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A peal at last: Jonesville cemetery to install bell

Residents and visitors to Jonesville may hear the ringing of the old Grace Episcopal Church bell once again when the Jonesville Cemetery Association installs the bell in the cemetery this summer.

The bell is a significant contribution to the cemetery, said Ed Hughes, vice president of the Jonesville Cemetery Association in thanking the Clifton Park Town Board for permitting the bell's display in the cemetery.

In honor of the bell's 125th anniversary, the Town Board voted unanimously Monday, May 5, to permanently display the bronze bell in the Jonesville Cemetery located on Ushers Road.

The association met with the Town Board several times since October to advocate for placing the bell in the cemetery.

Built in 1883, the bell was a gift from the Chorister Boys of Christ Church in Ballston Spa.

"To have this bell in the town of Clifton Park is an honor to us," said Supervisor Phil Barrett before voting to display the bell in the cemetery.

Inscribed in the bronze bell is the phrase, "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men."

Constructed by the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Co. in Troy, the bell moved to Charlton after the closure of Grace Episcopal in 1968, when the Rev. Leon Cartmell, pastor of Burnt Hills Episcopal Church acquired it.

Cartmell had the bell installed at the Mission House in Charlton, where it stayed until 1982, when the Charlton Historical Society obtained it.

When Clifton Park Town Historian John Scherer learned of the bell's whereabouts, he arranged to have it brought back to Clifton Park, where it remained tucked away in a barn.

Hughes noted on several occasions in presentations to the Town Board that the bell should be rung at least twice a day, at noon and 6 p.m. He also said the bell could be rung during funerals.

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