A Narrative History of the Bell and Related Families Living in the British Isles, Eastern Virginia and North Carolina, 1607 to the Present

[A Briefer Edition]




741 Brookwood Drive
Terrace 5
Olympia Fields, Illinois 60461-1509
[708] 481-2179

[19 June 2004]

[Thanks to Irma Bell Proctor, Nell Proctor McCaskill, Paul V. Bell, Jr.,  Raymond Bell, Charles and Ethel Bell, Earl P. Bell, Sr., Hoyt Bell and Timothy Bell for much of the information included in this briefer edition]


ANDREWS [BELL]                        HANDLEY [BELL]
BRANTLEY [RICKS]                    NEWSOME [BELL]
EVANS [BELL]                              SPENCER [NEWSOME]
HAM[M] [BELL]                           TOOKE [NEWSOME]
HARE [NEWSOME]                    WORRELL [EVANS]

When someone you love becomes a memory,
the memory becomes a treasure.

When we remember,
the family we have lost
they live on, and
when we die,
we will all be together once again
.  .  .once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other
men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their
own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now
all gone, one generation vanishing after another, gone as
utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone,
George Macaulay Trevelyan, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

The Creation and Evolution of  Relevant North Carolina Counties [counties in eastern North Carolina not listed below  are ones in which I have not discovered]a Bell or Related Family Member ]

Albemarle County
[created in 1664, subdivided in 1668, discontinued in 1689]

Archdale [Precinct] County
[created in 1705 from Bath County, became Craven County in 1712]

Bath County
[created om 1696, subdivided in 1705, see Beaufort County]

Beaufort County
[created in 1712, renamed from Bath/Pamptecough]

Bertie County
[created in 1722 from Chowan County]

Brunswick County
[created in 1764 from New Hanover and Bladen Counties]

Bute County
[created in 1764 from Granville, became Franklin & Warren in 1779]

*Carteret County
[created in 1722, from Craven County]

Chowan County
[created in 1670 from Albemarle]

*Craven County
[created in 1712, renamed from Archdale Precinct of Bath County]

*Dobbs County
[created in 1758 from Johnston County, became Glasglow and Lenior in 1791.  part of Dobbs County became Wayne County in 1779]

*Duplin County
[created om 1750 from New Hanover County]

*Edgecombe County
[created in 1741 from Bertie County]

Franklin County
[created in 1779 from Bute County]

Glasgow County
[created in 1791 from Dobbs County, became Greene County in 1799]

Granville County
[created in 1746 from Edgecombe County, NC]

Halifax County
[created in 1758 from Edgecombe County]

*Johnston County
[created in 1746, from Craven County]

Lenior County
[created in 1791 from Dobbs County]

*Nash County
[created in 1777, from Edgecombe County]

*New Hanover County
[created in 1729 from Craven County]

Northampton County
[created in 1741 from Bertie County]

Randolph County
[created in 1779, from Guilford County]

Sampson County
[created in 1784 from Duplin County]

Tyrrell County
[created in 1729 from Bertie, Chowan, Currituck & Pasquotank Counties]

Wake County
[created in 1771 from Cumberland, Johnston and Orange Counties]

*Wayne County
[created in 1779 from Dobbs County]

*Wilson County, NC
[created in 1855 from Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash and Wayne Counties]
*  indicates a primary county for the Bells living in North Carolina

The BELLS and Related Families in Colonial  Eastern North Carolina prior to 1763 in Bertie, Craven, Carteret, New Hanover, Duplin, Johnston, Dobbs, Wayne, Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson Counties,  North Carolina and in England  [Wilson County is not created until 1855]


This briefer, narrative edition on the Bells and related families living in England, eastern Virginia and North Carolina is an abbreviated version of my previous longer descriptions, that includes the Aycocks and related families, my great grandmother Della Josephine Aycock’s people, the Harpers and related families, my grandmother Mamie Harper Bell’s people and the Proctors and related families, my mother Alice Proctor Bell’s people.

The  Bells attending our 2004 family reunion, held at The Oak Level Ruritan Club in Nash County, NC, just southeast of the town of Nashville,  are the members of the Bell Family and their kin who exclusively trace their origins to both JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. [1822 – 24 May 1864]  and LUCINDA EVANS [1823 – 19 January 1906].    Thus, the Bells in attendance were people who were either were born and raised in East Cooper’s (1910),  Nashville,  Oak Level and Stony Creek Townships or they descend from the Bells who were born in one of these Nash County, NC townships.  JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. [1855 – 1915] was the oldest son and second child of JAMES HENRY BELL, SR [1822 – 1864] and LUCINDA EVANS.  He had two wives and thirteen children by them.  With his first wife DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK [1853 – ca. 1887] he had three children including my grandfather ALBERT TURNER BELL, JOSEPH ADRIAN BELL and EDITH IRMA BELL (who died in child birth).  With his second wife LULA ROSE [1873 – 1957] he had ten children including ERNEST, PAUL, JOHN, JR., LEE, ATLAS, LUTHER, RUTH, DAISY, TOM and LILLIE.  Every BELL at the Oak Level reunion of June 19, 2004 descends from JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. and his parents JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. and LUCINDA EVANS.  This brief edition is their story.

From the first settlements of Europeans in North America, the Bells, the Hamms,  the Evans, the Worrels, the Barneses and the Newsomes and their numerous related families have been participants in the volatile development of the America.  We have not missed an agreement or a fight  We were among the first settlers in Virginia, fought in the numerous Indian Wars, bore arms to defend the Colony of North Carolina against the Spanish in the Alarm of the 1720s, participated in the waves of migration from Virginia and Pennsylvania that became a flood during the 1740s and fought with the British to secure North America against the imperialistic ambitions of the French and Spanish from 1663 to 1763.  We have fought in every war, regardless of the enemy, from the earliest Indian wars to the present.  Further, we have fought in two debilitating internal conflicts.  The first involved fighting among those people seeking independence from England and those people, who were loyal to the mother country.  In the 1770s, the Bells did fight in the Battle at Moore’s Creek Bridge during the Regulator Movement between those people loyal to England and those for independence.  The second fight was larger, bloodier and more divisive; namely, the War Between the States, the Civil War or the Southern War for Independence depending on your political bias. For over four hundred years, most of our men and women have farmed as well as swung an axe clearing land or a tree stump for firewood to heat and cook.  In the 1940s and 1950s, in Aulander, Bertie County, I cut firewood on a stump and which I considered in light work after hours, days and months working in the fields for my father.  As a redhead, living in Bertie County in swampy eastern North Carolina and working in the fields as well as playing sports, especially football and baseball, meant numerous sunburns.  My redheaded Uncle Horace Albert Bell and me would hold our arms against each other and shake our heads.  We were poster boys for sun damage to the skin.  Our women have died numerous times in child birth and many of them married our grandfathers at sixteen or seventeen years of age.  Often their children would run as high in number as thirteen or fourteen.  We have enjoyed substantial wealth and brutal intergenerational poverty and deprivation.  Only in the last fifty years, we have all learned to read and write.  In 1902, my precious great, great grandmother Lucinda Evans Bell, in her application to the State of North Carolina for small pension she swore that her husband James Henry Bell, Sr. had been mortally wounded in The Battle of the Wilderness on May 3, 1864.  We have earned the right to our opinions and rights in this Republic, by our actions.  In 2009, we are here to announce that the Bells and their kin are still here in this republic.  We remain committed, by our constructive actions, to extend the life of this country and secure the future of our children!

This briefer edition of family history centers on the Bells.  Since our part of the Bell family arrived in America around 1704, the Civil War was the most traumatic event for us.   This briefer edition uses the Civil War to reveal some of the challenges faced by our family.  It provides limited information on the families with whom we have intermarried.  My extensive information on these families appears in several other editions.

My curiosity about our family flows from my parents, my aunts and uncles and grandparents.  I love the detective work that is required in family history.  I especially enjoy rescuing our people lost in the sweep of historical events.  From some reason, the poorest Bells and the ones who strayed from teaching of the “Good Book” interest me the most.  The Bells have overwhelmingly intermarried with people possessing common English surnames.

Our family was convulsed in a lasting way by the Civil War in which our grandfather JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. died fighting with the 55th North Carolina Infantry, Company A.  Each of us here today, at once, stands in the same and yet a different relationship with him.  For HOYT, LOUIS, and RAYMOND BELL, for example, he is their great-grandfather.  For my first cousins, he is our great, great grandfather

The people at this reunion, with Bell blood coursing in their veins, must return to the mid-nineteenth century to find ancestors that we all share.  Since JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. [1855 – 1915], married twice, our first common ancestors are JAMES HENRY BELL, SR.  [1820 – 24 May 1864] and his wife LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL[1823 – 19 January 1906] from the Black Creek area of Wilson County, North Carolina [Wilson County was carved out of Wayne County in 1855].  In fact, JAMES H. BELL, SR. was born in Wayne County, NC and LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL was born in Edgecombe County, NC.  In the shorter, modified version of the history of the Bell and related families, the story centers on those ancestors from whom all Bells at this reunion descend.  When I started working on our families in the late 1960s and early 1970s all we had were rumors.

