John Thomas Bell
Home Up

John Thomas Bell
6/1/1840 - 12/22/1929

Maria Louise Saunders Bell
9/20/1843 - 11/19/1914

Married 9/19/1865
Catholic Church, Old Clinton, MO

The Bell Homestead in St. Paul Kansas
John Thomas and Maria Louise Saunders Bell
4 generations: John Thomas Bell, first son Willie Bell and daughter, grandson of Willie Bell
Three daughters of Tom and Louise Bell and future daughter-in-law
Christmas Day, 1900, the Bell daughters

For details and explanations on the photos above, visit the Bell/Saunders Photo Album


John Thomas Bell was the son of Robert Bell (5/10/1807 - 12/7/1875) and Mary Pulliam (9/14/1806 - 4/4/1864).  His first wife was Mary Alice Eddings (10/15/1843 - 6/27/1864).  John and Alice had one son William Robert.  Alice died in childbirth along with their second child Robert on June 27, 1864.  Alice and son Robert are buried in the St. Peters Catholic Cemetery in Monroe County, MO.

Maria Louise Saunders was the daughter of Lewis Cass Saunders and Susan Rebecca Gough.

Handwritten notes from one of the Jarboe girls (apparently Bernadette):

John Thomas Bell, father of Gertrude Lee Bell Jarboe:   A very proud and dignified gentleman who loved courtesy and respect.  He kept himself well dressed and in his old age he always carried a gold-headed cane (which he didn't need to use).  He had moved to Kansas when first married to Louise Saunders of Lakenan, MO and they lived on a farm near St. Paul and raised a large family.  In his old age, his daughter Loutie took care of him until he died of a lingering heart ailment.

Louise Saunders Bell, mother of Gertrude Lee Bell Jarboe, was a gracious kind and pious old lady with very little to say.  She loved her flowers and chickens.  In fact, she was tending the chicken house when she was stricken with heart trouble and died.  She and her husband Tom Bell were buried in St. Paul, cemetery on the banks of the Neosho River near their old farm and where there is an old Mission Church of the Osage Indians.  It is kept by the Passionist Fathers.

Handwritten note apparently by Anna Lou Jarboe Jones:

John Thomas Bell - Born June 1, 1840 in Monroe County, MO.  His parents - Robert Bell - (Born May 10, 1807 - died Dec 7, 1875): His mother Mary Pulliam died April 1, 1864.  Both are buried at St Peters Cemetery, Old Clinton or North Fork, MO, Monroe County.  Tom Bell first saw Alice Eddings when she was 16 and he was 19.  He said that's the girl I'm going to marry.  He did on January 29, 1861.  She was 18 and he was 21.  Willie their first child was born October 19, 1862.  Alice died on June 27, 1864 when their second child Robert was born.   The baby also died.  Alice was age 20 years, eight months & 12 days.   Mother and baby were buried at St. Peters Cemetery, Old Clinton.  Alice was the daughter of John H and Nancy A. Eddings, and she was born October 15, 1843.  John Thomas Bell, after the death of his beloved wife Alice was left with their two year old son Willie.  He knew little Willie needed a Mother.  He went to the home of Louise Saunders, Alice's best friend and bridesmaid, and asked her to marry him.  She did marry him on September 19, 1865:  JT Bell was 25 and his wife Louise Saunders Bell was 22.  The were married at St Peters Catholic Church of Old Clinton.  The went in covered wagon to Indian Mission, South East Kansas to homestead.  Later, it was called St. Paul.  To them was born nine children, Joseph Emory, Sept 18, 1866 - Mary Alice, June 27, 1868 - Rose May, April 29, 1870 - Susan Agnes, February 19, 1872 - Gertrude Lee, April 23, 1874 - Louise, February 21, 1877 - Thomas, October 29, 1879 - Ellenora, September 25, 1881 - Anna Laura, January 31, 1884.

Maria Louise Saunders was born Sept 20, 1843 in Monroe County, where she grew to womanhood.  she died November 19, 1914 at her home near St. Paul Kansas.  John Thomas Bell died in St Paul Kansas December 22, 1929.  Both are buried at St Francis Cemetery in St. Paul Kansas.

Obituary for Mary Alice Eddings Bell who died June 27, 1864 near Lakenan, MO. (Newspaper clipping from the collection of Anna Ryan Greenwell, provided by Barbara Greenwell):

Died, in Shelby county, on the 27th ul-timo, Mrs. Mary Alice Bell, wife of John T. Bell, in the 21st year of her age.  Her sickness was violent from the first, and soon developed fatal symptoms, from which the best attentions could not alleviate.  In a few days, those who loved her best were gathered around her grave to witness the sad rites of a christian burial.  From which we turn with a sorrowing heart to view the past.  It is at this moment we view the closing scenes of this life - it is at this moment we realize the hour of parting - it is at this moment we feel the great blank left us by death!  Ah! that blank is now seriously felt, but we have a hope beyond the grave.  Yes, friends, Allie has left us, and gently, yielded her soul to the God that gave it.  Thus has passed from time into eternal life, one who in the full bloom of womanhood feared not to bid a christian's farewell to this world; but entered with a full hope of a life immortal in the next. She left a kind husband, one child, disconsolate parents and numerous friends, to weep over her early demise.  She was in life an obedient daughter, an affectionate wife and indulgent mother, and beloved by all that knew her.  In our hearts we mourn our departed friend; but why should we weep when we believe that she has gone to receive that promised reward offered by the Saviour of mankind:  "come ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you."  Yes she has only gone to receive that crown her christian virtues so justly merits.  For she can smile upon earth and in triumph proclaim -

Oh, heartless storm, I smile on thee,
    Thus beating on my withered breast -
To death I meekly bend my knee.
    For I am now by heaven's jewel's dress'd.
And yet, dearest sister; from those splendors there,
    Wilt thou not sometimes lean,
And for us waft some Eden air,
    On earth's dark lonely scene.
And wilt thou not when we must wing
    Away from time's sad Isle,
Meet us with a kind ministering -
    A sweet and tender smile?
And on thy struggling brothers here,
    Send such sweet influence down,
That we can surely see thy sphere,
    And bless thy fadeless crown.
That we may bravely meet each peal
    Of life's war on this sod,
And 'mid the deepest agony,
    Feel that trust in God

The associated handwritten note from Barbara Greenwell goes on to say that John Thomas Bell's son Tommy Bell often spoke of Willie Bell, saying he lived in Joplin and always kept his car in "mint condition".  Willie was known to be "kind and patient and never upset".

The striking thing about this obituary, beyond the different literary style of that era,  is that the cause of death is never mentioned, nor is the death of the infant son Robert Bell.

Obituary for Maria Louise Saunders Bell who died November 19, 1914 in St. Paul, Kansas:

Mrs. J.T. Bell was found dead in the poultry house at the Bell home southeast of this city Thursday evening.  She had gone out to care for the poultry when she was stricken with heart failure and no doubt died instantly.  She had not said anything about being sick and to all appearances was in her usual good health when she left the house.

Maria L. Saunders was born in Shelby county, MO, in 1843.  She was therefore 71 years old at the time of her death.  She was united in marriage to J. T. Bell in 1865, at the Catholic church in Old Clinton, MO, and came here with him in 1867 and settled on the farm southeast of this city where she still resided at the time of her death.

Mr. and Mrs. Bell were pioneers in this section.  They endured all the hardships of pioneer life, but lived to see their labors bear fruit in many fold.   The Bell family, since the early days, has been regarded as one of the best and most substantial families in this section, and Mrs. Bell did her full share in acquiring that splendid reputation.

Nine children blessed the union, and all of these were present at the funeral except T. R. Bell who resides in Oakland, California, and could get not get home in time for the funeral.

The children present were:  Mrs. Alice Beechwood, of Coffeyville; Mrs. Rose Bowles, of Liberal, Kas.; Mrs. Agnes Kendrick, Shelbina, MO; Mrs. Gertrude Jarboe, of Lakenan, MO; Miss Anna Bell of Kansas City; J.E. Bell, Mrs. Louise McAndrew and Mrs. Nora Cavanaugh of St. Paul.

