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Letter to the editor: Article on town clocks sparked memories, appreciation

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Posted on September 2, 2018 |
By Karl E. Moyer



How good to read Rachel Cohen's article about clock winders and town clocks in church towers in the August 23 Arts + Leisure section. 

Quite a few years ago I recorded half of a professional CD of organ music on that small but incredibly fine 1865 E & G G Hook pipe organ in First Congregation Church in Orwell. In the process, I learned a thing or two when I requested that the clock in the church tower not strike the hour during recording sessions. The clock turned out to be property of the town, not of the church, and my request needed to go to the town office, not to the church official board. 

This led, in turn, to some widespread education about 19th-century New England ways. Folks all across America read the liner notes to this CD, including my acknowledgement with gratitude to the Town of Orwell for permission to silence the town clock atop the church building while recording. I have often regretted my failure to have included a recording on that CD of the clock striking the hour. 

In 1882 Mrs. Sally Young of Orwell offered to donate a clock for the church tower, to be the property of the town, along with a bell to the church but to be struck by the clock’s mechanisms. The bell is inscribed “Jan. 1, 1883.” Clock and bell remain in place, with a rope also attached as usual for ringing the bell at other times. 

Dr. Karl E. Moyer

Lancaster, Pa.

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