This version of the family history covers JOHN LINDSEY BELL,SR. primarily as the first son and second child of  JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. and LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL. His older sister MARY BELL HORNE is buried next to her mother Lucinda and her brother James, Jr. With JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. we divide on the mother’s side, with some us descending from the AYCOCKS and others from the ROSES.  However, all the Bells at this reunion descend from JAMES H. BELL, SR. [1820 – 1864] and LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL [1823 – 1906], the parents of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. [1855 – 1915].  The Bell Family plus the many collateral families began about 1969 with the encouragement of my father’s oldest sister IRMA [BELL] PROCTOR of Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  My father’s mother MARY [MAMIE] WILLIAM [HARPER] BELL died when I was three years old and my father’s father ALBERT TURNER BELL died when I was eight years old.  For as far back as records go about six decades has been the reasonable life expectancy for males in the Bell Family.  The women in our family have enjoyed only slightly longer lives.


The BELLS from whom we are descendants have remained remarkably close to the same geographic spot in North Carolina.  Johnston, Dobbs, Wilson, Wayne, Edgecombe and Nash Counties have been home for our family for over two hundred years.  The Black Creek area of present day Wilson County, North Carolina is a kind of ancestral place for our family of BELLS since mid-1700s.  The historical evolution of North Carolina Counties has placed Black Creek in Carteret, Craven, Dobbs, Wayne and Wilson Counties respectively.  Craven and Dobbs Counties were carved from Carteret County, North Carolina.  Wayne was created in 1779 from parts of Craven and Dobbs, Counties.  Dobbs County only existed from 1760 to 1790.  It is a crucial county for information on many of our families but most of its records were lost in a nineteenth century fire.  Also, Nash County was created in 1779 by dividing Edgecombe County into two parts and naming the western part Nash.  Nash County, throughout most of its history, has been forced to live in powerful shadow cast by the more populous and older Edgecombe County.  Finally, Wilson County was formed from parts of Edgecombe, Nash, Johnston, and Wayne Counties in 1855.

Conclusions drawn about the early movements of the BELL family to Dobbs and Wayne Counties are based on factual and circumstantial evidence.  In retracing the BELL family, documentary proof exists through a 1769 tax list for Dobbs County.  Prior to that date several theories of location are creditable.  Of the several routes by which the BELLS could have migrated to Dobbs County, which ones seem most probable?  Did the BELLS migrate straight from Scotland, England or Ireland?  Or, did they move to North Carolina after first landing in Pennsylvania or Virginia?  Both states had sizable numbers of BELLS in the 1600’s and early 1700’s?  Finally, did the BELLS move to Dobbs from one of the older North Carolina counties such as Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Bertie, or Edgecombe?  The population of Bells in Edgecombe, Duplin and Carteret suggests that either county might be correct path.  My best guess, based on these years of researching the family, is that, once on the North American mainland, our ancestors are first found in King and Queen County, Virginia after 1704, then move to Bertie County, North Carolina, then to Duplin County, Wayne County, Wilson County and, finally, Nash County, NC.  The evidence is strongly suggestive that this is the correct line of descent, however, it has not been proven as absolutely true.  It is speculation or educated guessing.

There is remarkable repetition by the BELL family in the use of first names.  JAMES, JOHN, WILLIAM, GEORGE, LINDSEY, ELIZABETH, MARY, REBECCA, and SARAH recur in succeeding generations of BELLS.  In the reading of early wills this consistency suggests the elimination of some BELL families and a leaning toward others as a possible line of descent.  In fact, we are in danger of losing two male first names that date back to the eighteenth century in our family.  The names are James and Lindsey.  Some one in the family carrying the last name of Bell needs to rescue both these name by naming a son JAMES LINDSEY BELL.

The BELL ancestral line provable by evidence, empirical and circumstantial is:

Married: ca. 1706

ROBERT BELL  –  ANN ANDREWS [only circumstantial evidence]
born:  abt. 1683 in England
died:  1738 (Bertie Precinct)

GEORGE BELL, SR. – DEBRA [only circumstantial evidence]
born:  1718 [Chowan Precinct, NC]        d.  1821
died:  1792 (Sampson Co. NC)

died Wayne Co., N.C.
23 Feb. 1802 [William Bell’s  Estate Papers are found in the North Carolina Archives]

JAMES BELL – SARAH HAM, daughter of WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR & died in Wayne Co., N.C. 1792

born Wayne Co., N.C.1792            born Wayne Co., N.C.

died Nash Co., N.C.                        died Wayne Co., N.C.                          

between 1860 and 1870                 between 1840 and 1846

Second Wife:  Winny Len [1850]

Third Wife: Sarah Thompson [1855] (a license was issued in Wilson County, NC on 5 May 1855, however, it was not completed or returned


Married:   15 Feb. 1851

born Wayne Co., N.C.,1825

died  Lynchburg, Va.       born Edgecombe Co., N.C, 1827
b.  24 May 1864                died Wilson Co., N.C
d.  19 January 1906


First Married:  27 January 1881 – Wilson Co., NC in the home of Turner Joyner, in Black Creek Township, where she was a cook.  They named their first son ALBERT TURNER BELL, my grandfather.

JOHN LINDSEY BELL    =        DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK, born: Wilson Co., N.C                         daughter of Jesse Aycock and                20 May 1855  [tombstone]                Edith Aycock                                             24 May 1854 [death certificate]       born: Wayne Co. NC [1853]                   died: Nash Co., N.C.                         died:  Wayne Co., N.C. [ca.1887]
10 June 1915


Second Marriage:  1889 [on her father’s farm]


LULA ROSE (1874 – 1955) , second wife of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. (1855 – 1915)
Born:  Black Creek Twp., Wilson Co., NC
2 February 1874
Died: Homeplace, Hwy. 43, near Benvenue
8 February 1955


Married:  14 December 1904

born Wilson Co., N.C.                daughter of BUCHANAN HARPER
6 June 1882                                  and SALLIE GRIFFIN
died Nash Co., N.C                      born Nash Co., N.C..
19 July 1946                                  22 July 1884
died:  11 November 1941 [Nash County, NC]


Married:  11 April 1936

born Nash Co., N.C.                             of JOHN SIDNEY PROCTOR and
8 Sept. 1910                                           MARY ELIZABETH JONES
died Bertie Co., N.C.                            born Nash Co., N.C.
12 August 1971                                       2 Feb. 1909
died Elon College, NC
11 March 1994


Married:  27 August 1960; Allen St. Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC

Born: Roanoke Rapids, NC.          of JAMES CRESSWELL CAMPBELL,
Halifax County, NC                         Jr. and NAOMI VIOLA PARKER
14 January 1938                              born: Charlotte, NC 16 July 1938



Married: about 1706

ROBERT BELL –  ANN ANDREWS, daug. of Thomas Andrews, Sr.
b.  1683 [England]
d. 1738  [Bertie County, NC]  on his farm, north side of the Cashie River

Children of:

Robert, Jr.  Archibald  Isabel  John  Jean  GEORGE BELL, SR. = Debra  Penelope



children of:

George Bell, Jr.      WILLIAM BELL , SR.


WILLIAM BELL, SENIOR  (d. 23 February 1802)         =   ELIZABETH HANDLEY, daughter of JAMES HANDLEY

Children of

(1) JAMES BELL (died: 1792)  =   wife SARAH HAM;    (2) WILLIAM BELL, JR.;     (3) JOHN BELL


d.     1792

Children of:



J. LINDSEY BELL  [1792  – bet. 1860-70] – POLLY NEWSOM[E]
b. 1792 [Wayne County, NC]                    b.
d.  between 1860 ñ 1870                    d.  bet. 1840 and 1846

Children of:

JAMES H. BELL (b. 1822  d. 24 May 1864)   =   LUCINDA EVANS (b. 1827 d. 19 January 1906) JOHN W. BELL (b. 1820) – Rebecca    ELIZABETH (b. 1830)


JAMES H. BELL, SR. [1822 – 1864]  –   LUCINDA EVANS [1827 – 1906]

Children of:

(1) JOHN LINDSEY BELL [1855 – 1915] = DELLA J. AYCOCK [1853 – 1887];  (2) ELLA J (b. 1853)- Jos.  Horne;    (3)  MARY (b. 1857);

(4) WM J. (b. 1864);   (5)  JAMES H. BELL (b. 1860);   (6) JOSIAH BELL (b. 1857); and    (7) GEORGE BELL (b. 1872)


JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. [1855 – 1915]  –  DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK [1853 – 1887], daughter of JESSE and EDITH AYCOCK.

