Saturday, June 23, 2018

Tracing the Career Path of Rev G O Bell

Unexpectedly finding an ancestors name in an unexpected location while searching for something else in old newspapers is a perfectly acceptable reason for going down the rabbit hole. When that ancestor is a preacher, you know you're going to easily find his name in newspapers - a lot. His service at funerals, weddings, special church events and every time he accepts a new pastorate can all make the paper. With enough online searchable old newspapers, you can follow the breadcrumbs of a minister through his entire career.

My Grandpa's older brother was Uncle Oren to family, but professionally he was known as "Rev. G. O. Bell". Years ago he recorded on audio cassette a family history which I've posted before as Amenuensis Monday - Oren Bell's Recorded History.  He leaves out quite a bit of his own personal history in his recording. I've learned more about the places he lived and the churches he served from various online Nebraska newspapers.

Born in 1894 in Wayne County, Kentucky, his mother died in Flint, Texas when he was 6. Eventually he moved to Kansas, and started working as a teacher in 1917. After a short time in the Army YMCA at Camp Funston during WWI, he was married to Viola Noon in 1919 and they moved to Nebraska.

By 1921 he was getting his name in the papers in college as a student at Cotner College in Bethany (now a part of Lincoln). The Nebraska State Journal covered the news from the colleges and universities around the state (issues between 1910 and 1921 are not online). At Cotner, Uncle Oren served on various committees and was involved with the Y. M. C. A., referred to as President once. During the same time, he was named resident pastor of the First Christian Church in Odell, Nebraska about 60 miles south of Lincoln.

Nebraska State Journal, "In University Circles", February 7, 1921

Omaha World Herald, May 7, 1921

Nebraska State Journal, Cotner Column, March 12, 1922

Omaha Morning Bee, August 26, 1922
This clipping says he had been at the Odell church for four years before resigning in 1922. The clipping below shows he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1924. Maybe during those two years he focused on finishing his degree.

Nebraska Evening Star Journal, May 29, 1924

It was Ord, Nebraska where I accidentally found Uncle Oren. In his oral history he didn't say he had ever lived in Ord. The earliest I found his name in the Ord Quiz was in February of 1924 (prior to his graduation from Cotner), with just a note in the news from the Christian Church of "Mr. Bell's bible school class" having a party. In June, 1925 the birth of Oren & Viola's third child was announced in the church news column. Their oldest, Dorothy was born in 1921, next was David in 1923, then Robert followed later by Oren Duane in 1927. That would be my Great Grandmother Allie Bell who traveled from Aurora to stay with them for a while when Robert was born.

Ord Quiz, June 4, 1925

In 1926 he moved from Ord to Exeter and he apparently took even more classes at Cotner. Exeter is right at an hour drive from Lincoln with the I-80 speed limit at 75 mph. It may have taken him a little longer in 1926. I am wondering if there were correspondence courses available in those days.
Ord Quiz, February 1926
There are no newspapers from Exeter online, but from his history I knew that Norfolk was where he was living in 1929 when he officiated the wedding of his brother Ben to Marie Dieckman.  The article below from the Norfolk Daily News explains it was in 1927 when he left Exeter and began his pastorate at the Christian Church in Norfolk.

Norfolk Daily News, April 30, 1927


The Rev. Lawrence Berry, who has been pastor of Park Avenue Christian church since September, 1924, has resigned in order to attend Yale divinity school at New Haven, Conn., where he expects to receive his B. D. degree. He will be succeeded by the Rev. George O. Bell, of Exeter. Mr. Berry graduated nearly two years ago from Cotner College, being student-pastor of the church at that time.
The resignation takes effect June 15, as it is necessary for the Norfolk pastor to be at New Haven at that time in order to take a pastorate which he will supply during his course which begins the last week in September.
The Rev. Mr. Bell, who held special meetings here before Easter, has accepted the unanimous call to the Norfolk church and plans to be here by the time Mr. Berry leaves. The local church has made a larger percent of growth during the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Berry than it has in any like period since its organization.

There are plenty of search results for "Rev G O Bell" in the Norfolk Daily News from 1927 through 1935. Online access to that newspaper was only temporary and I didn't keep copies. He kept busy with his services at funerals, weddings, special church events, prayer meetings, and his weekly radio broadcasts.

In the 1940 census Uncle Oren was living in Bargersville, Indiana. Not in newspapers, but through a simple Google search I found his name in the book "Christian Chronicles: Bargersville First Christian church, 1861-2006".  He began his pastorate there in 1935 and continued until 1941.

I saw Uncle Oren just a few times when I was young, and I don't really remember him. He was living in Oklahoma in the 1970's and 1980's. Through online Oklahoma newspapers I found him there in March of 1941 when he performed a wedding as pastor of the First Christian Church in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He spent the rest of his life near Oklahoma City. Before finding all of these newspaper clippings, all I knew about his career was from his oral history and this from his obituary:
"Rev. Bell held pastorates at the First Christian Church in Kingfisher, MWC, and Capitol Hill in OK C.  Between pastorates, he was also the director of rural church work for Okla. Christian Missionary Society." 
In the family history which he recorded when he was in his 80's, he spoke slowly and deliberately telling his story from memory. I can imagine during his sermons his deep baritone voice soothed the congregation until a perfectly-timed sudden rise in volume startled awake any parishoner who had had a late Saturday night.

