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Upon one of the desirable farms of Atchison county, pleasantly located in Grasshopper township, about four and a half miles from Effingham, resides William H. Bell, who is accounted one of the leading and influential farmers of his community. Almost every state of the Union has furnished its representatives to Kansas, and among those who have come from Maryland is the subject of this review. He was born in Allegany county, on the 30th of October, 1845, and is a son of James and Caroline (Hickrate) Bell, the former a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the latter of Maryland. Both parents died in Maryland, the father at the age of seventy-seven, the mother when seventy-three years of age. They had a family of eight children, namely: William H., James, Lloyd, Emily, Tom, John, George, and a daughter who died in early childhood. The parents were earnest Christian people, holding membership in the Methodist church, and in politics the father was a Whig very early in life and a Republican after the organization of that party.

William H. Bell spent his early boyhood days in the state of his nativity and pursued his education in the public schools. He also worked for a time in the coal mines, receiving good compensation for his services. Going to Champaign county, Illinois, he there learned the butcher's trade, which he followed for a number of years, but after the inauguration of the civil war he could not content himself with performing the daily duties of business life, and, although only seventeen years of age, he enlisted in Company C, Seventh Illinois Cavalry, in June, 1862. He served with that command until the close of the war and participated in the battles of Franklin, Tennessee, Nashville, Stone River and other engagements. For some time the regiment was stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whence they traveled northward to Alabama, and afterward to Mississippi, but their further progress northward was cut off by the rebels, and they were forced to go east, where they joined the Army of the Cumberland, under the command of General Thomas. Mr. Bell was several times wounded, and as a consequence was forced to remain in the hospital for some time. The exposure and hardships of the war so undermined his constitution that he has never since enjoyed perfect health. At the close of the war, in November, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Camp Butler, Illinois, and returned to his home. His military record is one of which he may well be proud. Though but a boy when he entered the service, his valor and fidelity were not less marked than that of many a time-tried veteran and his service was an honor to the blue.

In April, 1867, in Champaign county, Illinois, Mr. Bell was united in marriage to Miss Ida Denton, daughter of John and Lucia (Johnson) Denton. Her father, who was a native of Pennsylvania, died some years ago in Illinois, but her mother still resides in Champaign county, that state. In the year of their marriage Mr. Bell and his young wife removed to Seward county, Nebraska, where they remained for five years, after which they returned to the Prairie state. Since 1879 they have been residents of Kansas. At the time of their arrival in this state they located in Jackson county, but for seventeen years they have resided upon their present farm in Grasshopper township, and the labors of Mr. Bell have made it a valuable and desirable property. It comprises one hundred and sixty acres of rich land, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation and yields to the owner a good return for the care and labor he bestowed upon it. His methods of farming are progressive and practical, and success has therefore attended his efforts.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bell have been born six children, namely: Charles W., who is married and lives in Horton, Kansas, where he is employed in the railroad shops; Walter, a mechanic in the railroad shops at Horton; Jessie, John, Harry and Raymond. Mr. Bell exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, keeps well informed on the issues of the day and gives his earnest support to the principles in which he so firmly believes. He is a member of the Effingham Post G. A. R., and is one of the youngest representatives of the Union army in this locality. He has many admirable dualities which commend him to the confidence and friendship of his fellow men, and throughout his life he has been characterized by honesty and reliability.