The funeral services were held at St. Francis' church at a Requiem High Mass at 9 a.m. Sunday and was one of the most largely attended funerals in many a day.   Interment was made in the Catholic cemetery.  The bereaved relatives have the deepest sympathy of all the people hereabout.

(St. Paul Journal, November 26, 1914, microfilm roll S95, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

 Obituary for John Thomas Bell who died December 22, 1929 in St. Paul, Kansas:

J. T. Bell, aged 89 years, one of the oldest settlers of this community, died at the home of his daughter Mrs. L. McAndrew, in St. Paul, Sunday evening, December 22, and was buried from St. Francis Church Tuesday morning, December 24, interment being made in the Catholic cemetery.

 J. T. Bell was born June 1, 1840, at Lakenan, Mo., where he grew to young manhood, and on January 29, 1861, was married to Mary Alice Eddings.  To this union was born one son, W. R. Bell, of Greenfield, Mo., who still survives.  The first Mrs. Bell died in 1864.  On September 19, 1865, he was again married to Louise Sanders [sic], who died on November 19, 1914.  To this union nine children were born, those living are:  Mrs. Rose Boles [sic], of Liberal, Kas.; Mrs. Agnes Kendrick, of Shelbina, Mo.; Mrs. Gertrude Jarboe, of Monroe City, Mo.; Mrs. Louise McAndrew, of St. Paul; Thomas L. Bell, of Berkley, Calif.; Mrs. Nora Cavanaugh, of San Francisco, Calif.’ And Miss Anna Bell, of San Francisco, Calif.  Two of his children preceeded him to the Great Beyond, J. Emory Bell, of St. Paul and Mrs. Mary Beechwood, of Coffeyville.

 Mr. Bell came to Kansas in 1867 preempted and proved a claim south and east of St. Paul which he owned at the time of his death, and where he lived until 1917, when he moved to town and made his home for the balance of his life with his daughter Mrs. McAndrew.

 “Tom” Bell, as he was affectionately called by his many old neighbors and friends was one of the oldest settlers of this community and his memory was a storehouse of historical facts of this part of the country.  In an interview with him printed in the Journal in 1922 he told of many interesting old time affairs.  Of how he ate his first meal in Osage Mission at the same table with C. H. Howard, the first editor of the Journal, together with S. S. Warner, who had just arrived here by stage coach; of how he became acquainted with Capt. And Mrs. Ogeese and how they advised him how to go about securing a farm and of following their advise in the securing of his homestead; of how he freighted from Kansas City and Lawrence to this place, and of going to Uniontown to buy corn to feed his stock.  Indeed Mr. Bell was one of the pioneers of this section and knew the hardships of the early days and of what efforts were put forth to develop this country to its present prosperous conditions.

 T. J. [sic] Bell was one of our finest citizens, a God fearing gentleman, a contientious [sic] Christian, a man who made the world better by his living here.  He is mourned by a host of loyal friends who are indeed saddened at this holiday season by his passing and who extend to the bereaved relatives their deepest sympathy.

 (St. Paul Journal, December 26, 1929, microfilm roll S100, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)


William Robert (Willie) Bell (son of Mary Alice Eddings Bell) - 10/19/1862 - 7/23/1951

Married Martha Frances (Mattie) Smith (? - 1/19/1926) on 9/15/1887

Thomas Lyle (7/15/1888 - 9/15/1888)
Eddie John (1/27/1890 - 4/19/1892)
Alice May - 11/24/1891 - 12/3/1977
    married Clyde Leon Morris (a doctor) on 8/5/1913 and had at least one child, a son named Billy

In addition to their daughter Alice, Mattie's half-sister Gertrude Smith seemed to live with them most of the time.

After Mattie died, Willie married Anna Clopton in later years.  Her son Calvin and her mother or mother-in-law "Grandma Clopton" lived with them.

Obituary in The Vedette and Advocate, Greenfield, Mo, July 26, 1951:

W. R. Bell

William Robert Bell, 88, died at his home on West College St., on Monday, after a two weeks illness.  Mr. Bell served as Frisco station agent here many years, retiring some 20 years ago, since which he had devoted his time to his hobbies of cabinet making and gardening, and was very active until stricken with his last illness.  He was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church  of this city, and much interested in church affairs.

