Bell, Charles James
Age: 18, credited to Walden, VTVITALS
Birth: 03/16/1845, Walden, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
North Walden Cemetery, Walden, VT
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
Charles J. Bell
BELL, Charles James. Governor 1904-6. John Austin of Glasgow, Scotland, invented the tulip-shaped bell for which he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and took the name of Bell. James, a son, came to America, and a descendant of his, another James Bell, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came to Hardwick from Lyme, N.H., not far from 1800. Three or four years later he moved to Walden and in 1810 he settled on the farm known as The Belfry, where his grandson was born. Charles James Bell, son of James Dean and Caroline (Warner) Bell, as born in Walden March 10, 1845; died in New York City Sept. 25, 1909. He was educated in the public schools of his native town and at Peacham Academy. At seventeen he enlisted in Company B, 15th Vermont Volunteers; re-enlisted in 1864 in Company C, 1st Vermont Cavalry, and was promoted cororal the same year. As a soldier on a Virginia battlefield he cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln. He was wounded just before the close of the year. After he was mustered out in June, 1865, he returned to the farm in Walden which was always his home and devoted his time to farming. In 1870 he married Mary Louise Perry of Cabot; they had two daughters, Adine Merrill and Jennie. He held several town offices; represented Walden in the Legislature of 1882 and was senator from Caledonia County in 1894. That year he was appointed by Governor Woodbury a member of the board of railroad commissioners, serving until 1896; in 1904 he was eleected governor, assuming the duties of the two year term on October 6th of that year; was a member of the state board of agriculture from 1896 to 1904, serving for six years as its secretary; secretary state board of cattle commissioners 1898-1902. A Congregationalist; served as deacon many years. Was prominently identified with the work of the Grange, both state and national; treaturer of the Vermont State Grange from 1872 to 1894, and its master 1894-1906. At the time of his death he was serving his seventh year as member of the executive committee of the national Grange and sixth as secretary of that committee.
Source: Prentiss C. Dodge, compiler, Encyclopedia Vermont Biography Ullery Publishing Company, Burlington, Vt., 1912, pp. 50-1.
EX-GOV. BELL DEAD
Deerfield Valley Times
1 Oct 1909
Stricken with Heart Failure on Train in New York.
Charles James Bell, governor of Vermont 1904-05. died suddenly of heart failure Saturday night on a train in Grand Central Station in New York city, as he was about to start for his home in Walden. He went to New York Friday to witness the Hudson-Fulton celebration and had been a guest at the Manhattan Hotel, but Saturday he felt ill and decided to cut short his visit.
A few minutes after boarding the train his fellow passengers noticed that he had slipped from his seat. Before a physician from the station's emergency hospital could reach him Mr. Bell was dead, heart failure being assigned as the cause. As he was traveling alone he was identified by papers found in his pockets.
The body was first taken to the city morgue, then to an undertaking es- tablishment. The remains were placed on the sleeper leaving at 6:35 for Montreal. They arrived at Burlington at four o'clock Monday morning and were taken to Walden that forenoon.
When Mr. Bell left home Friday he appeared in the best of health and in high spirits. His health has not been good the past summer and he suffered a fainting spell at church two weeks ago. At the time it was supposed he had a slight attack of indigestion and when he left home Friday he seemed to have fully recovered and expressed himself as feeling better than for some time.
At the time of her husband's death Mrs. Bell was visiting a sister in Littleton, N.H. She drove to Walden, 40 miles, Monday afternoon to accompanied by her sister. Throughout the day she received a large number of telegrams of sympathy from all parts of Vermont and New England.
Charles James Bell was born in Walden March 16, 1845, son of James Dean and Caroline Warner Bell. His father was of Scotch ancestry. John Austin Bell of Scotland was the first of this family to bear the name, he invented the tulip shaped bell now in common use. This invention brought him into royal favor and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, assuming the name of Bell, James, a descendant, came to America and settled in Lyme, N.H., and of this branch Governor Bell was a descendant.
He was educated in the common schools of his native town and at Peacham Academy. At 17 he enlisted in Co. B, 15th Vermont Volunteers, afterward re-enlisting in Co. C, 1st Vermont cavalry, in which he served as corporal. He was wounded just before the close of the war.
In Walden he served as school director and selectman and in 1882 represented that town in the Legislature. His next public office was that of senator from Caledonia county in 1894, being that year appointed by Governor Woodbury as a member of the board of railroad commissioners. He served as a member of the board of agriculture in 1897-8 and as secretary of the board from 1899 to 1904. He was secretary of the State board of cattle commissioners from 1899 to 1902, treasurer of the Vermont State from 1872 to 1894 and master of the State Grange from 1894 to 1896. He also served two terms of three years each as a member of the executive court of the National Grange.
In July, 1904, Mr. Bell was nominated by the Vermont republican State Convention for governor and at his subsequent election was given next to the largest plurality in the history of the State. One of the best remem- bered events of his administration was the controversy over the hanging of Mary Rogers. Governor Bell was besieged by pleas and threats of those who wished him to commute her sen- tence to life imprisonment. He firmly refused, however, to annul the sentence of the courts.
Gov. Bell was married in 1870 to Mary L. Perry of Cabot, Vt., who with two daughters, Jane Merrill and Jennie Bell, survives him. He was a member of the Congregational church and has been characterized as a "valuable man for the community and State; genial, generous, broadminded, modern, modest; a Christian gentleman, honorable and honored; a natural born favorite and leader among his fellow men."
Contributed by Tom Boudreau.