Tuesday, June 5, 2012

   Thanks to John Davis for this great photograph looking out over Mary & Ray's House.
John climbed up the steeple to investigate the history of our church bell, as it has been an oral tradition at Olivet that the bell was once on a ship. The only way to know for sure was to see if there was an inscription on the bell. John said he would be willing to climb up and look.
   When he got up there, he read that the bell was from Morgan Iron Works, and listed as having been a bell used on a steamboat called Ferryboat Rhine dating to 1852. It is 60 years older than the church building! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One day recently someone remarked that they heard in their family lore that Olivet church’s bell had once been on a ferryboat, and being the curious type of people that we are, we began to investigate and research this issue of the bell. Our own John Davis climbed the bell tower and retrieved the information inscribed on the bell and took pictures of this bell. It seems the lore was in fact correct. This wonderful bell of Olivet church was once mounted on the deck of a ferry boat named The Rhine that was originally built on the Hudson River in New York in the year 1852. We are looking for all the information and pictures we can gather on the Rhine’s history. Our local historian Chandler has really got some stuff to research now. Everyone loves a good story and this is a good story. It seems the Rhine served as a ferry boat on the Hudson River for many years, and was retired after the railroad took over a lot of her duties. She was eventually bought by someone from Solomon’s Island, was brought down here and continued to serve as a ferry boat for some time. It is our understanding she was used to ferry people and goods around this area and may have also ran from here to Baltimore. At some point she was retired again, as she was worn out from all those years of service. She was scraped. This part is still being researched. Part of the story says her bell was once on a local school house. Olivet church was built in 1912 and we don’t know when the bell became a part of Olivet. We will learn more as we dig into this mystery, but this much we do know. A ferry boat that was built on the Hudson River in 1852 has become a real rich part of Olivet churches history. We will no longer be able hear our bell toll and not be reminded of the ferry boat Rhine. As the bell tolls we can close our eyes and almost see that big ferry boat as she rounds the bend in the river and announces her arrival. DONG! DONG! DONG! The ferry boat Rhine is long since gone, but a part of her still lives on. The part of her that made the most noise still lives on. Her bell is still being used in pretty much the same way. Olivet church is using Rhine’s bell to call her people together. To tell the community that God has opened His doors, and all are welcome. Rhine’s bell is being used on many different occasions. Weddings, funerals and all kinds of special events. Rhine’s bell is 160 years old. You could say that God has found a good use for Rhine’s bell and is keeping her in service. Olivet’s bell will be forever known to me as Rhine’s bell and may she forever ring. By Bob Watson June 11, 2012