ALBERT TURNER BELL=MAMIE HARPER   Joseph Adrian Bell      Edith Irma Bell
b. June 6,1882    b. July 22, 1884         b. 3-24-1885 ;        b.1887d. 1887
d. July 19,1946    d. Nov. 11, 1941         d. 9-2-1950


EARL P. BELL, SR. = ALICE PROCTOR Edith Irma   Leslie    Annie J. Horace Albert
b. Sept. 8, 1910        b. Feb. 2, 1909     b. 1905         b.1907     b.1912     b. 1915
d. Aug. 12, 1971        d. 3-11-1993

William Hoyt         Frances Rose
b. 6-5-1917         b. 7-22-19

[in United States Census Records after 1850]

LINSEY BELL and his second wife WINNY [LIN] BELL appears in the U.S. Census of 1850 for Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  Both are listed as 58 years old, making their birth date 1792.  Four children are listed as living with them, two sons,  J. J. BELL, age 21, A.B. Bell, age 15 and two daughters, SALLY BELL, age 12 and A. LOUISA BELL, age 10.  While the evidence is not conclusive, it seems reasonable that the J.J. BELL listed in this census record is actually JAMES HENRY BELL, SR.  Another strong clue, supporting that theory, is that 15-year-old LUCINDA EVANS lives three farms away with her parents ELISHA EVANS and PATIENCE [WORRELL] EVANS.  These facts strongly suggest that JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. and LUCINDA EVANS, who are married in 1851, are living three farms a part in 1850.  Also, the A in A. B. Bell seems highly probably to have been ALBERT BELL.  Since A. B. BELL does not appear in the U.S. Census of 1860, in the relevant counties, it seems likely that he might have died prematurely.  Thus, my grandfather ALBERT TURNER BELL could have been named for his fatherís brother.

A LINDSAY [LINDSEY] BELL married WINNY LEN in Nash County, NC on January 12, 1850.  The witnesses were:  Joseph Barbee and William H. Smith [Source:  Marriage Bonds, Nash County, NC, page 14].  She would be his second wife.  On March 4, 1852, in the February Term of the Nash County Court, an Inventory is recorded for Thomas Winstead by David Winstead.  In the sale of the estate LINDSAY and WINNA BELL are buyers [Source; Watson, Abstracts of Nash County Court Minutes, page 281].  Subsequently, LINSEY BELL takes out a marriage license, but never returns it with SARAH THOMPSON on May 5, 1855 in Wilson County, NC [Source:  Marriage Register, Record of Maiden Names of Divorced Women, Wilson County, NC, 1855 – 1866].  Sarah Thompson would be the third wife of LINSEY BELL.  So, JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR [1855 – 1915] married twice:  DELLA AYCOCK  and LULA ROSE.  His grandfather, JOHN LINDSEY BELL [1792 – 1860s] married three times: POLLY NEWSOME, WINNY LEN and, perhaps, SARAH THOMPSON.

In the United States Census of 1860 for Wilson County, North Carolina, Black Creek Township,  JAMES BELL is listed as 35 years of age.  His occupation is listed as turpentine with real estate valued at $100 and a personal estate valued at $50.  LUCINDA EVANS BELL’S age is listed as 22.  The children are; ELLA J. BELL age 7, JOHN L. BELL age 5, MARY E. BELL age 3, and WILLIAM J. BELL age one month.[51]  My discovery of this Federal Census information was the first real breakthrough and occurred with the help of other members of the Bell Family.  In a letter from DAISY BELL NIMOCKS of Fayetteville, North Carolina, she encouraged me to look at records pertaining to the Bells in the Black Creek area of Wilson County, North Carolina.[52]  Also, my Uncle HORACE ALBERT BELL had driven over to the JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. family graveyard on the last farm he owned off Highway 43 near Benvenue, North Carolina and jotted down the birth and death information off of my great-grandfather’s tombstone.  JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR. and LULA ROSE BELL  were originally buried on this farm.  In 2002, in a moving of their remains negotiated by RAYMOND BELL, their final resting place became the Ricks-Bell Graveyard at Oak Level, Nash County, North Carolina.  The Bell Family owes Raymond a big thank you for his thoughtfulness in protecting their remains.

When  I began work in the Federal Census records I knew, thanks to Uncle Horace, that JOHN LINDSEY BELL was born May 20, 1855 and died June 10, 1915.  I was working in the Local History Room of the Charlotte, North Carolina Public Library on microfilmed Federal Census records recorded by The Latter Day Saints.  [Charlotte is the home town of my wife Donna]  In the Census of 1870 for Wilson County LUCINDA BELL is listed as the head of household and her age is 37.  The children are; ELLA J. BELL, age 16, JOHN BELL, age 15, MARY E. BELL age 12, JAMES BELL, age 6, and JOSIAH BELL, age 3.[53]  Notice that WILLIAM J. BELL, listed as one month old in the Federal Census of 1860 does not appear as a 10 year old in the Federal Census of 1870.  Undoubtedly, he died between 1860 and 1870.  In the Federal Census of 1880 for Wilson County, North Carolina,  JOHN L. BELL, age 26, is listed as the head of household.  LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL is identified as the widowed, mother age 50 (actually she 53).  The children listed are JAMES BELL age 14 and GEORGE BELL age 8.  Both are listed as brothers of JOHN L. BELL.[54]  Again, note that JOSIAH BELL, listed as age 3 in the Federal Census of 1870, does not appear as a 13 year old in the Federal Census of 1880.  This fact suggests that he probably died between 1870 and 1880.  JOHN L. BELL is listed as a unmarried farmer.  LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL died January 19, 1906 at the listed age of 79 years.  She is buried in the Black Creek Cemetery, Black Creek, North Carolina, Wilson County.[55] along with her son, JAMES HENRY BELL, JR.  I visited her grave with my father’s sister IRMA BELL PROCTOR, my wife, DONNA CAMPBELL BELL, Irma Proctor’s daughter, NELL GRAY PROCTOR MCCASKILL and Nell’s daughter JAN MCCASKILL during the summer of 1970.  The grave marker is still standing and in good order.  We are descendants of JAMES H. BELL, SR. and LUCINDA EVANS BELL’S son JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR.

JAMES H. BELL, SR., the son of J. LINSEY BELL and POLLY [NEWSOM(E)] BELL, was married to LUCINDA EVANS, daughter of ELISHA EVANS and PATIENCE [WORRELL] EVANS. .  The father of PATIENCE [WORRELL] EVANS was LEVI WORRELL, who appears in an 1815 Edgecombe County Tax List in District 4 [SOURCE:  David B. Gammon, 1815 TAX LIST, EDGECOMBE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA (1985), page 14.]  ELISHA EVANS and PATIENCE WORRELL were married on February 15, 1851 in Edgecombe County.[43]  The children of JAMES and LUCINDA EVANS BELL were ELLA J. BELL,  JOHN LINDSEY BELL, MARY E. BELL, WILLIAM J. BELL, JAMES H. BELL, JOSIAH BELL, AND GEORGE BELL.[44]  The Federal Censuses of 1860, 1870, and 1880 provide the following information on their children.

The Evans and Worrell families, with whom the Bells have intermarried, are primarily Edgecombe County families.  In 1779, Nash County was carved out of Edgecombe.  Mr. I.S. Inscoe, Nash Countyís most important historian, loved to tell stories about these early days.  We met while I was working in the North Carolina Archives and Library in Raleigh.  I remember him telling the story about how in those early days Nash County did not have a newspaper, which led some of the unkind citizens of Edgecombe to call them ìthe trash in Nash!î  Our families have spent most of the time since 1750 in the border areas of Edgecombe, Nash, Wayne and Wilson Counties.  Of course, this fact makes research more difficult since frequently our ancestors are not moving but rather the county boundaries are changing as the population moves and increases in density.


NAME                   BORN        DIED        COMMENT

1. ELLA J. BELL    1853                married JAMES H. BAKER on 17
January 1871 in the home of

2. JOHN LINDSEY BELL 1855     1915          buried Ricks-Bell Cemetery, E. of
DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK [1881]        Oak Level Baptist Church, Nash
2nd wife:  LULA ROSE [1889]            County, NC

3. MARY E. BELL     Oct. 1857    1926        married JOSEPH S. HORNE in                                     1878

4. WILLIAM J. BELL    1860                probably died in childhood bet. 1860-70

5. JAMES H. BELL[JR.] 1865            buried with LUCINDA EVANS                                     BELL at Black Creek, North                                         Carolina

6. JOSIAH BELL               1867            probably died in childhood bet. 1870-80

7. GEORGE BELL               1872            probably was illegitimate [45]

LUCINDA EVANS BELL was the daughter of ELISHA EVANS, SR. and PATIENCE [WORRELL] EVANS.  She was born in Edgecombe County and lived only three farms from LINSEY BELL in 1850.[46]  The ELISHA EVANS-PATIENCE WORRELL family appears in Wilson County in 1860 probably because they lived in the part of Edgecombe from which Wilson County was created in 1855.[47]  In the United States Census for 1850 in Edgecombe County, NC, the family of ELISHA and PATIENCE EVANS appears as family #536 on page 171.  The following information is provided.  ELISHA EVANS, age 46, is listed as Head of the Household with an occupation of “Laborer.”  His wife is PATIENCE EVANS, age 37.  Their children are: (1)  LUCINDA EVANS, age 15 [actually she is 23 years old); (2) JOSHUA EVANS, age 11;  (3) HARTWELL EVANS, age 10, (4) SALLY EVANS, age 9; (5)  ELISHA EVANS, age 5 and (6)  CENA EVANS, age 1.  [46a]  An ELISHA EVANS, [JR.], age 13, undoubtedly the son of ELISHA EVANS and PATIENCE WORRELL [EVANS], is listed in U.S. Census of 1860 for Wilson County, NC in Black Creek District living with the family of Jonas and Lisa Lamb.  Also, the 1860, U.S. Census for Wilson County, NC, Wilson District, lists  PATIENCE EVANS as being 50 years old, the Head of the Household with the occupation of a Day Laborer.  Also, living with her are two daughters SANIE EVANS, age 9, and NANCY EVANS, age 6.  She is living three farm ELIAS AND HARTWELL EVANS. [46b]


