Biography of John Martin Bell

One of the representative agriculturists of Rogers county is John Martin Bell, who is engaged in farming eight and one-half miles southwest of Chelsea. A native of Texas, he was born in Russ county, on the 28th of October, 1859, a; son of John and Sarah Selesta (Harnage) Bell, both of Cherokee extraction.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil war, Mr. Bell’s sympathies being with the south, he enlisted in the Confederate army and his death occurred while he was spending a furlough in Indian Territory. Mrs. Bell died in 1886.

In the acquirement of his education John Martin Bell attended the common schools and the Male Seminary of the Cherokee Nation. He later engaged in farming, which occupation he has since followed; He now has a four hundred-acre tract, southwest of Chelsea, much of which is under cultivation and on which oil has been discovered. In addition to general farming Mr. Bell engages in stock raising and he is achieving more than gratifying success in those connections. The farm boasts of a beautiful old country home and the outbuildings are kept in a splendid state of repair.

On the 17th of June, 1879, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Bell and Miss Minnie Cherokee McCoy, a daughter of John and Lucy Jane (Adair) McCoy, both natives of Georgia. The father located in Indian Territory in 1833 and the mother a short time afterward. The father was a dominant figure in public life for years and was a special delegate of the old settler Cherokees to Washington. His demise occurred on the 3d of February, 1892, and came as a severe blow to his family and many friends’ Chester McCoy, a brother of Mrs. Bell, is a prominent citizen of Nowata; although he has a farm in Craig County, in the operation of which he is active.

To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Bell, nine children have been born, one of whom died in 1889 and another in 1890. Emma W. is now the wife of Charlie Windham and the mother of five children, Fleeta May, Webb, Martin Baker, Fern and Milton; Ida L. married Jim Crutchfield, and is the mother’ of four children, Joseph Martin, Ella Virginia, Owen Starr and Maiven Lane; Andrew Lane married, Miss Edra Mae Creason, and is the father of one child, Andrew Lane, Jr.; Martin W. married Miss Ruie May Harris, and is the father of two children, James Martin and Howard Leon; Fortner Drake was united in marriage to Miss Tennie Ward, and has two children, Ella Marie and James Foster; Ella is the youngest daughter, and George Morrison is the youngest son.

Since attaining his majority Mr. Bell has given his political allegiance to the democratic party, having firm belief in the principles for which it stands. His religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and fraternally he is identified with the Masonic lodge.

He is recognized as one of the most public spirited and enterprising citizens of Rogers county and there is no movement for the development and up building of the community that seeks his aid in vain.



Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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