Tuesday, September 4, 2018

William Bell marries Lavinia Boylan

Samuel T. Bell, director and secretary of the County Home Poor
Farm of Mercer county, resident of Sandy Creek township, is one of the
oldest and most influential Republicans in this part of the state, and
prior to assuming his present responsible duties was for many years per
haps the most influential citizen of the county in matters educational.
Pie is a veteran of the Civil war and well represents a family which for
more than seventy years has stood for all that was substantial and honor
able in the progress of agricultural and public affairs. He is a son of
William Bell, a native of Ireland, a grandson of Sir William Bell, of
Scotland, and a great-grandson of Lord John Bell, colonel of a Highland
dragoon regiment of that country and afterward promoted to a general
ship. William Bell, the father, was born in 1788 in the parish of Killade,
county Antrim, Ireland, receiving his higher education at a college in
Belfast and being especially trained as a civil engineer for the India
service. Instead of going east, however, he emigrated to Quebec in
1826. On the passage his son James died, and as the vessel was fol
lowed by sharks the superstitious sailors refused to have the corpse
buried at sea. The body was carried aboard for four days and finally
cast overboard at the entrance of the St. Lawrence river, in latitude 46
degrees. The young Irishman of Scotch blood taught school in the city
of Quebec for a time, later cultivated a farm at the head of Lake Chau
tauqua. New York, and afterward located at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania,
where he both farmed and taught. He then removed with his family to
Trumbull county, Ohio, where he purchased a farm and became a neigh
bor of five families which afterward formed with his own household a
colony which located in Mercer county. Among these were the Whites,
the Palmers, the Stewards, Morisons of Hadley. Selling their farms
in Trumbull county, for which they received gold, the heads of these
families started with one team and wagon, in which they loaded their
wives, children and household goods, and, with the coin of the realm
in a bag hanging from a pole (borne by the men), the caravan finally
arrived in Sandy Creek township. Here the gold was divided and the
newcomers paid five dollars per acre for their land in .the locality.
William Bell bought the old Woods farm of sixty-five acres, in a clearing
of five acres standing a crude log house. His first crops were potatoes
and corn. Not long after his arrival his first wife (nee Catherine
McChain, of Ireland) passed away, the mother of William J., Arthur,
James and a daughter who died in early infancy.

A year later he married Miss Lavina Boylan, 
daughter of Aaron Boylan, of Red Stone, Erie
county, Pennsylvania. Her father was one of the pioneers of Deer
Creek township, coming from Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1800.
His comrade was David Caldwell, the two paddling up the Allegheny
river and French creek to the cabin of James Herrington, in Crawford
county, by whose direction they found the vacant land on which they
settled. They erected two cabins, each twelve feet square, and their pro
visions were gradually reduced to coarse baked corn dough and nothing
else whatever. When the latter stage of their fortunes was reached they
started for the nearest settlement for relief, but when they returned with
their small stock they were met at the door of one of their houses by a
man named Davis, who claimed their land by virtue of the unwritten law
that whenever the fire of a settler went out he thereby relinquished all
title to his property. This happened to be Boylan's cabin. Its first occu
pant appeared to accept the situation, but requested of Mr. Davis the
privilege of entering to warm himself, and when the latter left the house
for a near-by spring, Mr. Boylan put out the fire and closed the door.
He thus regained his title, according to the land law of the times, and
held to his property. This sturdy founder of the family in Mercer
county became an active citizen with the settlement of the country; held
most of the township offices, and died in 1863, at the age of seventy-nine.
The grandparents were New Jersey people, the great-grandmother living
to the remarkable age of one hundred and four years. The maternal
great-grandfather, Abel Thompson, was a native of Union Mills, Erie
county, born March 2. 1757. By the marriage of William Bell to Lavina
Boylan were born the following nine children. Charles J., whose sketch
appears elsewhere ; Samuel T., of this biography ; Hananh C., widow of
Dr. I. C. Feather ; Sarah A., deceased ; Nellie M., wife of W. E. Robin
son : David W., deceased; Joseph H.: Jane A., widow of Dr. J. C.
Feather ; and John, deceased. Mrs. Lavina Bell died in 1875. in her
sixty-third year, her husband surviving her until February 16, 1878, when
he passed away at the advanced age of ninety-five years, nine months and
fifteen days. The grandfather of Samuel T. (Sir William, already men
tioned) was killed in Belfast, Ireland, as the result of a duel with a lord
of the upper house of parliament.

