotel. The bell of the Anglican Church rang out the customary calls and was to serve as a fire-alarm as well, but fortunately was not needed in that capacity. In the old days the bell was rung at 6 o’clock to end the days’ work, instead of at 5 o’clock as now. One of the ringers of those old but not forgotten days caused quite a commotion one bleak November night. He rang the bell as usual at six o’clock after which he went home to lie down for a nap. He awoke at 5 to 7, and because of the darkness thought he had slept the night through. He rushed down and rang the bell again for 7 o’clock, but before he got away from the premises had the whole fire department there inquiring where the fire was!


St. Croix Courier
April 9, 1942
Shiretown Items
Who Knows?
Reference was made in an item recently about the burning of the old armoury here and the making of rings from the armoury bell which was melted down for that purpose. I have located two or those rings and have seen one of them—formerly the property of the late Thomas Stinson. It is a signet ring with a heart shaped signet. The other ring was worn by the late Sarah Heenan and is now I am told in the possession of Mrs. Marshall. I have as yet been unable to find out where the armoury was situated or in what year it burned.


St. Croix Courier
May 14/1942
Shiretown Items
The Old Town Bell
I have not only found out where the old armoury was situated but have a picture of it. Bell-tower and all. Am going to get a copy of the picture made to send in for the Courier. The present bell has been ringing out its calls from refreshment to labour and from labour to refreshment again since the year 1876. The ringing of the bell is one of the institutions of this quaint old town. It is doubtful if a similar custom prevails anywhere else in Canada. About 85 years ago an up-to-date alderman proposed putting in a clock and dispensing with the bell except for fire alarms. But others on the Board with more sentiment for St. Andrews soon disposed of his well meant but, to some, almost criminal proposal. Following is my personal tribute to my lifelong friend, Herbert Greenlaw, the present bell-ringer:


The Bell Ringer
Have you ever thought
As you lie in your bed
So snugly ticked in
From your toes to your head,
Of the man who turns out
Without any talk
To ring the town bell
At seven o’clock!


In all kinds of weather
Each day he must go
In the sunshine of summer
Or winter’s cold snow
To send us a message
That all is still well
When we hear him ringing
The old town bell.


Week in and week out
At morn, noon and night
His message of cheer
Keeps our little world bright.
So here’s to the bell-ringer,
Health and good cheer!
May he still ring the bell
For many a year!


St. Croix Courier
July 16, 1942
Shiretown Items
An unadvertised air-raid warning last Friday evening about 9:30 took everybody unawares and of course they all did exactly the wrong thing. Everyone who was not already on the street got there as quickly as possible and made for the business section to find out where the fire was. One bomb would have been sufficient to destroy practically the entire population. The error was due to the fact that the signal adopted for air-raids is exactly the same as has been used for bad fires. A change should be made so people will not again be misled. Why not return to the old town bell for fire alarms for the duration?


St. Croix Courier
January 27, 1944
Shiretown Items
Lady Bell Ringer
For the first time in the history of the town we have an official lady bell-ringer. But whether it is Elizabeth Mallory or Wilma Halliday is difficult to determine. Do they do it separately, jointly or severally? It seems a pretty heavy job for one slight female. The only other instance of one of the fair sex ringing the old town bell that I can recall is when Edna Clinch rang it for Oby Conley’s fire. Remember that Edna? Here are the present circumstances. The bell-ringer Herb Greenlaw is taken sick. He notifies Frank Mallory, Town Clerk to engage a substitute as the old bell must ring out its message four times a day as usual. Norman Johnson, the Town Marshal, undertakes to do the ringing at 7 am and 1 pm, if Mr Mallory will look after 12 and 5 o’clock until a regular substitute can be engaged. Mr. Mallory, who is also County Secretary gets tied up at the Council meetings so his office girls, feeling that the show must go on try their hand at the bell rope! It all goes to show how much the old town bell means to us all and how ready the folks living in a small community are to step into the breach in times of trouble and carry on. Mr. Greenlaw has been taken to the hospital for a serious operation and it is the hope of everyone that he may pull safely through, be completely restored to health and sooner or later be back once more on the job he has carried on so faithfully for many years.


