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Rachel (Gaumer) Bell


Rachel Bell

Rachel (Gaumer) Bell was born on Nov. 5, 1811 in Gilbert, Muskingum County, OH, the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Sturtz) Gaumer Jr. Her birth occurred five years after her parents had relocated from Somerset County, PA to the wilds of Ohio. She lived to surpass the age of 100. 

When she was two months old, she was baptized in the family church by Rev. Anthony Weyer on Jan. 7, 1812. At the age of 17, she was confirmed in the church by Rev. Samuel Kaemmerer, on May 3, 1829, and was a member for the remainder of her long life.

On June 30, 1831, at the age of 19, she was united in holy matrimony with 21-year-old William Bell (1809-1876), son of John and Rachel (Stillwell) Bell of Westmoreland County, PA. They are named in J. Hope Sutor's 1905 book Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio, which said the Bells were of "Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry." Rachel also was profiled in the 1913 book History of the New Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church of Adamsville, Ohio

They produced eight children -- Elizabeth Sarah Minnick, George W. Bell, Jacob I. Bell, Elizabeth C. Bell, John R. Bell and Jared C. Bell as well as two who died in infancy.


Book picturing Rachel

When "a young man," says the Past and Present book, William "came to Muskingum county with his father. The trip was made in one of the old-fashioned wagons common at that day. He had acquired a common school education and had been trained in all of the work of the farm." When the federal census was taken in 1850, the family dwelled in Adams Township and had five children under their roof.

After their marriage, Rachel and William settled on a farm of 80 acres and "brought to bear his energy and activity in the development and improvement of this place," says Past and Present

He was careful in expenditures, economical and industrious, giving his entire attention to his business interests without active co-operation in political work and as the years passed he won creditable success. From time to time he purchased more land until he had six hundred and forty acres in one tract and in another farm had one hundred and seventy-three acres, so that his landed possessions aggregated eight hundred and thirteen acres, all in Adams township with the exception of fifty-three acres in Monroe Township. Both he and his wife held membership in the Lutheran church and he  voted with the republican party and was a most stalwart advocate of the Union cause during the Civil War. 

William died at the age of 67 on Jan. 30, 1876. 


Rachel's profile in the 1913 history of her church


Postcard of Rachel,
100th birthday

Rachel survived her husband by more than three and a half decades. She told others that efforts had been made to draw her away from her home church and "to undermine her faith, but she replied that these grounds were sacred to her and that her faith in the Lutheran Church was as firmly established as a house built upon a rock."

At the age of 99, the Past and Present book said she was "yet a hale and hearty woman ... [whose mind is clear and bright and she is remarkably well preserved for one of her years." She made her home with her married daughter Elizabeth Minnick in Norwich, Highland Township. 

The day before her 100th birthday, on a Sunday, several hundred relatives and friends turned out at a dinner in her honor at the New Hope Church. "On account of the chilly atmosphere she remained at the bounteous repast, spread upon tables out of doors, only long enough for her pastor to invoke a blessing," said the 1913 History of New Hope book. "In the afternoon a poem, dedicated to her, was read by the author, E.C. Jordan, Esq., a suitable address was made by the pastor, and remarks  by others. Vocal and instrumental music composed a good part of the program, all of which was highly appreciated and enjoyed by Mrs. Bell." The following day, the actual birthday, her pastor Rev. J.J.S. Rumbarger served her with holy communion.


Rachel's pastor,
Rev. J.J.S. Rumbarger

She was profiled in a three-page account in the 1913 book about the history of her church. In part, it reads: 

Never before in the history of this section of the county, perhaps the state, did any one reach the remarkable age of one hundred and one years. She lived here almost from the tie this neighborhood was settled. She was a descendant of one of the pioneer families of this vicinity, her parents having emigrated from Pennsylvania a few years before she was born. Although she was the first in a family of eleven children to come into this world, she is the last to depart. That she can remember an event that occurred over nine-eight years ago seems almost incredible.

Suffering from organic heart disease, her health slipped away. The History of New Hope said that "She bore her infirmity and suffering, incident to her advanced age, with the greatest fortitude, and patiently waited for the Maker's summons to the Kingdom of Heaven."

