Edward H. Bell

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Five Generations of Bells


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Abraham Bell

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Philadelphia 1882
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Abraham Bell was born about 1819 in England. I don't know much about his life in England, but I do know he married Elizabeth Mary Mattock before coming to America. It is possible they were married about 1844 as they had their first child, Elizabeth A., about 1845. Abraham was a sexton of the Methodist Church which means he was responsible for the care and upkeep of church property and sometimes for ringing bells and digging graves.

Abraham's wife Elizabeth was born about 1824 in England to Charles (born about 1804) and Mary (born about 1794) Mattock. Charles was a weaver by trade and both he and his wife Mary migrated to the U.S. as both are found living with Abraham's family in 1860.

Abraham migrated to the United States about 1846 between the birth of his first and second child and settled in Philadelphia. He and Elizabeth had their first child; Elizabeth A. who was born about 1845 in England. The rest of their children were all born in Pennsylvania. Their family shows up in the 1860 U.S. Census living in Philadelphia. Those living in the house were: Abraham(41), Elizabeth M(36), Elizabeth A(15), Sarah J(12), Mary R(8), Edward H(1), and Abraham's in-laws Charles(56) and Mary(66) Mattock.

They show up again in the 1870 Census still living in Philadelphia. Those living in the house were: Abraham(51), Elizabeth M(45), Elizabeth(24), Jenny(22), Mary(18), Edward(11), Emma(8), Anna(6), Abraham(3), and Abraham's father-in-law Charles Mattock(66). It's assumed that Mary Mattock passed away some time during that 10 year period.

Abraham's home was located at 653 North 16th, Philadelphia, PA. In the 1880 Census the household looked like this: Abraham(61), Elizabeth M(56), Elizabeth(35), Mary R(27), Edward H(21) and his wife Louise Armstrong Wilson(18), Emma(18), Ann Louisa(15 and previously listed as Anna), Abraham(13), and Charles Mattock(76).

  • Born About 1819

Edward Harrison Bell

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Jodan Marsh
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Edward Harrison Bell was born in Pennsylvania on February 28, 1859. He married Louise Armstrong Wilson (born June 19, 1861) also from Pennsylvania about 1880 as they are both found young (21 &18 respectively) and married living with Edward's parents at that point in time.

The 1880 census states the Edward was in sales at a local store. Edward's obituary states that about 1882 he started his career in the decorative business working for Strawbridge & Clothier and going later with the firms of Sharpless Brothers and John Wanamaker in Philadelphia. He and Louise later moved to New York where he worked as the manager of the interior decoration department of Abraham and Straus, in Brooklyn. In 1901 he moved to Massachusetts where he became the manager of the decoration department for Jordan Marsh Company, Boston. He lived at 652 Watertown, Newtonville, MA the remainder of his life.

Edward and Louise had eight children: Anna, Frank, Ethel H., Louise Wilson (Lulu), Edward H. Jr., Mary, Charles Allen Bell, and Willis M. B. Bell. The 1900 Census shows Edward's mother-in-law Elizabeth Wilson (born in 1819 in Pennsylvania and her parents both from Pennsylvania) living with them. Some time after Edward's death in 1924, Louise moved to Los Angeles where she is found in the 1930 Census living with her two daughters Ethel and Louise (Henchey) and her grand daughter Ethel Henchey.


Note: Edward H. Bell was highly respected by those he worked with at Jordan Marsh Company. View some of the kind things said in his behalf in the company newsletter following his death.


View newsletter clippings:

  • Born 28 Feb 1859

Willis Milton Boutwell Bell

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WillisMB_Bell_Birth in Home_1902.tif
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Willis Milton Boutwell Bell was born June 1, 1902 in his parent's home located at 652 Watertown Dr., Newtonville, MA. In the month of January 1923, Willis married Sarah Eleanor Teasdale (born on Oct. 9, 1903 to Thomas Christopher Teasdale and Jean Mackenzie). They quickly moved to Detroit, MI where he worked for an automaker.


Their first son Willis Harrison Bell was born in Detroit on July 22, 1924 (died Dec. 17, 1987). They later moved to Los Angeles, CA where Willis M.B. Bell worked as a salesman in the Men's Dept. at May Company. On December 20, 1926 their second son, Charles Allen Bell II (my dad) was born at the Maternity Cottage in Los Angeles. Willis and Sarah later got a divorce. Willis stayed in California and Sarah took the boys back to Massachusetts where they lived with Sarah's sister and brother-in-law. The 1930 Census shows Sarah and the boys living with the Clarence H. Chaison (brother-in-law) and Lillian J. (sister) and their children in MA. The 1930 Census shows Willis as a lodger in CA.


Sarah got remarried to Hervey Heywood and for one reason or another, the two boys where sent back to live with their father and new step-mother (Edna Babb) in California in1933. When they arrived in 1933, Willis H. Bell was 9yrs old and my day Charlie was 6yrs old. Willis M. B. Bell and Edna never had other children. It appears that Willis, Edna and their two boys joined the LDS Church in 1935.

See Willis M.B. Bell's baptismal certificate>


My dad (Charlie) never saw his mother Sarah again until after WWII when his ship stopped in Boston in 1947 after he finish officer's school. He went to visit his mom and step brothers (Don, Bob and Stewart).


View additional images of Willis, Edna (Babb) Bell and sons Will and Charlie>


My farther married my mom Darlene Cosby (born May 24, 1928 to John Robert Cosby and Cora Snow Wright) on January 31, 1948. Charlie and Darlene had three children: Diane Marie (b: Oct 8, 1955, d: May 18, 1996), Roger Allen Bell (me) and Robert Willis Bell (living). The children were raised at 1775 W. Crone Ave., Anaheim, California and after retirement moved to Lindon, UT.   My mother Darlene or Darlyne as she like to spell it, died Oct 18, 2000.



  1. Note on three of Edward's children: Anna and Mary only show up on personal family records, but not on any census records. It's assumed they both died at a very young age. Frank, their oldest son died on September 25, 1918 of an illness. He was 30 yrs old when he died.

  2. Correction: The 1930 Federal Census has Willis Harrison Bell list as Willis M.B. Bell. At the time Willis was living with in-laws who probably assumed he was named after his father Willis Milton Boutwell Bell and reported it incorrectly. His middle name was Harrison, which was his grandfather's middle name.

  • Born 1 Jun 1902

Contributor: RABell
Created: November 29, 2006 · Modified: November 24, 2008

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