Hingham Bell Tower Memorial



I have known about The Hingham Bell Tower Memorial for some time, and finally last September I was able to visit it. My research first took me to the town clerk's office to look up the records of the town of Bear Cove. In difference to many that believe that it was actually called Bare Cove. There are Historians that believe Winthrop's Journals which called it Bear Cove which he had visited a few times on his way back and forth to Plymouth from Boston.

I was shocked to find out that the town records for Bear Cove had mysteriously disappeared, and this could have happened anytime in the last two hundred years. The town had a clerk and constable in 1634, and it was also paying taxes as the town of Bear Cove.

Here is the Plaque on the front of the tower.





The Bell Tower itself sits right beside the Old Ship Church which is the oldests still operating Church in New England. Notice the widows that go around the tower on each side. It is said that the struture needs work and was not built to the highest standard.

There used to be a Hobart room on the second floor with furniture and artifacts, but these have been removed. There still are some pictures on the wall and a huge stone that came from Hingham England as a gift exchange for another huge stone from Hingham Massachusetts.

A common misconception among Ralph Historians is that he didn't recieve land until the Rev Hobart allocated him the land on Bachlor street in 1637, but it is known that as many as fifty deeds where granted (in Bear Cove) in 1634 over a year before Rev Hobart came to New England in late 1635. I have found land deeds for other Ralph Smith properties, and I have no doubt Ralph owned lands in 1634 and possibly the year before.

Below is a section of a very large framed document on the wall (inside the Bell Tower) that lists Ralph first among the advanced party. They pioneered the town for the settlers that came years later from Hingham England including the Reverend Peter Hobart who renamed the town.










Upper left is a look out the side window of the Tower and above is an old record of the Tower. To the left is the graveyard behind the Old Ship Church that dates back to the 1600's. The graveyard is quite large with a lot of interesting names. Ralph's first child named Ralph (who died about 1640) maybe buried there, but I really don't know.

Below is a view from behind the Old Ship Church, from inside the graveyard. FS