MRS. MARTHA G. BELL. Among the well-known and highly respected families of East Finley township none hold higher social position than that of the late Zadoc L. Bell. He was a son of Samuel Bell, a native of Fayette county, Penn., born in 1806, of Scotch-Irish parents.
When Samuel was yet a boy his father died, and his home was made with his widowed mother until he was fourteen years of age, when he was apprenticed to a blacksmith to learn the trade. With him he remained until he was twenty-one years old, when to his sorrow he learned that his employer was bankrupt, and he had to take an old, broken-down horse in payment of wages due him. Not discouraged, however, at this unexpected interruption to his prospect., Mr. Bell mounted his horse, then his only possession, and set out for the West. Horse and rider swam the Monongahela river, and then proceeded on to Van Buren, Franklin (then Morris) township, Washington county, where he rented a kit of blacksmith's tools, and purchased a leather apron on time, toward the payment of which the first 50 cents he earned in his new venture went. He worked hard, and was soon able to pay the balance and purchase the tools. He was married to Matilda Luellen, who was born January 14, 1810 and who became the mother of the following named children: Sarah, wife of A. C. Cracroft, of Franklin township; Thomas J., a farmer of East Finley township; Zadoc L.; Elizabeth, wife of M. A. McKeen, of East Finley township; Nancy, wife of David Gantz; Martha, who was married to Dr. T. P. Simpson, but is now deceased; and Robert, a farmer of Franklin township. The untiring energy, industry and perseverance of Samuel Bell soon enabled him to purchase a small tract of land, and afterward another, still larger. In 1840 he abandoned his trade and commenced farming, which he followed the rest of his life, doing, in connection therewith a large business in live stock, buying and selling, in all of which interests he deservedly prospered, and at the time of his death, in 1880, he was the owner of several hundred acres of the very best farm land in the county. He was a thoroughly representative self made man in every essential. His widow died in 1890.
Zadoc L. Bell, second son of the above, was born February 12, 1832, at Van Buren, Franklin (then Morris) township, Washington Co., Penn. There he received a liberal education at the country schools, and followed agricultural pursuits on his father's farm. On April 9, 1855, he was united in marriage with Martha G. McKeen, daughter of John and Margaret McKeen, of East Finley township, and she bore him seven children, of whom the following is a brief record: Theodore D., born July 22, 1856, is now a farmer in Morris township, this county; Matilda, born March 13, 1858, married C. H. Andrews, and died May 22, 1888; Samuel, born January 20,1861, is a jeweler in Claysville, Penn.; Sarah Ellen, born August 13, 1863, is married to E. C. Booth, of Washington, Penn.; Erminie Blanche, born July 12, 1866, is married to J. E. Andrews, of Lindley's Mills, this county; Thomas Remley, born April 5, 1870, is a school teacher and lives at home; Birdie Caroline, born August 29, 1872, is married to L. H. Ramsey, of Lagonda, Penn. Soon after his marriage Zadoc L. Bell purchased of his father the old Van Scyoc farm, on which his widow yet resides and manages. This property is one of the best in East Finley township. Mr. Bell died suddenly July 9, 1891, after a busy and successful life. In addition to his general farming interests he dealt extensively in live stock, and in all his business transactions he was recognized as an honorable, straightforward man, one who made and kept hosts of friends, and wielded an influence for good in the community. In politics he was a life-long Democrat, and one of the advisers in his party; in religion he was a most liberal contributor, not only to his own church, the Cumberland Presbyterian at Fairview, but to all denominations in need of pecuniary assistance. His widow is a member of the Fairview Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Text taken from page 499 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
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