Samuel T. Bell, of this biography, was born July 3, 1844, on the old
homestead in Sandy Creek township, and on January 14, 1862, enlisted
at Sheakleyville in Company K, One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsyl
vania Volunteer Infantry, under Captain J. J. Pierce, of Sharpsville.
Pennsylvania. On the 28th of April the regiment was sent to Camp
McKim, Baltimore, and Winchester was the first engagement in which it
participated. Mr. Bell participated in all the skirmishes to Harper's
Ferry and Culpeper Court House, being under continuous fire for seven
teen days; was in the second battle of Bull Run; narrowly escaped death
at Antietam, a bullet being deflected from his belt ; was sent to the
hospital at Harper's Ferry and was with his regiment again from Shenan
doah Valley to Chancellorsville. At the latter battle he was twice
wounded—one bullet glancing from his forehead and the second passing
through his knee-cap. At Gettysburg he was wounded in the right ear,
breast, left arm and finger of the left hand, and was afterward sent to
various hospitals, completing his recovery at the general hospital, Harwood,
Washington, from which he was discharged and returned home.
After the war Mr. Bell resumed farming in Sandy Creek township,
but subsequent to his marriage in 1874 learned the carpenter's and the
stone mason's trades. These vocations, in connection with the operation
of the homestead farm, occupied the active years of his life, the conduct
of the public affairs of the township with which he was entrusted adding
weight and honors to his citizenship. He is a charter member and quar
termaster of the Sheakleyville Post No. 417, G. A. R., and has always
been an earnest Republican. He served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff
Ebcrmon, and has held all the township offices except the assessorship,
but his record has been especially commendable for his fine work in fur
thering the interests of the common schools. His service as a member
of the school board covered a period of twenty-three years, eighteen years
of which was spent as its secretary. He is school director and secretary
and justice of the peace at this time.

Mr. Bell wedded Miss Ada Zilla Amon, who was born March 25,
1850, and was a daughter of David and Maria (Foulk) Amon. Her
father, who was a stone mason by trade, died in 1893. The mother, a
daughter of J. Foulk, of French Creek township, is a resident of
Franklin. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel T. Bell were as
follows: Edith E., born July 18, 1869, wife of William Conway, a resi
dent of Pittsburg and mother of VTelma, William and Erma ; Charles A.,
born December 27, 1871, who married Miss Lena Patton, is the father
of Mabel and Vere and engaged in carpentry and contracting work at
Pittsburg ; Florence, born January 4, 1873, who married Professor C. F.
Montgomery, superintendent of schools of Allegheny county, and has
become the mother of Ada, Alice, Freda, Martha, Charles, and a daughter-;
Laura, born January 8. 1876, now Mrs. Mouck, wife of a Vernon township
farmer and mother of Gladys, Archie, Paul and Twila ; Elsie M., born No
vember 28, 1878, wife of George Arbuckle, a farmer of Deer Creek town
ship ; David J. Garfield, born September 21, 1881, and a carpenter of British
Columbia, Canada ; Bessie R., born February 10, 1884, who married
O. C. Martin, a mill worker of Sandy Creek township, by whom she has
become the mother of Edna and Madge: Albert T., born April 5, 1886,
who is engaged in farming in Oregon Lake county ; Francis L. and Han
nah T., both living with their father—the former born July 21, 1889, and
the latter September 13, 1891. Mrs. Bell, the faithful mother and wife,
died March 17. 1898, after a lingering illness, which so tested her
strength and Christian fortitude. By her death the family suffered an
inexpressible loss and the entire community felt that practical goodness
and heavenly spirituality had been taken with her departure. She was a
devout and stanch supporter of the Presbyterian church and for many
years most active in its missionary work.