He passed away in 1988 at age 94 and is buried in Resthaven Gardens in Oklahoma City. Viola died in 1979. I don't know what year he retired, but he had a long respectable career serving as Pastor for several congregations in three different states.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Newspaper Clippings - Peotone, IL, July 1907

Maybe something in this news from Monee and Peotone, Illinois will be of help to someone. I apologize for what is cut off and also for what I could not make out due to the smudges. The circled "Miss M. Belle Jorgenson" is the sister of my Second Great Grandmother Lena Jorgenson-Roscoe. This doesn't tell me much about her, but I grabbed copies of all mentions of my family since I had the microfilm on loan. So, I will share.

Peotone Vedette, July 19, 1907

Chas. Plagge, of Harvey, spent Monday in town.
F. C. Pfaff, of Harvey, spent the fourth here renewing acquaintances.
Mrs. Wm. Janssen is visiting at the home of her parents in Beecher this week.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Tresch, of Chicago spent Sunday at the home of C. K?e.
Mrs. Ernest Smit is entertaining her mother, Mrs. Devine, of Chicago this week.
Ed Binder, of Chicago, spent the fourth at the home of his brother, F. Binder.
Thos. O'Shea, of Chicago, spent the fourth at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wathier.
H. P. Leseberg entertained his brother of South Chicago, several days last week.
There was no meeting of the village board Saturday evening owing to a lack of a quorum.
Luella and Norma Plagge and Ruby K?stedt visited relatives at Peotone several days last week.
Miss Josie Schultz and a neice from Chicago spent Wednesday at the home of Mrs. Lena Plagge.
Oscar Schroeder, of Harvey, spent several days the past week at the home of his cousin, Harry Conrad.
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bemisderfer, of Dauphin Park, visited at the homes of their parents several days last week.

Column 2
yellow and much comment as to what causes it whether it is the green bug or the dry weather. It is hoped that the rain will benefit it now and that it will yeild the usual crop.
A number of relatives and neighbors of Mrs. Adam Holl assembled at her home Wednesday evening to help her celebrate her birthday anniversary. Mrs. Holl soon got over surprise and made the guests feel at home. After spending a very pleasant afternoon and partaking of a delightful luncheon the guests departed wishing their hostess many happy returns of the day.
F. W. Sander transacted business in Chicago Thursday.
Markets: Corn 49-1/2, Oats, 39, New Oats 35, Butter 18, Eggs 13.
Miss Amelia Triem is visiting at the home of Henry Hoffmann this week.
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Pries, of South Chicago, is visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Aug. Pries this week.
The horse market Tuesday was quite well attended. Thirty horses were bought and shipped to Chicago and a large number were bought and driven away.
Mrs. J. H. Kolstedt and son, Roy, returned to their home in Chicago after spending a week visiting at the home of Mrs. C. A. Kolstedt.
On account of going out of business I will sell below cost my millinery goods. Also one standing and one side show case. Miss M. Werner.
C. Koepke returned Wednesday from a three weeks' stay with relatives in Marion, Kan. He reports that the wheat crop is very light compared with the past few years and many field have been plowed up and planted to corn.
The wind storm last Saturday moved the Gottschalk hay shed several inches from the foundation and also twisted the water tank so that new supports will be necessary.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Albers attended the funeral of Mrs. Albers' father, Mr. Henry Schaellein, at Beecher last week.
Bryan Hutchison, of Joliet, will be at Kettering's hotel, Saturday, July 13th, where all those having legal business to attend to can consult him.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schaefer entertained a party of Chicago relatives on the fourth. Among them being Mesdames F. Witt, A. Albesch and Elsie Lederer. The latter will remain here about a week.
Aug. Deutsche went to Stuttgart, Ark., last week to size up the country. His father, Wm. Deutsche bought some land there several...

Column 3
Geo. Croxen took in Chicago sights Tuesday.
Henry Monk was a north bound passenger Tuesday.
Ed Duclos transacted business in Chicago Tuesday.
Mrs. K. J. Baeuerle has been quite seriously sick.
Mrs. Wm. Rauworth is the guest of Lockport friends.
F. C. Jurres was a north bound passenger Wednesday.
Little Katherine Koepke visited Monee friends this week.
E. H. Stassen and son, Harold, were in Chicago Monday.
Mrs. Samuel Pearson was a Chicago passenger Wednesday.
John Carstens transacted business in Chicago Wednesday.
C. Veuve is entertaining his son, August and wife of Chicago.
Mrs. John Schneider is visiting her brother at Tomah, Wis.
Miss M. Belle Jorgenson is spending a few days in Milwaukee.
Miss Mattie Rains entertained Mrs. C. C. Jewel, of Otto, Tuesday.
Hilma Imholz visited Harvey relatives a few days this week.
Robert Cann, of Chicago, spent Sunday with Peotone relatives.
Mrs. Aug. F. Schroeder was a Chicago passenger this morning.
Miss Florence Troughten, of Chicago, visited Peotone friends Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Piper sent Saturday and Sunday in Kankakee.
Chas. Henry, of Tiskilwa, is the guest of his aunt, Mrs. Harvey McFarlin.
Mrs. Wm. Conrad is entertaining her cousin, Miss Bessie Schneider, of Itasca.
W. W. Smith, of Joliet, attended the K. P., installation service last week.
Wm. Roloff, of Chicago, spent a few days of the week with Peotone friends.
Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Stassen, of Chicago, spent Sunday with Peotone relatives.
Mesdames Henry and Albert Baird spent the day in Kankakee yesterday.
Miss Tressie Harken entertained Miss Mabel Salomon, of Chicago, over Sunday.
Mrs. Margaret Wabls and son, Wilbur, were north bound passengers this morning.
Miss Katie Johnson, who came down from Chicago to celebrate the...