ELLA J. BELL, the oldest daughter of JAMES HENRY BELL and LUCINDA EVANS [BELL], the oldest sister of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, married JAMES H. BAKER on the 17th of January 1871 in the home of her mother LUCINDA EVANS BELL in Black Creek Township in Wilson County, NC.   ELLA BELL’S parents are listed as JAMES BELL and LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL.  His parents are listed as Crawford and Nancy Baker.  The couple was married by J. P. Barden.  [Source:  Wilson County, NC Marriage Bonds]  Ironically,  J.P. Barden, who is either a Justice of the Peace or a Preacher, is the man who paid  JAMES HENRY BELL $250 to substitute for him as a soldier in the Civil War. [Source:  Marriage Bonds, Wilson County, North Carolina]

MARY E. BELL, sister of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, married JOSEPH S. HORNE in 1878.  In the U.S. Census of 1880 for Black Creek Township in Wilson County, NC  JOSEPH S. HORNE is listed as 25 years of age, his wife MARY [BELL] HORNE is listed as 19 years of age and their son ROBERT HORNE is listed as one year old [Source:  United States Census of 1880, Wilson County, Black Creek Township, SupervisorÌs District #2, Enumeration District # 305, page 10, taken June, 1880].  The Census of 1890 burned in St. Louis and thus no information for Wilson County, NC is available.  In the U.S. Census of 1900, Wilson County, NC, Black Creek Township, page 5 lists on farm #350 the family of JOSEPH HORNE, age 48, born March 1852, married 22 years to MARY [BELL] HORNE age 46, born October 1857, married 22 years.  Their children are: [1]  ROBERT L. HORNE, son, age 20, born June, 1879; [2] Joseph S. Horne [Jr.], son, age 19, born January, 1881; [3]  Walter F. Horne, son, age 16, born November, 1883;  [4] James D. Horne, son, age 14, born August, 1885, named for his grandfather JAMES H. BELL; [5] Ashley Horne, son, age 13, born February, 1887; [6] Eva Horne, daughter, age 11, born July, 1888, named for her aunt; [7]  Grover Horne, son, age 8, born October, 1891;  [8]  FREDERICK HORNE, son, age 6, born August, 1893; and [9]  Gerrie Horne, daughter, age 4, born June, 1896.  The Census of 1910 for Black Creek Township in Wilson County, NC is unreadable.  In the U.S. Census of 1920, Wilson County, NC, Black Creek Township, Family #308 lists JOSEPH S. HORN, 69 years old as a farmer with wife MARY [BELL] HORN, age 63.  Their children are:  [1]  GROVER HORN, son, age 26, [2]  FRED HORN, son, age 23; and [3]  PAUL HORN, son age 21.  Everyone in the family can read and speak English and were born in North Carolina as were their parents.  All three boys are single but only GROVER HORN is listed as a farm laborer.  The section in which they are living is identified by the Census Taker as the Black Creek to Stantonsburg Road area.    Since the Census Takers go down the road in rural areas we know that their neighbors were – there is some focus on male neighbors in each family because the females will marry and their names will change making them difficult to identify in the subsequent censuses:  [1] #302  H. S. Paschal, age 31, the County Clerk,: [2] Larry Bass,  age 64 and Robert Bass, age 25;  [Source:  United States Census of 1920, Wilson County, North Carolina, Black Creek Township, Supervisor’s District #2, Enumeration District #100, Sheet 17, enumerated on 21, 22, and 223 January 1920 by W. C. Harper, Dwelling #298, Family #308 renting farm #271].  Family information collected by Irma Bell Proctor establishes that MARY BELL HORNE, died in 1926.  In fact, IRMA BELL PROCTOR at the age of 21 attended that funeral in Black Creek and remembers that she was buried on the farm where the funeral and dinner were held.  Also, Irma’s sources offered that in 1969 that the surviving members of that family were EVA HORNE, daughter of JOSEPH S. HORNE and MARY BELL HORNE, married a man whose surname was HIGH and the son of JOSEPH S. HORNE and MARY [BELL] HORNE,  PAUL HORNE who lived in Roanoke, Virginia.   Since we know for a fact that MARY BELL HORNE died in 1926 in Black Creek Township, Wilson County, North Carolina and JOSEPH S. HORNE does not appear in the Census of 1930 in either Black Creek or Stantonsburg Townships it seems certain that the family is dispersed by that date.  In fact, no one with the surname of Horne is found in Black Creek Township in 1930.  In Stantonsburg  Township, Wilson County, NC the family of WILLIAM H. HORNE, age 54 and JANE HORN age 51 is listed.  Interestingly,  two of their five children bear family names with a son named LINSEY HORNE, age 21 and a daughter name MARY E. HORNE, possibly for her aunt MARY E. BELL HORNE who died the year she was born, age 4 7/12.   However, the other census information does not list a WILLIAM HORNE born in 1876 in the JOSEPH and MARY [BELL] HORNE family.  Another possibility is that WILLIAM H. HORNE is a brother of JOSEPH D. HORNE.  It is also possible that LOUIS HORN, age 56 is a brother of JOSEPH D. HORNE  as well.  He is listed with his wife NEALY HORN, age 49 and seven children in Stantonsburg Township in the Census of 1930 living very close to WILLIAM HORNE.  [Source:  U.S. Census of 1930, Wilson County, NC, Stantonsburg Township, Supervisor’s District #3, Enumeration District #98-17,  Sheet #15m April 25, 1930].

In the U.S. Census for 1900 for Wilson County in Stantonsburg Township one finds JAMES H. BELL (JR.) renting a 100 acre farm, listed as Head of Household whose occupation is identified as a farmer.  He can read, write and speak English.  His mother and father were born in North Carolina.  His age is 34 with a birth date of September, 1865.  LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL is list as his mother, who can not read or write but speaks English.  She is listed as being the mother of seven children, four of whom are still living.  Her four surviving children would have been ELLA J. BELL [BAKER], JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR., MARY ELIZABETH BELL [HORNE] and JAMES HENRY BELL, JR.  Also, her mother (PATIENCE WORRELL) and father (ELISHA EVANS) were born in North Carolina.  According to this Census she was born in 1827 (no month provided) and is 73 years. [46c]  In 1901, at the age of 74, she applied for and received a pension to the State of North Carolina.  Her eligibility was exclusively that she was the surviving widow of a Confederate veteran who lost his life in the Battle of the Wilderness during 1864.  She died in 1906, at the age of 79, and is buried in Black Creek Cemetery in Black Creek, NC.

The mystery contained in the information provided in the 1900 Census on our family focuses on the birthdate of JAMES HENRY BELL, JR., which is listed as September, 1865.  If this information is correct, the Census Taker only records what the people at a particular home tell him, then JAMES HENRY BELL, JR. could not be legitimate since  JAMES HENRY BELL, SR.  dies on May 24, 1864 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The only information, passed down in our family, on a child of Lucinda’s being illegitimate centers on GEORGE BELL, born in 1872.  Without sensationalizing all of this, my best guess is that JAMES, JR. was born in September of 1864, not 1865, and his age is 35 rather than 34.  In these times working people often lost the month and even the year of their birth.  If his actual birth date is September, 1864 then his father JAMES HENRY BELL,SR. could have easily been home for the holidays during Christmas of 1863 on leave (count the months).  The Census of 1920 in Black Creek Township, Wilson County, North Carolina lists JOSEPH S. HORN, the husband of ELLA J. BELL, the sister of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR.

In May, 1862, the 55th North Carolina Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, North Carolina.  Companies of soldiers were recruited from several counties including Pitt, Wilkes, Cleveland, Burke, Catawba, Johnston, Alexander, Onslow, Franklin, Granville and Wilson.  JAMES H. BELL’s unit, Company A of the 55th North Carolina was staffed with officers and soldiers from Wilson County, NC.  It was first assigned the Department of North Carolina, then moved to Virginia, where it was assigned to General J. R. Davis, the nephew of Jefferson Davis, and Cookeís Brigade.  It fought with the Army of Northern Virginia from Gettysburg to Cold Harbor, served in the Petersburg trenches south of the James River, and took part in the operations at Appomattox Court House, the Southern surrender in April, 1865.  The regiment lost 31% of the 640 men engaged at Gettysburg, PA and 59% of the 340 soldiers who fought at The Wilderness (May, 1864), near Fredericksburg, VA.  At Appomattox, it surrendered four officers and seventy-seven men.  The date?  It was on April 9, 1865.

