Bell Ringing Ban On July 4 Factor in Town’s Independence

Washington Number 7 Fire House

From the close of the Civil War, 1865, to the incorporation of the Town of Norwood, 1872, there was a temporary slump and depression in its business and mental attitude to life.

Its causes: the aftermath of the war, dead husbands and sons the burning of the Everett furniture factory the town’s largest industry, in 1865 and the loss of its normal 300-man payroll in good times; the loss of many of these citizens by removal to other towns and jobs; and the growing intensity of the friction and feud with the mother town of Dedham Village which had existed from December 28. 1734, when South Dedham Parish was established and the Village church lost its taxes and members.

The movement for the formation of a new town was started in the latter part of 1871, when there had arisen a widespread dissatisfaction among the people of South Dedham at the treatment which that village was receiving from the mother town.

The special gripe, by Tiot (So. Dedham) was the defeat at a special town meeting of a proposition to establish a high school in Norwood. In consequence of this feeling, a petition was sent to the legislature signed by about six-sevenths of the voters asking for the division of the town and the incorporation of South Dedham as a separate town.

To the late J. Warren Talbot more than any other man belongs the credit, for the inception and success of this movement. Subsequently, a public meeting was held to select a name for the proposed town. Several were suggested, but a ballot resulted in the choice of “Norwood”.

‘The new town will have 315 votes, of which 271 have petitioned to be set off. The proposed town will have an area of l0 3/4 square miles or 6,800 acres embracing two school districts and a part of a third, while the whole area of Dedham Is about 30 square miles. The total valuation of the town including bank stock is $6,215,000.

J. Warren Talbot could have added that the straw which broke the back of So. Dedham was the refusal by the Dedham selectmen to allow So. Dedham to ring the “America” No. 7 fire-house bell at sunrise, July 4, 1871. This was a traditional privilege. So. Dedham rebelled and the bell was rung plenty. The selectmen threatened to punish the firemen but the Tiot townsmen rose in mass protest and the matter was dropped. But the sting rankled and was a factor in the final petition.

Source: Official Commemoration and Chronicle 100th Anniversary Norwood Massachusetts

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