He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Clyde L. Morris of Jacksonville, Ill, who was with him in his last days: five half-sisters, Mrs. Rose Bowles and Mrs. Lutie Bolmer [sic], both of Liberal, Kan., Mrs. Agnes Kendrick and Mrs. Nora Catnaugh [sic], both of Los Angeles, and Miss Anna Laura Bell of San Francisco; a grandchild; and a great-grandchild.

Rosary services were held at 8:00 pm on Tuesday in the Allison chapel at Greenfield.  The Rev. J. Rynish officiated at funeral services in St. Patrick Church at 0 am Wednesday.  Burial was in Strafford cemetery near Jasper.

(the vedette and advocate, July 16, 1951 edition, microfilm, Missouri State Historical Society, Columbia.)

According to his death certificate, Willie died of cancer of the pancreas.

Robert Bell - 6/27/1864 - 6/27/1864 - died at birth along with his mother Mary Alice Eddings Bell

Joseph Emory Bell - 9/6/1866 - 11/26/1926

Married Ellen Frances (Nellie) Taymans June 13, 1894

Wedding article:  

BELL - TAYMANS.  -  On Wednesday, June 13, Mr. J. Emory Bell, the popular young pedagogue of Mission township, and Miss Ellen F. Taymans, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P.V. Taymans, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony in St. Francis' church.  Rev. Father Sebastian officiating.  The church was well filled with relatives and friends to witness the ceremonies.  Just as the organ pealed forth the wedding march, the bridal couple marched up the aisle to the altar, where the nuptial ties that made them one for life, were fastened.  After the ceremony the bridal couple drove to the home of W. N. Beechwood, where an appetizing breakfast awaited them.  From there they proceeded to the residence of the bride's parents where a few relatives of the contracting parties had assembled to partake of the bountiful repast which was prepared for their special benefit.  The table fairly groaned under its weight of delicious delicacies, to which all present did ample justice in lightening its burden.  After the table was cleared away the afternoon was spent in amusements for both old and young, such as music, swinging and croquet.  At about five o'clock the table was again spread -- this time with that luxury everyone enjoys on a warm summer evening -- ice cream and cake.  The guests then took their departure, after wishing the bride and groom a happy and prosperous voyage over life's stormy sea.  They received quite a number of useful and ornamental presents, including a handsome rocking chair presented by the Hayseed club.

The happy pair left Thursday night for Republic, Mo., to spend their honey moon with W. R. Bell and family.

ONE Who Was There.

(osage missionJournal, microfilm roll O164, June 21st edition of paper, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

Florence May
Beatrice Hazel married Roy Greenwell
Vincent Valentine married Wilma Miller
John Joseph
Ruth Estelle
Mildred Madeline
Frances Catherine
Anthony Alphonsus
Flavia Louise
Leonard Loren
Thomas Emory
Mary Avice

Mary Alice Bell - 6/28/1868 - 4/1/1926

Married William Nickolas Beechwood (1862 - 1950) on 1/7/1891 in St. Paul, Kansas

Wedding article in Osage Mission Journal, January 8, 1891:  

Married: - Wednesday morning Jan. 7th, 1891 at 8 o'clock at St. Francis church in this city, the ceremony was performed that united Mr. Wm. Beechwood and Miss Alice Bell in the holy bonds of matrimony.  Mr. Beechwood is an enterprising young farmer east of the city and the bride is the daughter of J.T. Bell.  The young couple go forth on the voyage of life with the well wished and congratulations of their many friends and the Journal for a long and happy life.

