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A peal at last: Jonesville cemetery to install bell

During his discussions with the Town Board, Hughes provided several justifications for hanging the bell in the Jonesville Cemetery, including more than 20 letters from Jonesville residents urging the town to place the bell in Jonesville.

"Obviously a lot of folks wanted the bell in that area of town," Barrett said.

Hughes, John Davey and Frank Berlin, members of the Jonesville Cemetery Association were all smiles Monday when the board adopted the resolution.

"The bell was well-known by residents of Jonesville who heard it ring for services, weddings and funerals," said Davey, president of the Jonesville Cemetery Association. "My father-in-law, Milton Hatlee, who still lives in Jonesville, used to care for the former church and has been enthusiastic about bringing the bell back to life by returning it to its home."

Now that the Cemetery Association has acquired the bell from the Town Board, they plan to begin fundraising to fix the bell's structure and purchase a ringing mechanism.

Hughes said the association is aiming to raise $18,000 to fund the project, which also includes restoring the cemetery's 1910 fence, which will surround the bell for security.

The association would also like to purchase lighting to ensure the safety of the bell at night in addition to markers and plaques to describe the historical significance of the bell.

The new ringing mechanism would allow the cemetery to ring the bell twice daily and during funerals, Hughes said.

He estimated the electronic ringing mechanism could cost up to $5,000.

"We believe that the structure itself could be up soon," Hughes said during a Town Board meeting Monday, April 21.

Hinman Construction Company will construct the 10-foot bell tower needed to display the bell at no cost to the association, according to Hughes.

He expected that the association would have the bell up by summer's end and ringing no later than springtime next year.

Contributions may be sent to the Jonesville Cemetery Association Project Fund, Jonesville Cemetery Association, c/o Ed Hughes, 28 Beechwood Drive, Clifton Park 12065.""

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