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1906 Biographies


Of the firm of Chaney & Bell, stock and grain buyers, William D. Bell was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland, May 23, 1856. His parents were Richard and Margaret (Hall) Bell. The father was born August 10, 1822, and followed the occupation of a shepherd until 1871, when he left Scotland and came to Quebec, Canada. After remaining there a short time, he migrated with his wife, three sons and one daughter to the United States, first locating in Marshall county, Ill. There he rented land for two years, when he removed to this county and settled on section 25, Victoria township, which tract of land he had purchased two years before. He cultivated the land, planted a grove, and otherwise improved his property, also buying a quarter section of land in Victoria township. Eventually he became the owner of between 300 and 400 acres of valuable farm land, upon which he raised general crops and fine live-stock. He resided on section 25 until his death in 1891, his wife surviving him until July 28th, 1906.

Richard Bell was first married, in 1846, to Margaret Willy, by whom he had three children -- Agnes, Janet and William. His first wife died in 1856, and for his second wife he chose Margaret Hall, by whom he had two shildren, Thomas and Richard. During his lifetime Mr. Bell was a Republican leader of local influence, and was well known in Chicago as a live-stock dealer. The family were stanch Presbyterians, and it goes without saying that their belief remained unshaken until the end of their days. They were pioneers of this part of the county and, like the best of their class, endured with fortitude and cheerfulness all the hardships incident to that life, and died universally respected for what they had done and suffered.

William D. Bell developed into manhood as a resident of this county and was educated in its common schools. Even as a boy he assisted manfully in breaking out the home farm, and remained with his parents until he was twenty-eight years of age. He then purchased the farm owned by his uncle, the late Robert Bell, who died in this county some years ago, and this property he still owns. In 1884 he was united in marriageto Lizzie Angus, a native of Scotland, her parents, John and Jane Angus being early settlers of Cass county. They have a family of three sons by birth, and an adopted daughter -- John R., Wilbur W., Harry D., and Geneva. Mr. Bell is a Republican and has served his fellow townsmen faithfully as assessor, school direcor, and in other local offices. He became a resident of Massena in March, 1906, purchasing George Arnold's interest in his present business. In his fraternal associations he is a member of the M. W. of A. Religiously, he is a member of the M. E. Church, and is respected both as a business man and good citizen throughout the county of Cass.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 266-267.

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