(osage missionJournal, microfilm roll O163, January 8 edition, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

Mary Catherine - 10/12/1891 - 7/29/1961, married Claude S. Coverdale (6/10/1887 - 2/1970) on 12/16/1910.
Viola Gertrude - 5/29/1893 - 6/1/1961, never married
John Jacob - 11/29/1895 - 8/17/1982, wife Helen L. Keras (2/17/1910 - 10/29/2000) on 5/30/1934
Emory Edward - 1/1/1898 - 9/9/1980, became a doctor
George Eugene - 2/22/1900 - 6/5/1974, wife Mary Winifred Rapp (4/23/1908 - Present) on 4/22/1935
Alice Magdalen - 9/31909 - 10/17/1912

Obituary in the Coffeyville paper, April, 1926:


Well known Coffeyville Woman Passed Away Rather Unexpectedly in Hospital Last Night ---- 
Mrs. Mary Alice Beechwood, wife of William N. Beechwood, 602 Beech street, died at 7:05 o'clock last night in the Southeast Kansas hospital.  She was 57 years old and had lived here for seventeen years.

Mrs. Beechwood was taken ill last Saturday morning and was removed to the hospital in a critical condition.  A major operation was performed Saturday afternoon.  However, she took a sudden turn for the worse shortly after 5 o'clock and expired two hours later.

The body will be removed from the Skinner funeral home to the family home at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning and will lie in state until the hour of the funeral.  The services will be conducted at the Holy Name Catholic church at 1 o'clock Saturday afternoon by Father J.J. O'Brien, the local pastor.  Burial will be in Calvary cemetery.

Besides the husband, who maintains headquarters at Joplin, Mo., the surviving relatives are three sons, Emory of Bartlesville, George of Washington and John of New York city; two daughters, Mrs. Mary Coverdale and Miss Viola Beechwood of New York city; her father J.T. Bell of St. Paul, Kan., six sisters and two brothers.

Emory arrived from Bartlesville last night.  The other sons and daughters have been summoned and are expected to reach Coffeyville Friday.

(Coffeyville daily journal, microfilm roll C704, April 2 edition, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

Rose May Bell - 4/29/1870 - 7/2/1967

Married Charles James Bowles 11/5/1902

Mary Louise Bowles - 9/18/1903 - 5/9/1992, never married.  buried in Resthaven at Wichita, Kansas
Leta Gertrude Bowles - 1/22/1905 - 12/9/1982

Married Joseph Lane Burns on 1/8/1930
Joseph Lane Burns, Jr. , married Patricia Ann Bransom
Rose Mary Burns, married Jack Adrian Fox
John Thomas Burns, married Geraldine Rumfield
Margaret Anne Burns, married John Anthony Mollick
William Robert Burns, married Wanda DeWitt
James Sutton Burns, married Sammie Tarlet
Virginia Leta Burns, married John Dale Smith

Cecelia Agnes (Peggy) Bowles - 6/26/1906 - 8/24/1987
Thomas Timothy Bowles - 4/17/1908 - 9/7/1987
George Charles Bowles - 11/22/1909 - 8/30/1951

Obituary (from a newspaper clipping saved by Bernadette Jarboe Kelly):

Word has been received in Monroe City of the death of Mrs. Rose Bowles of Liberal, Kansas, Sunday, July 2.  Burial was also in Liberal.

Mrs. Bowles, the former Rose May Bell, was born April 29, 1870, in St. Paul, Kan., the daughter of John Thomas and Louisa Saunders Bell.   She was married to Charles Bowles November 5, 1902.  They were parents of five children and lived in St. Paul, Kan., for a number of years, later moving to Liberal.   In 1952 they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

She was preceded in death by her husband; one son, George; seven sisters and three brothers.  Mrs. Gertrude Jarboe of Monroe City and Mrs. Agnes Kendrick of Shelbina were her sisters.

Survivors include three daughters, Mary, Leta and Cecelia; one son, Tom; nieces and nephews, including Mrs. Charles Kelly and Mrs. Clifford Gander of Monroe city, Mrs. Otis Buckman, Mrs. Beatrice Greenwell and Joe Kendrick of Shelbina, and several great-nieces and nephews.

Susan Agnes Bell - 2/19/1872 - 1/4/1964

Married Albert Jerome Kendrick (5/18/1867 - 9/8/1940) on 1/13/1904

John Jerome
Mary Alice
Modesta Angeline
Joseph Lambert (Joe) (2/4/1909 - 9/2/1983)  married Agnesdee Reid, daughter of Roland Reid on 8/16/1939.
William Henry (Harry)
Ruth Isabel
Stephen Albert

Albert's first wife was Angeline S. Elliott (8/15/1869 - 5/20/1902).  They were married on 12/25/1888 and never had any children.  She died of "quick consumption" assumed to be pneumonia.

