This gentleman, who has the honor of being one of the three Commissioners of Pickaway County, occupies a prominent position in the agricultural community, owning eight hundred and ninety-one acres of land in Circleville, Walnut and Jackson Townships, which has been accumulated through his own persistent efforts and good judgment. In business circles he is influential, his word being considered as good as his bond.


He of whom we write was born in Walnut Township, this county, August 22, 1830. He is therefore acquainted with the gradual evolution of this section from the original wild state of the land to its present prosperous air of rural life. His father, William Bell, was born in Ireland, August 13, 1802, and emigrated to America with his father, James Bell, about 1807. The latter-named gentleman was also a native of the Emerald Isle, and on locating in Pennsylvania, followed the occupation of farmer for a few years. The family later came to this county, about 1812, where the grandparents died, leaving a family of three sons and five daughters.


The father of our subject was the eldest son of the parental family, and after reaching mature years was married to Catherine Caldwell, a native of this State, who was born March 24, 1802. The date of their marriage was November 20, 1825. Mr. Bell followed farming in Walnut Township, along the Columbus Turnpike, and was thus engaged until he died, April 30,1851. Mrs. Bell passed from this life December 16, 1889, firm in the faith of the Presbyterian Church, of which body her husband was also a member. She was the daughter of Alexander Caldwell, a native of Ireland, who came to the New World early in the nnieteenth century, and settled in this county, where he was one of the early pioneers. Mr. Bell was Captain of a company of militia in early times.


Mr. and Mrs. William Bell were the parents of the following-named eight children: James, Jane, our subject, Ruth, William, Catherine, Caroline S., and one who died in infancy. Caroline S., who makes her home with our subject, is the only member of the family beside Mr. Bell who is living. The educational advantages of our subject, like those of most pioneer youths, were limited, but he acquired enough to give him an impetus to go on, and to-day he ranks among the intelligent and progressive citizens of the county. His father dying when he was nineteen years of age, the care of the family fell upon his shoulders, but he sturdily braved all the responsibilities, and started out to earn money to supply the necessities of life by working out on a farm in Walnut Township, Pickaway County.


The parental homestead included two hundred acres, one-fifth of which fell to the lot of our subject. In company with two brothers, he purchased the interest of his two sisters, the three operating the farm in partnership for a number of years. They later pnrchased two hundred and twenty acres additional, of which, when divided, our subject took the farm which he now occupies in Circleville Township, and upon which he moved a few years later.


October 25, 1855, Miss Minerva R. Reber, who was born in Fairfield County, this State, March 5, 1834, became the wife of our subject. She was the daughter of Thomas and Rachel (Allen) Reber, natives of PennsIvania. Her parents were farmers, and removed to Wyandot County about 1854, where the father still resides, being in his ninetieth year. Mrs. Reber died in 1891. Only five of their family of eight children are living. Mrs. Bell died October 15, 1875, after having become the mother of nine children, namely: Thomas R., Lucy K., Clara J., Charles, Flora, Rachel, Lyman A.,Mettie M. and Annie O. The eldest son married Miss Ella Helvring, and is engaged in the grain business in Circleville; Lucy K. is Mrs. John D. Newton, whose husband is a farmer of Walnut Township; Clara J. is the wife of Benjamin Renick, a farmer in Harrison Township, Pickaway County; Charles married Annie Stine, and lives in Circleville Township: Flora became Mrs. Charles Van Meter, of Savannah, Tenn.; Rachel married Arthur Wiggins, also a farmer in Harrison Township; Lyman A., formerly a stenographer in the dry-goods house of Siegel, Cooper & Co., of Chicago, is now in Denver, Colo.; the two youngest children are at home. They have all been given excellent educations, and occupy good positions in the community.


Mr. Bell was again married, September 17, 1885, this time to Mrs. Sally E. Valentine, who was born in Circleville, and was the daughter of Bentley Groce, who died in 1890. Mrs. Bell passed from this life in 1886, just six months after her marriage.


In politics, Mr. Bell is a Democrat. He was elected County Commissioner in the fall of 1887,and re-elected in the fall of 1890. His estate comprises the magnificent sum of eight hundred and ninety-one acres of land in Circleville, Walnut and Jackson Townships. A view of his home is shown on another page. His place is stocked with cattle, his favorite being Short-horns. His accumulations have been the result of his industry and good management, as he started out in life with but forty acres.

 

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From PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF FAYETTE, PICKAWAY AND MADISON COUNTIES, OHIO - Chapman Bros. [Chicago, 1892]