Botetourt County History: Original courthouse bell from 1773

Submitted Photo

This bell is in the Courthouse Room of the Botetourt County Historical Society Museum. It hung in the original log courthouse that was built in Fincastle in 1773 after Botetourt became a county in 1770. Made of bronze and partly hand forged it was probably cast at Taylor Iron Works on Catawba Creek at the mouth of Lee’s Branch about five miles north of Fincastle. The cabinet in which the bell is encased was made by B.M. Phelps in his 90th year and donated to the museum. When the third Botetourt County Courthouse burned in 1970, its bell fell into the basement. As New Year’s Eve approached, this bell was taken from the museum and placed on a scaffold in front of the Clerk’s Office, which was still standing. As Marcia Neighbors remembers, the Christmas lights shone during a snowstorm but the Fincastle church bells rang as they did every New Year’s Eve. This bell was hit with a mallet so as to not damage the clapper exactly at midnight. The next day this bell was returned to the museum for all to see.



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