George Edward Bell

by Edmund Starling, 1886


There are few men living, perhaps, whose lives have been so varied and yet around whose name and character clusters more evidences of the "well done, good and faithful,' than are to be found associated with that of the subject of this sketch. Few men have gone out into the world, scantily equipped as he was, to meet its frowns and face its arrogant demands, who can sit down, at his age, in a comfortable home, surrounded by a happy family, and know that he is the possessor of a sufficiency, not only to keep the wolf form his door, but know that he is assured against that same world in his old, old age. George Edward Bell was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, on the second day of August, 1822. His father was William Bill, a cooper by trade and a farmer. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and '14. under General Stricker, and earned an honorable distinction in offering himself a living sacrifice in defense of his country. William Bell married, in Baltimore County, Achsah Smith, unto whom were born eleven children, namely: Hannah, Mary, George E., William, Abraham and Isaac. (twins), James (who died in infancy), Joseph, Emry, Kenneth and Caleb. Of this number, only two are living at this writing, the subject of this sketch being one of that number. The paternal grandfather was Edward Bell, a Scotch-Irishman by birth. His maternal grandfather was Adam Smith, of German origin. Both of these gentlemen were farmers in Maryland and both of them died and were buried in that State.

George E. Bell, the subject of this sketch, received what might be termed a fair country school education--a man of his natural turn might have attained to a fair education without the aid of the country pettifogger, who pretends to form minds. His mind, at this day--what it may have been in his youth, we do not know--is broad, comprehensive, capable of grasping any subject. He is a great reader of the literature of the day, and digests it, as few men can. However, we are getting away from the object in view. His life alternated--sometimes he lived in the City of Baltimore, sometimes out in the county, but, all the time, improving his limited opportunities. By nature and choice, he favored the life of a carpenter, and, to accomplish this purpose, gave himself studiously to the work before him. By the aid of a clear, quick, mathematical head, a keen eye and an earnest desire to learn, he soon master and has stood in the front rank of woodworkers since. On the twenty-sixth day of June, 1848, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Shipley, of Baltimore County, and by that marriage, seven children have been born unto them, to-wit: Mary, Frank, Annie, Rosa, Joseph, William and Walter, all now living except Frank.

A few years after his marriage Mr. Bell was engaged at work in a car shop, and, while operating a circular saw, was struck by a flying piece of timber and killed for the time being. He recovered consciousness some time after, but was unable, for several days, to resume his work again. In the winter of 1853 or '54, he went to York County, Pennsylvania, and engaged in farming for the period of one year. At the end of that time he gave up his farm and returned to Maryland, where he worked on a farm for five years. During that time he made two trips West to Richmond, Indiana, working at his trade there one entire winter. In the fall of 1862, while in Maryland, he was drafted into the army. Not having a military turn, and certainly no disposition to kill or be killed, he left the State and immigrated to Indiana, locating at Princeton. He worked at that place during the winter, and from thence went to Evansville, where he was appointed foreman in building United States hospitals. In August, 1863, he came to Henderson and remained until August, 1864, when he again returned to Indiana, locating at Fort Branch, where he remained until 1865. he then returned to Henderson and has lived here since, enjoying his share of contracting and building.

At the age of nineteen, Mr. Bell connected himself with the Methodist Church, and has ever been consistent and devoted to its tenets. At this time he is Superintendent of the Sunday School. He joined Friendship Lodge, I.O.O.F., Baltimore, 1847, and has had his membership transferred to the Lodge at this place. He has three married children: Annie, married Robert Brashear, now living in St. Louis, has four children, George, Lizzie, Luther and Harry; Rosa married George McMullin and has two living children, Walter and Benjamin; William recently married Miss Ida Quinn.

Mr. Bell, in addition to his city interests, owns two hundred acres of valuable farming lands in that section of the county known as Frog Island.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 688-90;

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