The old Jackson Fire Company No. 1 fire bell.

On May 1, 1839, a group of citizens met at the home of Charles Henry Manship and organized Jackson Fire Company No. 1, the first volunteer fire company in the young city of Jackson.  The company’s motto was “always ready.”  Two fire engines were soon purchased, and in 1852 the Legislature appropriated funds to construct an engine house on the north end of Capitol Square.  After completion of the fire house, the city purchased a large new bell to replace the old bell which was too small to be heard beyond the downtown area.  Manufactured in Troy, New York in 1854, this bell served as the fire bell for the Jackson Fire Company No. 1 for many years.  The bell was used not only to warn of fires, but also to alert the city of important events.  In 1861, the bell rang out when Mississippi seceded from the Union.  The bell was in active use until the fire alarm came into vogue in the early 1890s, and was no longer needed.  In 1894, members of Jackson Fire Company No. 1 unanimously voted to present the bell to Charles Henry Manship, the last living member of the original fire company.  The bell was installed on the Old Capitol grounds for a number of years, and was again used to signal special events such as the end of World War I.  On November 12, 1918, the Daily Clarion-Ledger reported that the people of Jackson spent the entire day celebrating the end of war:

...The blowing of the whistles and ringing of the bells, the locomotives having joined in, made sleep impossible.  Nobody wanted to sleep, and before day light, the “Manship girls,” had reached the old capitol and began furious ringing of the “Liberty Bell,” that hangs in front of the restored old capitol, and which was presented to their father by the old volunteer fire department over twenty-five years ago…

Some years later, the bell was placed on a large pedestal on the south lawn of the Manship House, and was moved to its present location behind the Manship House during the 1980 restoration.

Source: McCain, William D. The Story of Jackson. (A History of the Capital of Mississippi, 1821-1951). Jackson, Mississippi: J. F. Hyer Publishing Company, 1953.