There is a sizable quantity of information on JAMES HENRY BELL.  and was born in Wayne County, North Carolina. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall in 1862 when he was muster into the army of the Confederate States of America   He enlisted in the North Carolina State Troops on May 8, 1862 in Wilson County and was mustered into the service May 30, 1862 at Camp Mangum in Kinston, North Carolina.  His service record lists him as a substitute for John P. Barden, probably his cousin, in the 55th North Carolina Infantry, Company A from Wilson County.  One half of the 55th North Carolina would die in three days at Gettysburg from July 1 to 3, 1863.  At Gettysburg the 55th North Carolina Infantry is apart of the Fourth Brigade, along with the 2nd, 11th, and 42nd Mississippi Infantry under the command of Brigader General Joseph R. Davis.  The 4th Brigade is apart of Heth’s Division led by Major General Henry Heth.  Heth’s Division is apart of the 3rd Army Corps commanded by Major General A. P. Hill, which was apart of The Army of Northern Virginia commanded by General Robert E. Lee.  After Gettysburg, the Army of Northern Virginia is reorganized and the 55th North Carolina was to fight in the  Wilderness Campaign, and then at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Appomattox Court House.  Unfortunately, JAMES H. BELL was wounded in the right arm during the Battle of the Wilderness in  May 5, 1864 and died in the Confederate hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 24, 1864.[48]  He is buried in the Confederate Burial Ground in the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The location of the grave is in Section 197, Row 4, Number 9.  For our family, surely, his grave site is hallowed ground.  The inscription on the tombstone reads, “JAMES BELL, A 55 N.C.”[49]  When JOHN LINDSEY BELL became 9 years old on May 20, 1864 his father JAMES was only four days from dying in the Confederate Hospital in Lynchburg.  JAMES HENRY BELL died at the age of thirty nine.  His wife LUCINDA applied to the State of North Carolina for a pension in 1901 stating that JAMES BELL had been wounded in the right arm during the Battle of the Wilderness from which he died.  Her application was approved [50].  A rumor, in our family that proved to be false, was that he was killed in the Civil War and the family sent a horse and wagon north to Virginia to bring his body back to Black Creek.  His remains are under a tombstone, in a neat military row, in the Confederate Burial Ground in Lynchburg, Virginia.  I have a treasured picture of my son TIMOTHY STUART BELL and myself at his grave with a hand on his tombstone.  I not sure that any other descendent of JAMES HENRY BELL has ever visited his grave.  I recommend it to estimate where you really stand on the Civil War.

Between May 5, 1864 and May 25, 1864 our grandfather, my great-great grandfather, JAMES HENRY BELL , SR. lived the agony of being a wounded and dying man.  He had received a wound in the right arm on May 5 in the Battle of the Wilderness, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, and subsequently was transported west, along with 10,000 other wounded men from that battle, to the hospital complexes in Lynchburg.  It would be his final resting place.  For JAMES HENRY BELL,SR. died on May 25, 1864.  He fell victim, according to his military records in the National Archives, to the complications produced by his battlefield wounds.  His listed cause of death was “Vulnus Sclop.”  This disease specification is a shorten form for “Vulnus Sclopeticum” or death caused by an infection resulting from a gunshot wound.  It is highly probably it was an embedded minie ball perhaps removed by the surgeon for the 55th North Carolina regiment.  Or if, he were transported from near Fredericksburg in northeastern Virginia all the way west to Lynchburg, the trip alone would have created severe trama.  Perhaps his wound was treated at the battlefield.  If that is true, it must have been high on his right arm.  Why?  Amputation was the standard medical procedure, on both sides, for severe wounds on an extremity.  Actually, this procedure, in spite of its painful and gruesome nature, was one of the survivable “cures” common to Civil War-era medicine.  Another possible explanation is that since the hospitals in Lynchburg were overwhelmed in days immediately after the Battle of the Wilderness the doctors were unable to attend his wound until it was too late.  The final report on him appears in a “Report of Sick and Wounded in General Hospital No. 2 at Lynchburg, Virginia at the end of May, 1864.  Without a doubt, during these twenty days, his unrelenting pain and suffering puts in stark relief the limits of human imagination.

In 1901, the application by his wife, LUCINDA [EVANS] BELL, my great, great grandmother, to the State of North Carolina for a  pension as the widow of a Confederate veteran she indicates that he died from a wound to his right arm received in the Wilderness.  In our time, he would have probably survived and the history of our family might be different.  Such was not his fate or ours.  Unfortunately, for him, in the late spring and early summer of 1864, the Confederate hospitals in Lynchburg were over run with wounded and dying men. At the moment when the Southern capacity for administering medical care was the most overwhelmed JAMES BELL arrived in Lynchburg to spend nineteen agonizing days fighting for his life.  The South had too few doctors and nurses throughout the war and the crisis was most acute in the spring and summer of 1864.  The limits on their medical knowledge made using one of these facilities dangerous at any time.  They knew very little about communicable diseases or the lethal dangers inherent in putting wounded and sick men in close quarters.  Pus in a wound was known as “laudable pus.”  Amputation was the preferred “remedy” for severe wounds on an extremity.  In fact, the fight at Gettysburg produced over eight wagon loads of amputated arms and legs.  The horror of his condition during these days and the desperate feelings he must have felt as death neared can only be imagined.  In a time when family and home constituted the essence of human existence he was a man dying in a strange place, under severe conditions, far from his family and friends.  No record exists to document his specific fate.  We do not know, the specific treatment he received or the people with whom he associated during these days.   We do not know who was present when he died or who buried him.  I have located no picture of him or, for that matter, one of the 55th North Carolina Infantry, Company A from Wilson County, North Carolina.  The pictures are mostly of officers in the surviving regimental histories.  Perhaps some record exists in the histories of the Mississippi men with whom the 55th North Carolina fought.  I doubt it.  However, it is obvious that the man whose name all of us bear and whose descendants we are, died in a horrible way, in awful place, with sick, injured and dying strangers.

The Fifty-Fifth North Carolina Regiment was organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, North Carolina in the early part of 1862.  The Companies in the Regiment were:  Company A from Wilson County, NC (in which JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. served); Company B from Wilkes County; Company C from Cleveland County, Company E from Pitt County; Company F from Cleveland, Burke and Catawba Counties; Company G from Johnston County; Company H from Alexander and Onslow Counties; Company I from Franklin County and Company K from Granville County.  The top Regimental officers were: John Kerr Connelly of Yadkin County was Colonel; Captain Maurice T. Smith of Granville County was Lieutenant-Colonel and Captain A. H. Belo of Salem from Forsyth County was Major.  Eventually due to death, injury and imprisonment A. H. Belo became the regiment’s Colonel.  After Gettysburg, the imprisonment of the senior Captain in the regiment resulted in the regiment having no field officers.  Other officers were George W. Blout from Wilson County was Quartermaster, Rev. William Royall of Wake Forest College was the Chaplain.  Dr. James Smith of Granville County initially served as Surgeon and Dr. Isaac G. Cannady of Granville County served as Assistant Surgeon.  James Smith resigned in December, 1862 and was replaced by Dr. B. T. Greene of Franklin County, NC.  The regiment would be severely crippled at Gettysburg through the loss of half of its fighting men, for example, all of the officers for the 55th were either killed, wounded or captured at Gettysburg.  In 1863, in a series of correspondences between General Lee and others, there was discussion of taking the surviving men and putting them in a newly formed regiment.  However, this chatter did not result in any change and the remainder of the regiment fought on to surrender at Appomattox Court House, west of Richmond, in April, 1865.

On May 8, 1862, JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. was enrolled for active service in the Confederate Army by G. W. Blout in Wilson, North Carolina.  He joined, not as a conscripted man, but rather as a substitute for John P. Bardin, who paid him $250 to go in his place.  He was muster into the service on May 30, 1862 at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, by A. S. Calloway “for the war.”  He is listed as 40 years olds.  His height is 5 foot 6 inches.  His occupation is listed as “farmer.”  Once mustered into the service he became a Private in the 55th North Carolina Infantry, Company A.  After drill and training the regiment was assigned to the Department of the Pamlico, at the time under the command of General James G. Martin, remaining there during the summer and early fall of 1862.  At this time, it was on duty around Kinston and in Trenton.  The regiment came under fire for the first time on the August 7, 1862.  In early September, 1862, the regiment marched northeast for a surprise attack on Washington, North Carolina.  Between Greenville and Washington, the 55th was joined by the 8th and 17th regiments and an artillery company.  On the morning of 6th of September, these three regiments attacked the Federal pickets and entered the town with a “Rebel Yell.”  These North Carolina troops held the town for a day but under the fire of Federal gunboats and infantry with long range rifles they were forced to withdraw.  The old smooth-bore muskets of the North Carolina troops were no match for the more modern Federal weaponry.  The 55th North Carolina Regiment casualties were in this battle were seven killed and eight wounded.  They did not engage Federal troops again in this section of North Carolina.

In early October, the regiment did picket duty at Wise’s Fork, between Kinston and New Bern and was subsequently ordered to Virginia.  For a while the regiment did provost duty in the City of Petersburg, VA.  It was formed into a brigade with three regiments from Mississippi, the 2nd, the 11th and 42nd under the command of General Joseph R. Davis, nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  When Joe Davis was commissioned a general in September of 1862 charges of nepotism flew and his nomination was rejected once.  Unsurprisingly, politics had much to do with command positions in the Conferate armed forces.  As the military history of the 55th NC Regiment proves a shortage of competent commanders in the field was a persistent problem throughout the war.  The 55th regiment remained in this brigade until January, 1865, when it was transferred to Cooke’s Brigade.  In early 1864, the 26th Mississippi Regiment and the 1st Confederate Battalion were brought into the brigade.  Davis’ Brigade was a part of Heth’s Division of General A. P. Hill’s Third Corps.