Albert is buried with both of his wives in St. Mary's Cemetery, Shelbina, MO.

Obituary from news clipping compiled by J.A. Buckman.

Word has been received here of the death of Mrs. Agnes Kendrick, 92, who died Friday night, January 3 [Sat morn at 5 am, January 4th], in Los Angeles, Calif.  The body was returned to Shelbina by plane, where it lay in state at Hayes Funeral Home.

Mrs. Kendrick is the former Agnes Bell and was born in St. Paul, Kan., the daughter of Thomas and Louisa Saunders Bell.  She was married to Albert Kendrick in St. Paul, Kan. [sic, actually Shelbina, Mo.] on January 13, 1904.  All of their married life was spent on a farm in the Shelbina community.  Following his death, September 13, 1947 [sic, actually September 8, 1940], Mrs. Kendrick moved to Monroe City where she made her home for several years with [near] her sister, Mrs. Del Jarboe, later moving to Los Angeles.

She is survived by four children, Joe of the home place in Shelbina, Jerome of St. Louis, Harry and Mrs. Isabelle White [Anderson], both of Los Angeles; a sister, Mrs. Rose Bowls of Liberal, Kan., a number of grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  In this community she is survived by Mrs. Charles Kelly and Mrs. Clifford Gander of Monroe City, Mrs. Otis Buckman and Mrs. Roy Greenwell of Shelbina, who are all nieces.  She was preceded in death by a daughter, Modesta Clark and a son, Steve.  Mrs. Kendrick was a member of the Catholic church.

Funeral Mass was held Wednesday morning, January 8 in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Shelbina.  Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.

Gertrude Lee Bell 4/23/1874 - 3/19/1952

Married James Adelbert Jarboe 3/1/1897

Click on her name to go to their page for their children's names.

Louise C. (Loutie) Bell - 2/23/1877 - 1/29/1952

Married John McAndrew (1869 - 1918) on 10/26/1910

Gertrude McAndrew

Later married Joseph A. Volmer (1874 - 1942) in 1937.

Wedding article:

Mr. John McAndrew and Miss Loutie Bell were married in St. Francis Church on Wednesday morning at a Nuptial Mass at eight o'clock, October twenty-six, nineteen hundred and ten.  Reverend Father Hyacinth performed the ceremony.  Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Cavanaugh filled the position of bridesmaid and groomsman.

The newly married couple are both well known thruout this city and vicinity, and have hosts of excellent friends.  Mr. McAndrew is known to be an upright and progressive young man, and Miss Bell a lady esteemed and honored by all.

Mr. and Mrs. McAndrew have the congratulations and best wishes of all in their journey thru life and may it be a long and happy one.

(St. Paul Journal, microfilm roll S94, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

Thomas LeFevre Bell - 10/29/1879 - 1943

Married Mary Virginia Fisher on March 17, 1909

Tom married and had several sons and maybe some daughters.  If you have any additional information on his family please pass it on.  He lived in the San Francisco area most of his adult life.

Ellanora Caroline (Nora) Bell - 9/25/1881 - 11/1957

Married Bernard Cavanaugh 10/3/1906, no children

Wedding article:

Married at a Nuptial Mass at 8 o'clock, in St. Francis church, Bernard Cavanaugh, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Cavanaugh, of Walnut, and Miss Nora Bell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Bell, of St. Paul, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus officiating.

Mr. John George acted as best man and Miss Rose Volmer filled the position of bride's maid.

The contracting parties have numerous friends who wish them a long, happy and prosperous life.

(St. Paul Journal, microfilm roll S93, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.)

Anna Laura (Annie) Bell - 1/31/1884 - 5/13/1956, never married.  

This page was last updated on 03/28/04 07:43 PM

Top of Page         About Us            Copyright and uses            Privacy            Sources
Copyright 2005