The Story of the "Bell" at Dorchester Academy

The Midway Congregational Church bell played a very important role in the lives of Dorchester Academy students. It kept time by ringing with an echo that could be heard seven to ten miles away. The bell rang every day at six, seven, eight, nine, twelve, and three o'clock. The six o'clock bell awoke campus residents and marked a start time for area students walking to school. The breakfast bell rang at seven o'clock. The eight o'clock bell signaled the start of classes. When the ringing stopped, all students had to be inside the building. The bell ringer would extend the rings if he saw kids hurrying down the road. Often, students who walked to school would literally be saved by the bell. The nine o'clock ringing meant that all classes had started and those who were late would not be allowed to attend school that day. The lunch bell rang at twelve o'clock, and the three o'clock bell dismissed pupils from school for the day.

The African American members of the Midway Congregational Church broke away to form their own church in 1872 and later build their own church in 1894. It was at their request that Dorchester Academy developed. The American Missionary Association supports both the school and church for a time. This connection is why the church bell was used by Dorchester Academy.

Brected in 2004 by the City of Flemington.