In the Spring of 1863, General Longstreet’s Army carried regiments of Davis’ Brigade with him to Suffolk, Virginia.  An incident occurred near Suffolk that triggered a confrontation between officers of the 55th North Carolina Regiment and officers for some of Longstreet’s Alabama troops.  It seems one evening about dark a brigade of Federal troops captured a heavy piece of Confederate artillery.  The 55th Regiment was responsible for the protection of this battery and the officers of certain Alabama troops suggest that the 55th had not upheld its duty.  After a meeting the officers of the 55th Regiment, they challenged the responsible Alabama officers to a duel.  Two officers were selected from each side and, unbelievably, a duel commenced among officers leading men on the same side.  Dueling had been outlawed in every Southern state with little effect.  The honor of the 55th rested on the shoulders of Colonel Connally and Major Belo who challenged two Alabama Captains Terrell and Cousins.  One duel was fought with double barreled shotguns, loaded with buckshot.  The second duel was fought with Mississippi rifles at forty paces.  All four fired their weapons with shots hitting either the clothing or hats of the combatants.  Fortunately, Finally, Alabama Caption Terrell conceded that perhaps he had incorrect information about the responsibilities of the 55th, he withdrew his charges, honor had been served and there was no further hostilities.

Actually, he was wounded and died after the Southern “cause” was hopeless.  As the tragic history of his unit, the North Carolina 55th Infantry, Company A, documents the battered Southern armies had little hope of reversing the disastrous outcome of Gettysburg.  The Southern defeat there revealed the desperate nature of Lee’s attempt to invade the North and cut Washington off from the rest of the Union.  In fact, during the first days of July, 1863, the 55th North Carolina Infantry lost half of its men at Gettysburg .  The battle seems to have been a defining moment for his unit.  By July of 1863, the 55th North Carolina Infantry was “teamed” with the 2nd Mississippi because Confederate leadership never completely trusted the troops from the Old North State since we were slow to leave the Union after Lincoln’s election and early in the war eastern North Carolina had been a significant recruiting area for the Union Army, with many North Carolinians joining because of their loyalty to the Union.  In Bertie County, where I was raised, about 60% of its men fought for the Confederacy and 40% fought for the Union.   In fact, the level of recruit was so serious that the state’s first war time governor sent the State Militia to the swamps to stop it.

In the miserable days after that battle, the surviving part of Lee’s Army was slowly winding south to cross the Potomac and fight another day.  Eighteen miles of wagons, horses, exhausted survivors mixed with wounded and dying men in heat that soared into the mid-90s and the humidity so thick you could cut it was the fate of this army.  The moans and screams of dying men were a constant in this march.  Periodically, a wagon would stop, a doctor would amputate a leg or arm or even worse someone died and had to be buried.  Bruce Catton described these days after Gettysburg for Lee’s Army by saying that it was as close to hell on earth as men get.  Meade, the Union commander, either did not seem to fully comprehend the severity of the blow inflicted on Lee’s Army, suffered from a McClellan-like case of the “slows,” or through his own incompetence just missed the opportunity to end the war.  Regardless, Lee, the South and our grandfather crossed the Potomac and survived!  Of course, the carnage and suffering witnessed by these surviving men for next two years documents the considerable will of the South and the common sense of our leadership.  It was hopeless after Gettysburg, no miracles were available to reverse the outcome of that battle.  So, desperate men and their leaders push on.  Human beings must accept responsibility for their actions.  I wish I could find it in me to forgive the leaders of the Confederacy for fighting on beyond reason, but I can not!  As far as I am concerned my great, great grandfather died unnecessarily after the fate of the South had been decisively visited upon us.  While I venerate his memory, I can not begin to understand his actions.  He was paid $250 by another man to take his place in this fight.  The rich man survived and my grandfather died in an awful, painful and humiliating way.  Obviously, he was a free man and made a voluntary choice.  What I know about his state of mind in 1862 is only available in Census records of 1860.  In that census, his occupation is listed as “Turpentine.”  His declarable income is $40.  Most of his family can not read or write.  Obviously, his family is scraping to make it.  $250 was a considerable amount of money in those days.  Perhaps he fought to give his family great opportunity, however, I doubt it.  After Gettysburg his actions are even a bigger mystery.  He witnessed half of his division killed in a single battle.  He saw the carnage of Pickett’s charge.  It would be an unfair expectation to require that he appreciate the unavoidable fate of the Confederacy after all of this bloodshed.  Yet, he does bear some responsibility for his fate.  He was a foot soldier from a humble background, not a person whose opinion decides anything in the “grand strategy” of the war.  Other men, of greater wealth and power, made the decision to fight on, I hold them responsible.

The crisis that swirled around JAMES BELL’s unit, in the days immediately after the battle, seems to have flowed from the excuse-making and usual efforts to assign blame for the carnage that Gettysburg visited upon the South.  A debate over the survival of the regiment was dropped as the fighting intensified.

How did JAMES HENRY BELL, SR. become injured in early May of 1864?  The military history of the 55th North Carolina Infantry records what happened on May 5.  Once Grant took command of the Union Army in Virginia he reversed the frustrating tactics pursued by General McClellan.  Rather than excessively worry about preparation and over estimate the strength of Lee’s Army, he began to pound towards Richmond, the Confederate capital.  He knew that he had more fighting men and equipment than Lee.  He was confident that this unrelenting pressure, regardless of the casualties, would produce a victory for the Union.  He was right!

As Grant attempted to quickly march the Army of the Potomac through the Wilderness, General Lee moved his army, as rapidly as possible, to intercept and fight in this entangled thicket do take away General Grant’s superior numbers.  On May 5, 1864, the task that fell to the 55th North Carolina Infantry was to stop the advance of Grant’s Army.  In the regimental history of the Fifty-Fifth Regiment the following description, of the battle in which our grandfather received what proved to be his fatal wound, is offered:

On May 4, 1864, the regiment, Colonel Belo, now recovered from his
wounds (suffered at Gettysburg), commanding, (the 55th North Carolina
Regiment) left its camp near Orange Court House, and commenced its
march to the Wilderness.  It was going down the Plank road towards
Fredericksburg, (VA)  about 2:30  o’clock in the afternoon of the 5th,
when it was discovered that the enemy were advancing up the road.  Heth’s
Division was formed into a line of battle, not for the purpose of advancing or
bringing on an engagement, but as General Lee said to (General) A. P. HILL,
to hold the enemy in check until Longsteet’s Corps and Anderson’s Division
of A. P. Hill’s Corps should come up.  Davis’ Brigade, (the one in which JAMES
HENRY BELL, SR. was serving), formed on the left side of the road; our regiment
was to the right of center of the brigade and on the crest of a small hill or ridge.
It was in a dense forest of small trees; the hill in our front sloped gradually to a
depression or valley which was a few yards wide, and then there was a gradual
incline on the opposite side until it reached a point of about the same altitude as
that occupied by us, about 100 yards from our line.  We had 340 men, including non-commissioned officers, in our regiment.  About 3:30 o’clock, our skirmish line was driven in and the first line of the Federal force charged, but they got no further than the crest of the hill in front of us, and were repulsed with great loss; from then until sunset, they charged us, and were repulsed every one of them.  Our  line never  wavered.  The officers and men of the regiment realized that the safety of the army (Lee’s Army) depended upon our holding the enemy in check until forces left behind could come up, and there was a fixed determination to do it, or to die.  About 6 o’clock the enemy were pressing us so heavily with successive lines of fresh troops it was thought that they would annihilate us before nightfall, and a conference of general officers on the field determined that it would probably become necessary as a last resort, to make a vigorous and impetuous charge.   .   . to drive them back.  (The charge was not called).  .   .   .   .about sunset the firing had nearly ceased in our front, and Thomas’ Georgia Brigade of Wilcox’s Division came in and relieved us, and we were sent to the right of the road where we rested for the night.  We had held the enemy in check.  Not one yard of our line had given away one foot during the three hours the fearful onslaughts had been made upon us, but of the 340 of the regiment, 34 lay dead on the line where we fought and 167 were
wounded [one of whom was JAMES HENRY BELL, SR.,  Hoyt and Louis
Bell’s great grandfather, my great, great grandfather].  The Sergeant of
the ambulance corps counted the next day 157 dead Federal soldiers in front of our

On May 6, early in the morning before sunrise, the Federal forces opened battle on
our left before Davis’ Brigade was in line, and while our arms were yet stacked, and
forced the troops to the left of us, and our brigade along with them, back upon and along the road. [Fresh troops on both sides renewed the battle on May 6.  On that day, during the hand-to-hand combat in the thick woods caught on fire and many men were killed by the resulting fire.]  Our regiment was not engaged further during the Wilderness fight.

