The citizens of Delhi, Iowa commissioned the Jones & Co Foundry of Troy, N.Y. to cast a
Bronze Bell to honor President James A. Garfield who was assassinated in 1881 by Charles J.
Jones and Co. did business as the Troy Bell Foundry from 1852 to 1887. They were one of four
nationally known bell foundries in the Troy, New York area.
The bell was cast in the old Troy, N.Y. foundry by Jones and Co. in November of 1881. The bell
weighed 625 pounds and the wooden oak frame had an additional weight of 200 pounds for a
total combined weight of 825 pounds.
The new bell was named “The Garfield Bell” in honor of President Garfield
The inscription on the front of the bell reads: “In memory of a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,
our Beloved President James A. Garfield, 1881”. The inscription on the opposite side of the bell
reads: “A voice has gone before every great achievement in the history of the world.”
Prices of Bells. ( Quote from Jones & Co. Foundry circular ) Owing to the constant
fluctuations in the price of metals on which the price of Bells depends, no uniform rate can be
printed in a circular at which they will continue to be sold, but all inquiries from those desiring to
purchase will be promptly responded to, and the lowest rates given. "JONES & CO., Troy, N. Y."
Click to view Jones & Co. Foundry circular & Starksboro, Vermont quotes
FYI: Although the original receipt is not available, I found two price quotes from Jones & Co ~
Troy Bell Foundry to the Starksboro Village Meeting House in Starksboro, Vermont, dated Jan.
8, 1867 and Oct. 7, 1868. The 1867 quote for a church bell was for 44 cents per pound. The 1868
quote was for 37.5 cents per pound. The cost of mounting the bell to the wooden oak frame and
iron stands or uprights for supporting the bell is an additional cost of $32.00.
Using the lower figure of 37.5 cents the “Garfield Bell” would have cost $234.38 plus $32.00 for
wooden frame and iron stands and mounting if purchased in 1868. Our bell was purchased 13
years later so it would most likely be somewhat higher. Estimated cost $266.38 plus any shipping
charges. (Using the dollar value of 2013 that bell would cost approximately $6000.00)
The funds for the new bronze bell were raised by Delhi citizens, by public subscription.
(To pledge, as by signing an agreement, to give or pay (a sum of money) as a contribution or gift.
Raising the funds for this project in 1881 was a huge undertaking for the citizens of Delhi, Iowa
Once “The Garfield Bell” arrived in Delhi it was placed in the belfry of the Delhi Baptist Church.
In 1913 the Baptist Society was disbanded in Delhi. Their church building, the bell and all the
churches equipment were put up for sale.
The West Union Baptist Church purchased “The Garfield Bell” for a sum of $180.00.
The Sale of “The Garfield Bell” was not received favorable by many Delhi residents.
Delhi residents felt that the bell originally purchased by Delhi citizens, by public subscription,
should remain the property of Delhi and many residents were determined to see that “The
Garfield Bell” would remain the property of Delhi.
Since the bell had been sold to the West Union Baptist Church it was crated and prepared for
shipment and delivered to the Milwaukee railroad station for shipment to West Union.
However, sometime before “The Garfield Bell” was shipped, it vanished from the Milwaukee
railroad stations dock.
The bells’ vanishing remains a mystery to this day. Legend has it that some “good fairies” of
Delhi spirited the bell away and kept its location a closely guarded secret. One rumor says it was
hidden in Silver Lake, another said it was hidden under the hay in someone’s barn, yet another
rumor said it was hidden beneath the grain in a farm grain bin. Wherever it was hidden it was not
to be found. Although I don’t think efforts to find it were in earnest!
During the bells “VANISHING” period Tom Simons took up the matter of the sale with the West
Union Baptist Church. He skillfully negotiated a deal for “The Garfield Bell” to remain the
property of Delhi, “providing it should be found.”
Tom Simons never revealed the details or if he paid a price to close the deal with the West Union
Baptist Church but he did secure ownership of “The Garfield Bell” for Delhi, Iowa
Note: Keep in mind the original price the West Union Baptist Church paid was $180.00. How
much would that be today? Well, in 1913 you could buy as much with a dollar as you can with
$22 in 2013. ( So it was about a $3960.00 deal )
Several weeks later, on a Sunday morning, in 1913 “The Garfield Bell”, was found resting on the
steps of the Delhi Methodist Church.
Mr. Simons & the Citizens of Delhi had gifted “The Garfield Bell” to the Delhi Methodist Church
on the condition the Bell would remain the property of the citizens of Delhi Iowa.
The Bell and condition was accepted by the Delhi United Methodist Church Trustees on
November 29, 1913 and with the blessings of Mr. Simons & the Delhi citizens the bell was placed
in the church belfry replacing the old original bell purchased in 1863 for $75.00.
Note: Tom Simons was the Delhi United Methodist Church Trustee Secretary in 1913.
The Methodist Church Trustees in turn donated the old original Methodist Bell purchased in
1868 to St. John’s parish in Delhi.
1983-84: Remodeling of the Delhi United Methodist Church began in October of 1983 and was
completed in March of 1984. Both the interior and exterior of the church received major
remodeling. The sanctuary was turned from facing west to facing east and the belfry was
removed because of its poor condition.
During this remodeling “The Garfield Bell” was removed from the Church Belfry and placed in
the present Bell Tower. It was electrified to ring remotely from within the church.
“The Garfield Bell” was commissioned in 1881 by the citizens of Delhi Iowa and has been at the
Delhi United Methodist Church since 1913.
The year, 2013, will mark 100 years of “The Garfield Bell” Ringing in Sunday Morning Services
at the Delhi United Methodist Church
Today’s value of a bronze church bell is estimated at $6000.00 and up. A bronze church bell
honoring President James A. Garfield would be valued substantially higher.
But to The Delhi United Methodist Church and the Citizens of Delhi “The Garfield Bell” is
Delhi United Methodist Church
|The Delhi United Methodist Church's “Garfield Bell" Story
|James A. Garfield Short Profile
James A. Garfield was the 20th president of the United
States. Born on November 19, 1831, in Cuyahoga
County, Ohio. As a Republican he worked in Congress
for many years before winning the presidency in 1881
by just 10,000 popular votes. Garfield was known for
fighting political corruption, but his career ended
abruptly when an embittered attorney shot him on July
2, 1881. Garfield survived until September 19, 1881,
when he succumbed to his injuries. He served just 200
days during his presidential tenure.
Click Here to Read More on
President James A. Garfield
|Click Pictures to Enlarge