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Locals mark Civil War surrender with ringing of bells

By Staff | Apr 14, 2015

PHOTO BY BARB BARRETT/The Luminary A ringing of the bells took place at the East Lycoming Historical museum in Hughesville on Thursday afternoon, April 9. (Left to right): Carolyn Swartz; Carol Mordan; George Walters with sons, Andrew, Silas, Noah and James; Ann McMahon, Robert Ferrell, Erma Bower and Sharon Hughes. Also in attendance were Vincent Swartz, Charles Hughes and Barbara Barrett.

HUGHESVILLE – It was a most memorable time, 150 years ago on April 9, 1865 when Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and set the terms of a surrender truce in a small town of Appomattox, Virginia.

Joining the major event that day in this historic town, communities all across the nation rang bells exactly at 3:15 on April 9, 2015 to coincide with the national commemoration.

Members of the East Lycoming Historical Society were ready with bells and lined up in front of the museum located at 66 S. Main Street in Hughesville. They rang the bells for four minutes consecutively which symbolized each year the Civil War was fought. Meanwhile the church bells of Hughesville’s churches also rang.

Before the ringing of the bells, at 3 p.m. Erma Bower, President of the East Lycoming Historical Society read a passage from Carl Sandburg’s book, “The Praire Years and the War Years” that described Abraham Lincoln’s role in the surrender of Lee’s army. She told participants that “We (ELHS) always honor soldiers in cemeteries and local church grounds.”

The terms for the final surrender were set that day in 1865. The bells rang first in Appomattox at 3 p.m. then across the country at 3:15.

On Thursday, April 9th at 3:15 Charles Hughes rings the bell from the former Bryantown Woolen Mill at the East Lycoming Historical Society in remembrance of the surrender truce at Appomattox, VA.

This signified much reconciliation and reconstruction; however, there is a continuing struggle for civil rights. Bower read, “When General Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, emotions were running high. Confederate flags were waived as Lincoln spoke briefly of congratulations and a formal celebration was planned.”