Our brigade composed part of the rear guard of the army on its march from the
Wilderness to Spottsylvania.   .   .  .  [Source: written by Charles M. Cooke, Adjutant,
“Fifty-Fifth Regiment,” in Walter Clark, editor, HISTORIES OF THE SEVERAL
COMMANDS, Volume III  (Goldsboro, NC:  Nash Brothers, Book and Job Printers,
1901), pages 303 – 305].  On the front cover of this regimental history are the crossed flags of the State of North Carolina and the Confederacy and in bold print “First at Bethel, Farthest to the Front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, Last at Appomattox.”  Also, this wording is found on the Confederate Memorial Statute in Raleigh.

The 55th North Carolina Regiment was destroyed in two battles, Gettysburg and the Wilderness, with only two officers and less than one hundred men surviving until Appomattox.  In fact, in a series of letters between the top officers of the Confederate Army there was a proposal to disband the regiment and place the remaining men in other regiments.  The proposal received immediate objection by the regimentís officers and men.  The idea evaporated as the intensity of the war escalated.

The last days of the war, the first four months of 1865, occurred in North Carolina.  After the burning of Columbia, SC, the fighting amounted to little more than a mop up for Federal forces under General Sherman.  The Confederacy could no longer sustain an army in the field.  The Southern resistance was reduced to bands of men, soldiers and partisans.   After the fall of Petersburg, the Confederate bands of men in North Carolina were essentially cut off from Leeís Army.  This defeat severed the Wilmington ñ Weldon Railroad connection to Confederate forces in Virginia..  Resistance was hopeless.  These men experienced the full measure of defeat in war.  They could no longer mount a competent military response to Grantís or Shermanís Armies.  The South had been cut up into pieces, like a big pie.  The decision-making apparatus had collapsed.  Most devastatingly, these men could not protect their homeland or their families.

JOHN LINDSEY BELL, son of JAMES H. BELL and LUCINDA EVANS BELL, was first married to DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK, daughter of JESSE and EDITH AYCOCK.  The marriage occurred at the home of Turner Joyner, where DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK worked as a cook, in Black Creek, North Carolina on January 27, 1881.  On the marriage certificate JAMES and LUCINDA BELL are identified as the parents of JOHN L. BELL.  Also, JESSE and EDITH AYCOCK are identified as the parents of DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK.  Of these four parents JAMES BELL and EDITH AYCOCK are listed as dead and JESSE AYCOCK and LUCINDA EVANS as living.  JOHN BELL was listed as 24 years of age and DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK 25 years of age as of the date of marriage.[56]  Actually, JOHN LINDSEY BELL was 25 years old on January 27, 1881 as was DELLA AYCOCK.  He turned 26 on May 20, 1881.   The witnesses for the wedding were:  Turner Joyner, John Brooks, and Elijah Edgeston. [Source: Wilson County, NC Marriage Certificates, date of register 26 January 1881].   JESSE AYCOCK’S second wife was Mary Pike.  From the Federal census information DELLA AYCOCK seems to have never lived with her father and his second wife Mary Pike.  There are several other records identifying JAMES H. BELL and LUCINDA EVANS BELL as the parents of JOHN LINDSEY BELL.  First, on the death certificate of JOHN LINDSEY BELL, dated 10 June 1915, JAMES BELL and LUCINDA EVANS are Iisted as his mother and father by PAUL VERNON BELL.[57]  Second, the Federal Census of 1860 for Wilson County lists the oldest son of JAMES and LUCINDA BELL to be JOHN L. BELL.    His age listed in the Federal Census of 1860 is 5 years which corresponds with the May 20, 1855 date of birth specified on his tombstone.  JOHN LINDSEY BELL had three children by DELLA JOSEPHINE AYCOCK; ALBERT TURNER BELL, JOSEPH ADRIAN BELL, and EDITH IRMA BELL.   JOHN LINDSEY BELL, SR, at the age 34, married LULA ROSE, at the age 16 on 30 October 1889.  Both the bride and the groom are listed as residents of Black Creek, NC.  The marriage was prformed by David Daniel, Justice of the Peace, with  the witnesses listed as J. L. Newsom, Louis H. Barnes and T. J. Pate [Source:  Index Register of Marriages.  Wilson County, NC, 1855 – 1903].   In his second marriage with LULA ROSE He had ten children; CHARLES ERNEST,  PAUL VERNON, JOHN LINDSEY, JR., WILLIAM LUTHER, JAMES T., LEE HAYDEN, DAISY, LILLIE, ATLAS M., and MADDIE RUTH BELL.


As previously mentioned JAMES BELL’S wife was SARAH HAM.[95]  SARAH HAM BELL was the daughter of WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR and his wife PRUDENCE.[96]  WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR was probably born in Surry County, Virginia.  In the early records of York County, Virginia JEROME HAM is listed as the first husband of SIBELLA HUBARD HAM.[97]  Also, he is listed in 1658 in the Virginia House of Burgess’ levy for York County with 4730 pounds of tobacco.[98]  In 1717, JEROME HAM appears in the administration of an estate.  The earliest record in York County is the identification of JOSEPH HAM as a witness for a will in 1638.[99]  Other HAMS identified in the 1700s are MANUEL HAM in 1708 in Westmoreland County, Virginia and SAMUEL HAM in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in 1738.[100]  In Amelia County, Virginia, GEORGE HAM is listed in the poll of 1768. [101]  Also, in Amelia County, GEORGE and THOMAS HAM are witnesses to wills.[102]  The first identification of WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR in North Carolina are land grants in Edgecombe County.

A WILLIAM HAM first appears in the purchase of land in Lawnes Creek Parish, Surry County, Virginia in 1717.[103]  In 1738, WILLIAM HAM acquires two tracts of 230 acres of land in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  One grant was on “the south side of the Tar River and on the north side of Town Creek . . . (line) running down the river to the mouth of Town Creek.”[104]  In 1744 and 1752, WILLIAM HAM receives grants of land in Beaufort County, North Carolina.[105]  In 1755 and 1757, he receives grants in Johnston County, North Carolina.[106]  Also, in Johnston County there are conveyances of land; in 1748 from Robert Humphreys to WILLIAM HAM, JR., in 1752 from William Baker to WILLIAM HAMM, and other undated conveyances. [107]  In the Colonial Records for North Carolina, WILLIAM HAM on November 20, 1744 in proving his right to land in Beaufort County lists seven whites in his household.[108]  In the 1769 Tax List for Dobbs County is listed WILLIAM HAMM, SENIOR and son HENRY.  The negroes listed were Harry, Caesar, Dill and Pegg.  Also, listed is WILLIAM HAMM (undoubtedly WILLIAM HAM, JR.) with one white poll taxable.[109]  There are two Granville land grants for WILLIAM HAMM, SENIOR in Dobbs County in 1764 and 1767. [110]  WILLIAM HAMM received 1937 acres of land in Dobbs County between 1764 and 1767.[87]  In the 1786 Tax List for Wayne County the HAMS listed are: (1) WILLIAM HAM, SR. – 275 acres; (2) RICHARD HAM – 275 acres; (3) WILLIAM HAM, JR. – 150 acres; (4) HENRY HAM – 150 acres; and (5) ERESTUS HAM – 140 acres.[111]  It should be remembered that Wayne County was formed in part from Dobbs County in 1779.  The land grants to WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR in Dobbs County suggests the probable geographic area in which he lived in Wayne County.  In February, 1764 he is granted five hundred fifty-five acres in Dobbs County located on “the fork of Bear Creek. . .to James Spears’ line. .running to a maple in Peters Branch . . . to Williamson’s line. . . to his own line . . . then to William Williamson’s line.”  Then in October, 1767, a land grant in Dobbs beginning “in the fork of Bear (Baire) Creek beginning at a pine on William Brierly’s second corner. . . standing close by the side of the marsh of the north prong of said Bair (Bear) Creek. . . to William Walker’s line….” Also, in October, 1767 a grant of land in Dobbs on “the north side of the Neuse River and the northeast side of Bair (Bear) Creek and both sides of Ready Branch beginning at a pine in Simon Turner’s line… running to William Faircloth’s corner….”  Finally, in October, 1767 a land grant in Dobbs to William Ham, Senior “between the Nuce (Neuse) River and the Great Contentney in the Fork of Bair (Bear) Creek at the head of Peters’s Branch. . . .” In this final grant is recorded that WM HAM, JR. and HENRY HAM carried the chain and were bearers.[112]  There were several grants for WM HAM, JR. in Johnston County.[113]  In Wayne County there were land grants for HENRY, RICHARD, ZACHARIAH and WILLIAM HAM, JR.[114]

In the 1776 listing of soldiers receiving bounties for military service the name of WILLIAM HAM appears.[115]  In the 1790 census for the New Bern District in Wayne County the following Hams are listed:

NAME                FWM         FWM        FWF    All    Slaves
16 & up    under 16            others
1. WILLIAM HAM, SR.    1            _    3     -9
2. William Ham, Jr.        2                3     6         –    –
3   Richard Ham        1                    5    1         –    –
4. Zachariah Ham        1                2     1     1
5.  Henry Ham        1                3    4     1
6.  Erastes Ham        1                1     3      1

