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Ringing the Bell; July 4, 1868

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Samuel E. Pond (1809-1877) Lot 1

Samuel Howard (1826-1883) Lot 40

Samuel Pond (1809-1877) was a well-known and successful farmer. He purchased the old Everett house which stood near what is today Saunders Road (and the Sunrise Assisted Living facility). A well-respected member of the community, Pond represented South Dedham on the Dedham Board of Selectmen prior to Norwood’s independence.

Samuel Howard (1826-1883) in Dedham. Samuel Howard had been born and raised in Malden. Their only child, Nellie May Howard was born in 1865. By 1880, Samuel, who had worked in the Everett furniture factory, had become a railroad station agent; he also was a village constable for a time

Both men played a role in an historic tale of an incident leading up to Norwood’s separation from Dedham. Newspaperman Win Everett told the story in his Tales of Tyot series. He titled it “The Liberty Bell of Tyot Shall Not Ring Out Tonight.”

Bells being installed during the 1928 Town Hall construction.

Washington No. 7 bell as it has hung among the Tilton Carillon bells since 1928. Soon to be removed and put on public display.

It had been customary for members of South Dedham’s first fire house, Washington No. 7 (later Norwood No. 1), located on Washington Street near today’s St. Catherine’s School Hall, to ring their fire bell on the Fourth of July each year. For some reason, however, the Selectmen in Dedham decided that the bell could not be rung on July 4 of 1868.

Engine No 7 From 1858 South Dedham Walling Map

Sam Pond, South Dedham’s representative on that Board, was not in attendance at that meeting. Taking advantage of that fact, when July 4 came, a few of the volunteer firefighters asked a distracted Sam Pond whether they could ring the bell. Unaware of the vote, he allowed the bell to be rung on July 4, 1868.

Sam Howard, who lived at the corner of Howard and Washington Streets, across from Old Parish Cemetery, heard the ringing loud and clear. An assistant fire engineer in the Washington No. 7 Company, Howard was also a constable. And, more importantly, he had heard about the selectmen’s vote. Howard headed to the station to try to stop the ringing but arrived too late. South Dedham’s bell had rung out loud and clear in defiance of Dedham’s order. It was one more rift in relationship between village and town.

Less than four years later, on February 23, 1872, South Dedham became the independent town of Norwood. And the bell rang joyously once again.

Samuel Elliot Pond

Samuel Pond became one of the town’s first three selectmen, in fact, chairman of the board. He continued on the Select Board until his death on September 13, 1877 at the age of 68. Elliot Street, which extends from Walpole Street to Nichols Street, was named after Samuel Elliot Pond.

Samuel Howard had been born and raised in Malden. He married Ellen Guild of South Dedham and he worked in the Everett furniture factory until it was destroyed by fire. He then became a railroad station agent in addition to his duties as village constable. for a time. Ellen was a dressmaker. Howard died on September 11, 1883 after a fall from staging while working on a house.

Both men are buried in Old Parish Cemetery as are a few other men who were volunteers at Washington No. 7 during 1868 and likely witnessed the ringing of Tiot’s “Liberty Bell”: William H. Gay (lot 23), E. Fisher Talbot (lot 67), Alvin Ellis (lot 112), Charles Bailey (lot 30),and Sumner Ellis (lot 78).

Samuel Elliot & Vina Pond

Sumner Ellis

Alvin Ellis and Family

Charles Bailey and Family

William Henry Gay & Family

Ebenezer Fisher Talbot

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