Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday – It’s Women Who Carried on the Bell-Ringing Tradition

A few years ago we drove to Coldwater, Michigan in search of my husband’s Cutter line, specifically the family of Stephen Starr Cutter. 

Our search brought us into the Buggie family as Stephen Starr Cutter’s daughter Mary Estabrook Cutter married John H. Buggie on 28 October 1880. 

Mary E. Cutter and John H. Buggie had two children: Frederick Starr Buggie (b: Nov. 1881) and Mariette Buggie (b: 20 Dec 1883; d: 5 Oct 1909).

Frederick Starr Buggie married Mary Margaret Campbell and they had one daughter, who they named Mariet (b: 1911) most probably named for Frederick’s sister, Mariette who died in 1909.  It is this Mariet that my hubby recently researched and found some very fun information.

According to a May 11, 1967 article in the Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel, Mariet Margaret Buggie Moffat was appointed the first woman to ring the Ipswick (Massachusetts) Curfew Bell in 333 years because no man wanted the job.  Apparently it was interfering with television time.

She volunteered to ring the bells, located at the Methodist Church two miles from her home, 21 times every night of the year at 9:00 p.m. in rain, snow, heat, in sickness and in health (kind of like being married!)

Being an organized woman, Mariet formed an association of bell ringers, consisting of people who lived near the church that could ring the bells when she couldn’t make it.

The practice began in 1634 when the Puritans wanted to alert the community that it was time to put out the lights and go to bed, as there was always much work to be done the next day.

And for this dedicated service, Mariet was paid $250 a year.  Thank you, Mariet, for carrying on the tradition. 

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