William Henry BELL, who owns, operates and occupies an excellent farm of eighty acres in Henry township, was born in England, January 21, 1862, and when only six months of age was brought to America by his parents, who settled in Stark county, Illinois, near Bradford. The father, James BELL, was likewise a native of England and the year 1862 witnessed his arrival in the new world. He settled on a farm with his brother and there carried on general agricultural pursuits for many years, his diligence and enterprise bringing to him a goodly measure of prosperity. His political allegiance was given to the republican party. While living in his native country he had been identified with the Episcopal church and in the new world he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. His death occurred May 16, 1906, and he had long survived his wife, who passed away in 1872 at the age of thirty-seven years. She bore the maiden name of Mary Ann DODD and was also a native of England. In the family of this worthy couple were nine children, of whom four are now living: Robinson BELL, who is a farmer residing in Alberta, Canada; Abram BELL, a machinist whose home is near Lincoln, Nebraska; Mrs. John CLIFT, whose husband is a farmer near Buda Springs, Kansas; and William Henry.
Brought to the United States in his infancy, William Henry BELL has spent almost his entire life in Illinois. His early education was acquired in the district schools of Henry township and he afterward attended Henry College, thus being equipped by a liberal education for life's practical and responsible duties. He was reared to the work of the farm, early becoming familiar with the task of cultivating the fields and caring for the stock. He remained upon the old homestead until twenty-one years of age, when he rented his present farm from Robinson BELL, an uncle, and eventually came into possession of this place, which comprises eighty acres of rich and arable land in Henry township, all under cultivation. He is likewise interested in stock raising, which constitutes an important branch of his business. He now has a well-improved place and has recently erected a fine barn on his farm. None of the accessories and equipments of a model farm are lacking and the latest improved machinery facilitates the work of the fields.
In 1886 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. BELL and Miss Mary Anne FLYNN, of Peru, Illinois, and unto them were born two children: James Robinson, who died at the age of two years; and Mamie, who is seventeen years of age and was graduated from the Henry high school with the class of 1906. The parents are consistent and faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. BELL is a republican and is interested in politics, keeping well informed on the questions of the day and doing whatever he can to promote the growth and insure the success of his party. He has served as school trustee and as school director for a number of years and the cause of education finds in him a warm and stalwart friend. His efforts in behalf of public progress have been far-reaching and beneficial and while he has won success in his farming operations he has also found time to aid in public affairs.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.