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Swindle College Bell We Saved the Bell

Swindle College bell is now located at the Wheaton Depot.

Submitted by: Betty Lamberson
Location Wheaton, Barry Co., MO
School Image photo
School Image photo
Details Swindle College School Bell Donors

Cherry Bailey,
Jo Ann Fox Hughes,
Ron and Linda Reed,
Barbara Reed Ammerman,
Patty McWilliams,
Jon Paden,
Colleen Lauderdale Grosvenor,
Jill Paden,
Donald D. Overton,
Donna Haddock Cooper,
Jerry Watley and The Barry County Museum, Cassville, MO
Patty Killion Duncan,
Jim, Molly and Elizabeth Smith,
Ralph and Betty Lamberson.

The bell was purchased in November of 2009 from the Speer Family in Cassville after it was found on Craig's list and was planned to go on E bay Auction if the bell did not sell on Craig's list.

Several descendants of students who attended Swindle College, former students and friends pooled their money to buy the Bell and place it in the Wheaton Depot Museum.

Swindle College was organized about 1882 and was consolidated into Wheaton School in the 1950's.

Betty added this:

A few months later, May of 2010 I was visiting with Joe Ann McMillen Jump a volunteer at the Wheaton Depot Museum, about the acquisition of the Swindle College bell. She asked me why I did not call her about donating money since I knew that she and her sisters had gone to school there. I told her that I tried but she was not at home, and I continued down the list. We reached our goal very quickly so it was not necessary to go back down the list.

She then asked me who we purchased the bell from? I told her we purchased it from the Speer family in Cassville, “I think the father’s name was Wayne Speer?” And - she laughed - and related this story.

Her Father, Gray McMillen, purchased the old Swindle College school building when it was sold, (about 1955?), he moved it down the road a short distance to his farm on Shoal Creek to be used as a barn. Some time later Gray was approached by Wayne Speer about the bell still in the belfry of the old school house. Gray told him that he could have it if he could get it off - so Wayne proceeded and he dismantled the old belfry and took the bell. Joe Ann and her mother were upset at Gray for giving the bell away!

Later Mr. Speer came back to the McMillen farm and purchased the farm from Gray. Mr. Speer had plans to build a new house there. Mrs. Speer had different ideas as she did not want to live there, perhaps too far from her family? So he later sold that farm and they bought a farm south of Exeter where he built the new house. For several years the bell was mounted on a pole and hung in the yard of this new house. And from there Joe Ann lost track of it.

Later in 2009 the Swindle bell came up for auction on Craig’s list and we solicited money from interested persons to purchase the bell from the son and daughter-in-law of Wayne Speer and placed it in the Wheaton Depot Museum.

Joe Ann also related that the old Swindle school house was separated into two parts when it was moved to their farm. As it had the original main part and an addition built on the back. The larger part became the barn and the smaller portion was moved to another part of the McMillen farm to use for hay storage. The smaller part later burned by accident from a brush fire that had gotten out.

Story related to Betty Higgs Lamberson by Joe Ann McMillen Jump on May 19, 2010
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