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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Adna G. Bell
This enterprising farmer and worthy citizen is a native of Hancock county, Ohio, where his birth occurred on the 11th day of November, 1841, being a son of Sylvester and Fransina (Peters) Bell, both of Fairfield county, Ohio. These parents were born and reared in the same locality, grew up together as children and in due time their intimacy ripened into love, which finally led to marriage. Sylvester Bell was a farmer by occupation, in connection with which pursuit he also worked considerably at carpentry, having been able to turn his hand to almost any kind of mechanical labor. Disposing of his interests in Ohio in 1850, he migrated to Cedar county, Iowa, thence a little later moved to Linn county, where he remained until 1856. Later he transferred his residence to the county of Fayette, where he had entered one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Jefferson township in 1857. He at once erected a rude dwelling which served as a shelter for his family until replaces by a larger and more comfortable structure a few years later. Being remote from a town or market place, Mr. Bell hauled the lumber for the latter edifice from Independence and experienced not a few difficulties in procuring other materials and fitting the building for occupancy. In the fall of 1870 he sold his farm and moved to the place in Jefferson township now opened and occupied by the subject, where his wife died in 1875 and where he followed her to the grave eleven years later, having in the meantime married a second wife in the person of Elizabeth Nelson, who survived him and died and was buried at Hazelton, Iowa.
For some time after moving to Iowa, Sylvester Bell, in addition to managing his farm, conducted a repair shop in which he made sleds and many other vehicles and implements for the neighbors, including coffins not only for his own community for his skill was frequently taxed to the utmost to supply the demand for caskets from a distance. He was Democrat in politics, a Universalist in his religious belief, and in all that constituted upright manhood and enterprising he ranked among the most worthy of his contemporaries. Six children were born to Sylvester and Fransina Bell, namely: Benjamin, Osborn, Harriett; Louise, wife of J. Anderson, of Clark county, Iowa; Adna G., of this review, and Lydia A., who married John Miller, the three oldest and the last named being deceased.
Adan G. Bell was about nine years old when his parents moved to Iowa and having been reared in a comparatively new country his opportunities for obtaining an education were exceedingly limited. He made the most of his time in school, however, but the greater part of his training consisted of the stern, practical kind which educational institutions do not impart and which is only acquired by contact with the world and mingling among his fellowmen. He was reared on the home farm where he early learned the value and dignity of honest toil and he grew up to the full statue of well rounded manhood with a proper conception of life and its duties.
On the 20th day of June, 1872, Mr. Bell was united in marriage with Olive A. Miller, whose birth occurred in Chenango county, New York, December 27, 1853, being a daughter of Hiram and Susan (Powers) Miller, both natives of New York state, the latter of Otsego county and the former of the county of Chenango. Hiram Miller and family came west in 1864 and settled in Fayette county, Iowa, locating in section 16, Jefferson township, where in connection with tilling the soil, Mr. Miller taught several terms of school and achieved considerable local prestige as an educator. He was a man of intelligence and his death, which occurred on September 14, 1889, was greatly regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, his wife having preceded him to the silent land in March, 1882. The children of this estimable couple, seven in number, are as follows: Amanda, widow of G. E. Champlin, of Nebraska; Dr. Edgar L. Miller, a practicing physician of Eaton, New York; Henry, also a physician and surgeon, who died in 1876; John died in 1889; Mary passed away in 1863; Olivia and Olive A., twins, the former the wife of George Smith, of Oelwein. Hiram Miller served a number of years as justice of the peace and was one of the influential Democrats of his part of the county. In religion he subscribed to the Universalist creed, his wife having been a worthy and devoted member of the Baptist church.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bell has been blessed with three offspring: The oldest, Alverna, was born September 10, 1876, died June 5, 1877; Bertha A. is the wife of Bert L. Bell, of Oelwein; Alice married William Brownell, of Scott township, and is the mother of two children, Mildred and Paul.
Mr. Bell has lived on his present farm since 1870, and is now the owner of one of the most beautiful and attractive homes in Jefferson township. His handsome and imposing modern residence, which was erected in 1901, combines all of the comforts and other admirable features required in a first class country dwelling, and the large barn, which is especially adapted to the purpose it is intended to subserve, was built in the year 1883. The farm, consisting of four hundred thirteen acres of valuable land, is under an excellent state of cultivation and everything on the premises bespeaks the presence of a first class agriculturist, fully abreast of the times on all matters pertaining to his vocation.
Having accumulated a sufficiency of this world's goods to make him independent and render his future free from care, Mr. Bell discontinued active labor a few years ago, since which time he has been living in honorable retirement. He is Democrat in politics, though no a politician, and keeps in touch with the leading questions and issues of the day, on all of which he has well grounded convictions, besides being informed on all matters relating to the welfare of his county and state and the good of the people. He is widely known throughout the county, stands high in the esteem of the people and ranks among the substantial men and representative citizens of the township in which he resides.
~transcribed by CMD for Fayette County IAGenWeb.
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