In the 1780 Tax List for Dobbs County taken in District 10, an area in present-day Greene County near Snow Hill is listed WILLIAM HAM.  He is living in John Granger’s District, Estate Number 76 with a value of 400 pounds.[117]  In summary, the evidence indicates an intercounty movement by the HAMS in North Carolina of Edgecombe, Beaufort, Johnston, Dobbs, and Wayne respectively in the 1700s.
About 1795, WILLIAM HAM, SR. migrated to Darlington District, South Carolina with daughters PATIENCE PACKER, KEZIA HAM, and son HENRY HAM. The will of WILLIAM HAM, SR. is recorded in Darlington Court House, South Carolina in June, 1799.  The family members identified in the will are: PRUDENCE HAM as his wife; KEZIA HAM, PATIENCE PACKER, ELIZABETH ANDREWS, and SARAH BELL as his daughters; and RICHARD HAM, HENRY HAM, and ZACHARIAH HAM as his sons.[118]  The HAM ancestral line provable by document is:


SARAH F JAMES BELL Wm. Jr. Richard Zachariah Henry Restus Patience (Packer) Eizabeth (Andrews)



There are several theories concerning the Newsom family in North America. Probably the first reference is to “WILLIAM NEESUM aged 21 years” who came to Virginia in the ship “George” around 1635.[119]  WILLIAM NEWSOM is granted 550 acres of land on May 3, 1636 “in the County of James City toward Sunken Marsh.” The grant was for transporting eleven persons to Virginia.  Among the eleven persons were: his first wife Penelope Ramsay; his second wife Sarah Fisher; and his wife at the time of the grant, Elizabeth Wilson.  The grant was renewed August 26, 1643.  This geographic area later became apart of Surry County, Virginia upon the formation of the county.  In the latter 1600s and 1700s there are numerous references to the NEWSOM FAMILY in Surry, Isle of Wight, Sussex, Lancaster, and Southampton Counties, Virginia.  The connection between the Virginia NEWSOMS and those eventually located in Northampton, Dobbs, and Wayne Counties, North Carolina is not explicit in the documents.

One of the earliest references in North Carolina is to THOMAS NORSEM as a witness to the will of Lawrence Gonsolvo on July 2, 1698. [120]  In the list of Jurymen for Bertie and Edgecombe Counties on February 25, 1739, Joel Newsom is listed.[121]  In the list of men responding in the Spanish Alarm in 1748 under the command of William Dry is JOHN NEWSUM.[122]  The Bells intermarry with the Newsoms in the early 1800s.  The wife of J. Lindsey Bell was Polly Newsom, the daughter of JOAB and ELIZABETH NEWSOM.  POLLY NEWSOM is identified as a daughter of JOAB NEWSOM in the settlement of his estate.[123]  JOAB NEWSOM was the son of WILLIAM and MARY NEWSOM.[124]  These NEWSOMS moved from Northampton County to Johnston, Dobbs, and Wayne Counties.  In the Minutes and Marriage Records for the Contentnea Monthly Meeting of Quakers in Wayne County in 1772, “WILLIAM NEWSOM, wife, and children received on certificate from Northampton County, North Carolina [125]  This evidence in combination strongly suggests that WILLIAM NEWSOM was the son of JOEL NEWSOM of Northampton County.  Supporting evidence exists in the will of JOEL NEWSUM which is probated in February Court in Northampton County in 1752.  JOEL NEWSUM identifies Hosea, John, David, Joel, William, and Isaac as his sons.  He had one daughter, Mary Newsum.[126]  The family of WILLIAM and MARY NEWSOM in Wayne County was: JOAB NEWSOM born December 8, 1770; CHARITY NEWSOM born September 27, 1775; JOSEPH NEWSOM born August 10, 1777; MARY NEWSOM born November 20, 1779; PHERIBY NEWSOM born December 22, 1780; and JORDAN NEWSOM born March 1, 1785.[127]   JOEL NEWSOM probably had a brother MOSES NEWSOM who received a land grant in Northampton County in 1752 for 480 acres.[128]   JOEL and JOHN NEWSOM received land grants in Johnston County, North Carolina in the 1770s, 1780s, and the 1790s.[129]  In the 1769 Tax List for Dobbs County, JOEL NEWSOM is listed with one white poll taxable and DAVID NEWSOM with one white poll taxable.[l30]  In the Census of 1790 in New Bern District for Johnston County is listed JOEL NEUSUM with one free white male 16 and up, one free white female, and two slaves.[l31]  Also, PATIENCE NEUSUM is listed with three white females and four slaves.[132]

The Newsoms listed in the Census of 1790 in Wayne County are:

NAME            FWM         FWM        FWF     All        Slaves
16 & uP     Under 16        others
*David Neusam            1            –        –
*David Nusum         2         3         5        –        –
*William Nusum    2         3        4        –    1
*Joel Nousum         3         2        3        –        –

A comparison of the Quaker records and census information suggests that the WILLIAM NUSUM listed above is the father of JOAB NEWSOM.[134]  JOAB NEWSOM would have been 20 years old in 1790.  In the settlement of JOAB NEWSOM’S estate in 1828 and 1829, ELIZABETH NEWSOM is identified as his wife, with sons Simon, Simpson, William, and Richard.  The daughters listed are BETSY ANN, ADY and POLLY NEWSOM BELL. [135] In the Estate Papers of JOAB NEWSOM in Wayne County in 1828 his wife Elizabeth receives land as apart of her dower located on Bear Creek, the Great Branch, and Peters’ Branch.[136]  POLLY NEWSOM BELL, wife of J. LINDSEY BELL receives property “(beginning) at a maple on Bear Creek, to Ady Newsom’s line. . .to a stake on her corner (BELLS line) then south . . . to the run of board tree . . .then down the meanders of the same Bear Creek, then down the meanders of the same to the first station containing one hundred and eleven acres and a half.[137]  In the division of JOAB NEWSOM’S estate, LINDSEY BELL received two grants of money.  Also, in the sale of property, LINDSEY BELL is a frequent buyer.[l38]  His purchases were cattle, hogs, plows, and bushels of wheat.  The Newsom ancestral line provable by document is:

JOEL NEWSOM            =
b. either in Surry Co.,
Va. or Northampton Co.,
North Carolina
d. Northampton Co.,

WILLIAM NEWSOM = MARY     Hosea     John     David     Joel     Isaac     Mary
b. Northampton Co.
d. Wayne Co., N.C.

JOAB NEWSON    =  ELIZABETH     Charity     Joseph     Mary     Pheriby     John
b.  Northampton Co.,NC
d.  Wayne Co., N.C,1828

POLLY NEWSOM         =  J. LINDSEY BELL     Simon      Simpson      William

Richard   Ady(male)   Betsy Ann

APPENDIX 3  [Bells online can download all the research on the Newsome Family, which goes back five generations in Europe prior to their descendants coming to America.]


WILLIAM NEWSON [b. 1647/48]  = ANNE SHEPPARD [b. 1644/45]

JOHN NEWSOM     =  SARAH CRAWFORD [both of Surry County, VA]

JOEL NEWSOM  =  wife:  REBECCA DICKENSON [both of Surry County, VA]

WILLIAM NEWSOM [Surry Co., VA, Northampton Co., Wayne Co, NC] = wife:  MARY JORDAN [Isle of Wight, VA, Wayne Co., NC] children of

*JOAB NEWSOM. born Dec. 8, 1770; died between 1820-30.
*CHARITY NEWSOM. born Sept. 27, 1775
*JOSEPH NEWSOM. born Aug. 10, 1777
*MARY NEWSOM. born Oct. 20, 1779
*PHERIBY NEWSOM. born Dec. 22, 1780
*JORDAN NEWSOM. born March 1~ 1785

JOAB C. NEWSOM. born Dec. 8, 1770; died between 1820-30. wife:  ELIZABETH BARNES  children of:

*POLLY NEWSOM. married J. LINDSEY BELL she died between 1840-1846. She was the mother of JAMES HENRY BELL, Sr.

[Estate Papers of JOAB NEWSOM in North Carolina Archives. The disposition of his property occurred in 1828.]




WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR. died June, 1799. wife: PRUDENCE HAM [Living descendant:  Rembert (Bob) V. Ham and his wife Tania S. Ham, 1073 Murray Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32205 as of 1974]  children of:

*SARAH HAM. married JAMES BELL. She was the mother of J. LINSEY BELL.
*KEZIA HAM (female)

Will of WILLIAM HAM, SENIOR recorded in Darlington Court House, South Carolina and appraised June 22, 1799.




LEVI (or LEVY) WORRELL.  died 1839 in Edgecombe County,  North Carolina. wife:  SALLY WORRELL children of:


[Division of the lands of LEVI WORREL on May 15, 1839 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.]




ELISHA EVANS. born 1804; died 1859 in Wayne County, North Carolina. wife: PATIENCE WORRELL. born 1823.  childern of:

*JOSHUA JORDAN EVANS. born August 26, 1836; married March 12, 1864 to CATHERINE MCQUEEN WESTBURY; died: June 8, 1909.
*HARTWELL EVANS. born 1840; married Sept. 15, 1858 to MARTHA BARNES in Wilson County, North     Carolina.
*SALLY EVANS. born 1841; married to a Mr. Thompson.
*ELISHA WESLEY EVANS. born 1845; married Susan Betty.
*SENA EVANS. born 1849.
*NANCY EVANS. born 1854.

[LIVING DESCENDANTS: Mrs. Iva Evans Barfield, 1713 Stonehaven Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89108 in 1974]


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