Countywide bell-ringing to observe Clay anniversary

CELINA – The Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) has set a bell-ringing event on Tuesday, June 16, based at the historic courthouse in Celina, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the formation of Clay County.

June 16 is the date in 1870 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed an act to form Clay County from parts of Overton and Jackson counties.

A spokesperson for the HPC said the group hopes the ringing of the bell at the courthouse will just be one of hundreds of bell ringings and other means of recognizing the county’s anniversary from one end of the county to the other.

“We aren’t planning a mass gathering at the courthouse, in keeping with the social-distancing that’s now in place,” the spokesperson said. “This is a way for our county residents to mark the occasion at their own homes, businesses and communities.”

At 5 p.m., the bell will be rung at the courthouse in the hopes that other bells, horns and noisemakers will be sounded across the county.

The HPC invites anyone to join in the commemoration promptly at 5 p.m.  

“This will be our collective way of saying happy anniversary to our county and its proud heritage,” the spokesperson said.

The HPC has been overseeing the 150th anniversary, or sesquicentennial, for the past two years, and originally had a week-long celebration set during June. The coronavirus epidemic has changed those plans. The celebration has been postponed until later in the year, as have so many area and nationwide events.

Immediately following the bell-ringing, the Act passed by the state General Assembly in 1870 will be read or broadcast at the courthouse.  

As a prelude to the bell-ringing, from 1-5 p.m. the historic courthouse will be open for self-guided tours of the “Hall of History” on the lower floor. Various music, including some from Clay County artists, will be played during those hours.   

Sesquicentennial merchandise will also be on sale from 1-5 p.m. at the courthouse.  Merchandise includes a limited number of T-shirts, along with a more extensive supply of knives, ornaments, coins, and lapel pins. Unless public demand dictates, no more “150” items will be ordered by the HPC.

At least one book will be published later in the year as part of the “150” celebration.

For more information on the bell-ringing and later 150 events, follow the Chamber of Commerce and Sesquicentennial Facebook pages or visit their websites.

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