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FINALLY MADE UP - Mr. and Mrs. Sim Bell 1901


Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 12/8/2016 at 19:01:47

Dubuque Daily Telegraph – Feb. 2, 1901

A Little Unpleasantness Between
An Iowa Couple Worn Away
By Time
Ottumwa, Ia. Feb. 2 – After living in the same house as man and wife for thirteen years and never speaking a word in that time, Mr. and Mrs. Sim Bell, prominent residents of Mt. Zion, a community northeast of Keota, made up during a religious revival at Mt. Zion Church last Sunday night. The occurrence caused a great deal of comment, as it is a well-known fact, although the man and woman had lived together for thirteen years, they had never spoken.

It was shortly after the birth of their youngest child, a daughter, in 1887 that Mr. and Mrs. Bell quarreled. They disagreed as to what name should be given to the little one and the quarrel waxed so warm that it came very near causing a separation, it is said. Each inwardly vowed to maintain silent thereafter and it was only the excitement of a warm religious revival that caused them to break their vows. The scene is described as one which will always be remembered by those who witnessed it. Tears were shed in plentiful quantity, the congregation sung hymns and the more excitable women in the audience “shouted’ in the good old, down south way. The minister prayed prayers of thanksgiving and there was a general rejoicing.

Mr. and Mrs. Bell are now in the neighborhood of 50 years each. They were happy until the time of the disagreement spoken of. They have six children, all who were born before the beginning of the period of thirteen years of silence. The eldest is a daughter, now Mrs. William Fontaine, who lives with her husband not far from the parental home. The eldest son is 25 years old; he resides with his parents. Mr. Bell is a prosperous farmer, who is prominent in public affairs of his neighborhood; he is an earnest church worker and he has always been active in matters pertaining to the welfare of the community. His wife is highly respected and she, too, has always taken an active part in neighborhood matters – but never during the thirteen years, did they speak to each other. If, for any reason, they desired to communicate with each other, they did it through the medium of one of their children. Now, however, they talk with each other as nothing had ever happened.


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