She died at the age of 101 years, three months and 11 days on Jan. 15, 1913. Three days later, her aged remains were placed into eternal rest in New Hope Cemetery, with her church pastor preaching the funeral sermon based on Hebrews 11:16: "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." Her daughter Elizabeth Minnick signed the Ohio death certificate.

~ Son George W. Bell ~

Son George W. Bell (1832- ? ) was born in about 1832 in Muskingum County. At the age of 18, he was unmarried and lived at home with his parents.

~ Son Jacob I. Bell ~

Son Jacob I. Bell (1833-1917) was born on Sept. 30, 1833 in Muskingum County. He too is profiled extensively in They are named in J. Hope Sutor's 1905 book Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio. At the age of 16, he resided with his parents in Adams Township. On Nov. 9, 1858, at the age of 25, he was wedded to 27-year-old Leah C. Hanks (1831-1881), daughter of Virginia native Jerry Hanks. They produced five children -- Teresa A. Bell, Harvey A. Bell, Albert Bell, M.T. Bell and Willard E. Bell. Said the Past and Present book, he 

...attended the common schools near his home and in the summer worked in the fields, assisting in the operation of the old home place until twenty-five years of age, when he removed to the farm upon which he now resides. He owns two hundred acres of land that is rich and arable and is conveniently situated about five and a half miles from Adamsville. Although he is now more than seventy years of age he is still active in the control of this property and is also associated in business with his son. he carries on general farming and stock-raising, having good grades of cattle, horses and hogs upon his place.

Leah passed away on June 18, 1881, when she was 50 years of age. Her death "was not only deeply regretted by her immediate family but by her many friends," said Past and Present. Jacob outlived his bride by 36 years. He was an active voter, "keeping well informed on the questions and issues of the day and that he has the confidence and trust of his fellow townsmen is indicated by the fact that they retained him in the office of township trustee for twelve years. He is also a member of the Grange and he and his family hold membership in the Methodist church. There have been no startling events in the life history of Mr. Bell though in his entire career he has shown the traits of character which constitutes a good citizen, a reliable business man and a devoted husband and father." At the age of 84, Jacob suffered a stroke and died on Oct. 19, 1917. Burial was in Fairview Cemetery. His youngest son Willard E. Bell of Adamsville provided details for the death certificate.

Daughter Teresa A. Bell (1859- ? ) was born on Sept. 7, 1859. Circa 1905, she was unmarried and lived at home with her aged parents.

Son Harvey A. Bell (1862- ? ) was born on April 2, 1862. He married Mary Gosser ( ? - ? ) and in 1905 resided at Wills Creek, OH.

Son Albert Bell (1864-1896) was born on March 26, 1864. On Christmas Day 1888, he married Rose Edwards ( ? - ? ). Sadly, Albert passed away on Jan. 7, 1896, at the age of 32.

Son M.T. Bell (1868- ? ) was born on Aug. 31, 1868. He married Anna Ermine ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Monroe Township, Muskingum County in 1905.

Son Willard E. Bell (1873- ? ) was born on May 14, 1873. In 1905, he was single and made his residence with his parents.

~ Daughter Elizabeth Sarah (Bell) Minnick ~

Daughter Elizabeth Sarah Bell (1835-1924) was born on June 22, 1835 in Adams Township, Muskingum County. 

She married Joseph Minnick ( ? - ? ). In 1905, when named in J. Hope Sutor's 1905 book Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio, they dwelled in Highland Township, Muskingum County. 

Suffering from senility, Elizabeth passed away just a dozen days shy of her 89th birthday on June 10, 1924. Interment was in New Hope Cemetery. J.H. Minnick of West Lafayette, OH was the informant for her official Ohio certificate of death.

~ Son John R. Bell ~

Son John R. Bell (1840- ? ) was born in about 1840 in Muskingum County.

