The telling bell

Ellen Hagsten, one of the restorers who worked on the Rappahannock County courthouse this summer, at the request of county attorney (and avid historian) Peter Luke, climbed into the belfry to take this photo of the courthouse tower’s bell. Luke says the “1834” cast into the bell corroborates other evidence that the courthouse was built between 1833 (when the county was carved out of Culpeper County) and 1835, and still contains the original bell. Ned and Elizabeth Johnson’s book, “Rappahannock County: A History,” notes that in October 1833 the county borrowed $120 at 6 percent interest for the purchase of a bell. The bell is rung every “term day,” when the grand jury is convened every other month.

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