James H. Bell was born in Ontario, October 29, 1847. His father, John, a carpenter and baker by trade, was born in Edinburg, Scotland, in 1813, and died in Oregon in 1895. Upon emigrating to Canada as a young man, he located on a large tract of government land, where he farmed and applied his trades for the balance of his life. His wife, Margaret (McCallum) Bell, was also born in Scotland, and still makes her home in the old homestead in Canada.
James H. Bell was educated in the public schools in his neighborhood. At the age of twenty-two he left home and spent a year in another part of Canada, and then went to Grand Rapids, Mich., and worked in a store for six months. The following winter was spent in Canada, and, in 1876, he came to Oregon, and found employment with the railroad company at bridge work on the Columbia river. After seven months of this kind of work he returned to Canada and sold his farm. Returning to Oregon in June of 1877. He was variously employed until October, 1879, when he purchased his present farm of one hundred and fifty-five acres. He is engaged in general farming and prune-raising, and has cleared about sixty acres of his place.
In 1879, Mr. Bell was united in marriage with Sarah Willis, who was born in Ontario. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bell are as follows: Edward E., of Portland; Vanderbilt, at home; Fred, at home; Bennett; Myrtle; Melville; Milner; and Willis C. Mr. Bell is independent in his political views, and has served as school director for fourteen years, and was school clerk for five years. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons of McMinnville, and with the Order of Washington, of McMinnville, of which latter organization he is president.
"Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley"