William Hurry is generally accepted by historians to be the man who rang the Liberty Bell when Independence was declared although he wasn't the official keeper of the House until March 4, 1777.  Andrew McNair, the official keeper of the House in 1776 is believed to have been away from his job on July 8, when the bell tolled signaling the Declaration of Independence has been signed.


The argument for William Hurry  as the bell ringer comes from the records at  Old Pine St. Church.  William Hurry attended this church and later a story of him ringing the Liberty Bell at the Declaration of Independence was told.  It wasn't until years later that his gravestone was uncovered in the old church yard

By William Birch & Son. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Not everyone agreed that William Hurry was the bellringer calling people the day the Declaration of Independence was read.  In July 1908,  Clarence P. Wynne made a plea to the Philadelphia Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution that Andrew McNair was actually the bellringer.  However, McNair has not been accepted by historians as the bellringer on that date despite his position as doorkeeper at the time.


William Hurry was the primary doorkeeper and ringer of the Liberty Bell beginning in March 4, 1777 until near his death.  William's son-in-law Joseph Fry succeeded him as doorkeeper of the State House.

Source: New York Observer, Vol. 83 P. 123

WIlliam Hurrie/Hurry's Gravestone at

Old Pine Cemetery Philadelphia, PA


Judge Klinefelter, 3G Grandson of William Hurry, signs

the register at the Freedom Train in 1948

Stories of Descendants of William Hurry


Ring, Papa, Ring! The Story of an American Family

Hodge: Descendants see Liberty Bell

Inglis: Ancestor Rang Liberty Bell

Kircher: Ancestor Rang Libery Bell

Peebles: Bellman's Grandson to Greet Old Relic

Peebles: Bell Tolled by his Forefather

Peebles: Ancestor Rang Liberty Bell

Peebles: Direct Descendant of Bellringer

Peebles: Ringers Kin to See Liberty Bell

Thomson: Six Descendants of Hurry  to see Liberty Bell

Thomson: Six Descendants Coming

Thomson: 1948 Freedom Train

Thomson: Liberty Bell Ringer's Descendants Visit Freedom Train

Thomson: History Rang 'Oer the Plains



Unproven Claims of Relationship to William Hurry


Hurry of KC: Believes he descends from Wm Hurry

Hurrey Stentz: Claims relationship to William Hurry

Herbert Threadgill Hurrie: Claims relationship to Wm. Hurry

Moses: Relative of William Hurry, Old Roads Out of Philadelphia

King: Claims Wm Hurrie as Great-great Grand Uncle



 William Hurry  Bellringer Controversy


The Real Story of the Liberty Bell  [part 1]  [part 2]

Attack on Traditions


Found on Newspapers.com

Copyright L. Thomson 2017  -  All Rights Reserved