St. Croix Courier
May 11, 1944
Shiretown Items
At the regular meeting of Kiwanis Club last week the speaker was F. L. Mallory, a member of the club, who gave an interesting sketch of town affairs from the time of incorporation in 1903 till the year 1907. Prior to the holding of a plebiscite on the boundaries of the town were raised by Sheriff R. A. Stuart. As laid out at that time they concluded Minister’s Island and the Van Horne estate. However at the request of Sir William the island was left outside except for school purposes. Of the first board of aldermen elected A. B. O’Neill is the only one still living. When the first s school board was appointed A. B. O’Neill was one of the members and has served continually every since, a fine record of over forty years of public service. I his inaugural address Mayor Snodgrass expressed the hope that sewers might e installed in the town. It was not until 1912 however that after nine years of discussion for an against, bonds were issued and a partial system of sewers laid. The first town clerk, E. B. Pulleys, was paid $50 a year. The first marshal, Robert Worrell, [probably father of Fred Worrell, I know his name was Robert] received $200 per annum, providing that he collected that much in fines under the Scott Act—no fines, no salary! First board of assessors were J. A. Shirley, T. A. Hart, D. C. Rollins, J. S. Magee bell ringer, and F. H. Grimmer, town treasurer at $00 a year. In the summer of 1904 the ringing of the town bell was discontinued for three weeks owing to the illness of a guest at Kennedy’s hotel. During this period the bell of the Anglican church was substituted and four times each day its soft musical tones could be heard calling the workmen to labour and refreshment, and from refreshment to labour again.


St. Croix Courier
May 17, 1945
Shiretown Items
Celebrating Victory
St. Andrews took two days off from regular labours to celebrate the victory in Europe. On Monday afternoon flags and streamers began to appear all over town as a signal of public rejoicing. All through the night the old town bell rang out its joyful notes at frequent intervals and the fire siren sounded is mournful wails. Exuberant youths and oldsters with no less enthusiasm succeeded in keeping the townspeople awake most of the night. On Tuesday morning a service of Thanksgiving held in the Anglican church was largely attended. In he afternoon a parade headed by Tracy Johnston, our local comedian, in costume and with an effigy of Hitler dragging by the neck, made a circuit of the town. Tracy was followed by a band made up of representatives of at least three generations of bandsmen—boys in the vigor of youth, men in the prime of life, and old fellows with their bald heads and false teeth were in there blowing their heads off, mostly local talent, but one from Deer Island, one from St. Stephen and one from as far away as Boston. They made a big noise and besides the regular selections of band music played “jam sessions” including everting from “Tipperary” to “How Dry I Am.” The band was followed by the veterans of the first World War—after them came the High School Cadets in uniform, next the girl Guides and strung-out for miles behind were gaily decorated cars containing civilians. After circulating about the town for an hour a halt was made at the public square where hundred of people were assembled. The band played a few more selections and Tracy after a suitably vituperative address touched a match to the already much hanged Hitler, and whether from the quality of oil which the assassin had used in saturating the body or from the vile and stinking life the victim had led, the fume arising from the effigy stank in a manner capable of offending the most hardened nostrils. After this exhibition a couple of hours were spent in holding foot races for the children. In the evening another band concert and fireworks were enjoyed, and then a dance lasting well beyond midnight. Wednesday was spent mostly in recuperating but in the evening the same conglomerate band played again for an hour, their program being interspersed with songs by the children. Altogether it was “a great two days” and long to be remembered.


St. Croix Courier
August 9, 1945
Shiretown Items
The Town Bell
For the past few weeks the town bell has been ringing at 8 o’clock in the morning instead of at 7 as formerly. The idea has met with approval of all residents and it seems strange that no one ever thought of it before. It is several years now since anyone has been going to work at 7 o’clock, except during the ship-yard days, and that early bell has been a grievance of guests at Kennedy’s Hotel for a long time. In the old days, when the workmen laboured 10 hours a day, the bell rang at 7, 12, 1 and 6. When the 9 hour day was introduced the afternoon bell was rung at 5. The eight hour day has been in force for some years but the bell kept ringing as usual at 7 am, acting as a sort of alarm clock. Most of us like it for that reason but nevertheless agree that the 8 o’clock ringing is more sensible as it no longer deprives our summer guests of that last delightful and restful hours’ sleep.


St. Croix Courier
April 27/1967
Town Bell Ringing Again, though tourists may not appreciate the 8 am session.