Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Garry Bell

This post is dedicated to my friend Brian Huseland who asked me to photograph the Spokane Garry Bell. This history of the bell is engraved on a granite monument that stands in the heart of Chief Lot Cemetery in Wellpinit, Washington. The engraving reads: 

The Story of the Bell

Thomas Garry, the adopted son of Chief Spokane Garry, took care of his father’s bell. Thomas told Sadie, his wife, the history of the bell—how his father received the bell from the original First Presbyterian Church and took it to his cabin on Pleasant Prairie. A whiteman stole his farm. Spokane Garry rescued his bell taking it by horse back to Indian Prairie where he was helped by three friends: William Three-Mountain, Solomon Scott, and Thomas’ brother Tidas Williams, to set up a new church for Christ and the bell. After three years they were forced by whitemen to move again, this time to Spokane River Church. From the rising waters of the Coulee Dam, Thomas fled to Wellpinit with his father’s bell. Now, his wife Sadie has had the bell taken from rusting junk to be polished and placed on this monument as an everlasting memorial to the Garry’s. 

A more complete version of this history appeared in the Spokane Daily Chronicle on July 20, 1973 in an article titled: Historic Garry Bell Part of Indian Memorial Rite

The monument stands on the lower end of the cemetery. 

The story of the bell...

A rusted angel...

Chief Lot's tomb in the late afternoon...

Brian asked me to photograph any engravings or dates on the bell. I didn't see any dates or numbers, but I did see an engraving that presumably had some reference to the manufacturer of the bell. One side reads: "SUTTONBR S&BELL."

The other side reads, "INDIANA PA."

I went back the next day to get 
a better view of the bell at midday. 

Chief Lot's tomb at midday. 
The ancient initials of Jesus appear on the cross. 

The inscription on Chief Lot's gravestone reads: 

In memory of Chief Lot
Died: April 6, 1902

Chief Lot Cemetery

Who, profoundly stirred by the Holy Spirit, went to Washington D.C. with the request: ‘I like a school house.’ Rhode Island Women’s Indian Association heard his prayers from a mission and school for his people and sent Miss Helen Clark. His dream at last fulfilled: ‘My heart is big now.’ Miss Clark said of the Spokanes: ‘—as a whole, they are well behaved and respectable.’

Could any greater compliment be paid to a race?
Dedicated: Oct. 23, 1969

Sadie Boyd Garry 


I do have to admit that being well-behaved and respectable is actually not the highest compliment someone could pay to my race, or any other race. When they called us well-behaved, does that actually mean that we did not resist the settlement of our country by the American masses?

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