~ Son Jared C. Bell ~

Son Jared C. Bell (1841- ? ) was born on July 13, 1841 in Adams Township, Muskingum County. On Oct. 30, 1862, when he was 21 years of age, he married 20-year-old Martha Jane Caldwell (1842- ? ), daughter of Nancy (Hartman) Caldwell of Guernsey County, OH. Upon marriage, he left home in 1862 and moved to a new home which he later returned to circa 1905. They produced six children -- S. Leonard Bell, Adam "Howard" Bell, William H. Bell, Dr. Firman Merrill Bell, Everett C. Bell and Lemeret H. Bell. Sadly, son Lemert died at the tender age of five days on May 26, 1878. Jared is profiled extensively in J. Hope Sutor's 1905 book Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio

He afterward removed to another part of this place and later took possession of his present residence, which was erected under his supervision. He has always engaged in farming and to some extent has worked at the carpenter's trade. In his youth he also received instruction in vocal music and to some extent has given instruction in that art. He has always been a great lover of music and has played several instruments, including the fife, the drum and the organ. He now owns and operates two hundred acres of rich and productive land on sections 19 and 21, Adams township, and carries on general farming and stock-raising, working the land himself and also raising cattle and sheep. The farm is well improved, being equipped with all modern conveniences, and the splendid appearance of the place is indicative of the careful supervision of a progressive owner.... They reside about four and a half miles northeast of Adamsville, where they have a fine home and valuable farm.

Jared was active politically and lobbied in support of the prohibition of the sale of alcohol. He held a number of elected offices in Adams Township, among them treasurer (two year), road supervisor, judge and clerk of elections. They were members of the local Grange and were "earnest and zealous members" of the Fairview Episcopal Church. Concluded the Past and Present book: "Mr. Bell is greatly interested in educational and religious work, is a most liberal supporter of the church and contributed generously toward the new house of worship at Fairview. Formerly he was identified with the Lutheran church at Adamsville. His life has ever been upright and honorable and both he and his wife are held in high regard by many friends."

Son S. Leonard Bell (1864- ? ) was born on March 11, 1864. On Sept. 5, 1889, when he was age 25, he married Gertrude Keepers ( ? - ? ). They made their home in Scio, Harrison County, OH and had four sons -- Carl Leonard Bell, Ralph Chester Bell, William Jared Bell and Kennon Maurice Bell. Leonard was a musician who taught at a music conservatory in Scio. He "began playing in public at the age of eight years and accepted a position as church organist when twelve years of age," says the Past and Present book. "Since beginning his musical studies he has always been an earnest and untiring student and has received instruction from some of the greatest musicians and teachers of the world, having attended a number of the leading colleges and universities and receiving the degree of Doctor of Music. He seems to possess natural ability as a teacher as well as a musician and he is well known in musical circles, being a member of the Ohio Music Teachers' Association and the National Music Teachers' Association. under his instruction some of the best pianists of the country have studied."

Son Adam "Howard" Bell (1866-1944) was born on June 8, 1866. At the age of 36, on New Year's Eve 1902, he was united in wedlock with Anna E. Wilcox ( ? - ? ). Circa 1905, they lived on a farm in Conesville, Coshocton County, OH and were named in J. Hope Sutor's 1905 book Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio. At the age of 78, the widowed Howard suffered from hardening of the arteries and died of heart failure in Conesville on Nov. 17, 1944. Interment was in South Lawn Cemetery. Lucile Worthington of Conesville signed the death certificate.

Son William H. Bell (1869- ? ) was born on April 16, 1869. He received his education in plain and ornamental penmanship in Smithville, OH and later graduated from a business school in Topeka, KS. He then taught penmanship for one term at McCormick College in Muskingum County and then obtained employment as a bookkeeper with the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf Island Railroad Company, moving to Fort Worth, TX. On Jan. 2, 1898, at the age of 29, he was united in wedlock with Nettie Spencer ( ? -1900). They produced one son. Sadly, the marriage only lasted for two years until Nettie's untimely death on Sept. 10, 1900.

Son Dr. Firman Merrill Bell (1873- ? ) was born on Sept. 11, 1873. He attended Scio College for one term, then left school and migrated to Iowa, where he taught school for several terms. He then entered medical school at St. Joseph, MO and graduated with second honors. Circa 1905, he practiced medicine in Grant, NE.

Son Everett C. Bell (1878- ? ) was born on May 21, 1878. He obtained a degree in penmanship at Wooster College of Penmanship and became employed to teach penmanship in a school. Circa 1905, he was single and lived at home with his parents.

Copyright 2000, 2011, 2015-2016 Mark A. Miner