William Hurrie/Hurry - Ringer of the Liberty Bell
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
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Old Pine Street Church
Old Philadelphia in Early Photographs (mentions WH)
Philadelphia, A Guide to the Nation's Birthplace (mentions WH)
Supporting Records and Articles*
*Many of these articles were included in multiple newspapers.
Judge Klinefelter, 3G Grandson of William Hurry, signs
the register at the Freedom Train in 1948
Stories of Descendants of William Hurry
Unproven Claims of Relationship to William Hurry
William Hurry Bellringer Controversy
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