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JOHN WESLEY BELL (1852-1929)
(Last Updated: August 28, 2012)


John Wesley BELL was born May 8, 1852 in Abbey Lanercost, Cumberland, England, the third child of Phyllis & Archibald BELL who was born there himself in 1816.


Around 1857-58 the BELL family immigrated to Canada and settled in Huron County near Goderich, Ontario (east of Lake Huron). In the Ontario censuses of 1861, John (age 12) was recorded with his parents in Pickering District.


Canadian Confederation
Manitoba becomes a Province


1867 was the year of Canadian Confederation, and on July 15, 1870 Manitoba became the fifth province of Canada, the Canadian Government having acquired the territory previously governed by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC).


In the Ontario censuses of 1871, John (age 21) was still with his parents in the Pickering District. Around 1875 John’s mother (Phyllis) died. In 1881 his widowed father (Archie, age 71) and his five siblings were recorded in Pickering, but John was no longer with them.


On June 28, 1886, the first through passenger train of the new CPR left Montreal for the Pacific, arriving in Winnipeg crossing the Louise Bridge on July 1. It arrived at the BC Terminal at one minute to noon hour on July 4, heading for the Pacific.


Marriage to Elizabeth Ellen DUNKELD


Around 1893 John married Elizabeth Ellen DUNKELD. On July 26, 1894, daughter Etta was born in the Town of Goderich, Huron County, Ontario. On Dec 3, 1895 son Wesley Roy was born same place (both from Ontario Birth Archives.


Farming at Neepawa


By the time of the 1906 census, John had moved his family to a farm near the Town of Neepawa, Manitoba. In the Census of 1911 he was recorded there as aged 59; Eliza (age 40); children Etta (age 12) and Wesley (age 15).


World War I


In 1915 daughter Etta Pearl (age 21) married Joseph MOORE (1891-1929) who enlisted for War Service in the spring of 1916 (223rd Overseas Battalion). His address at that time: 450 Jarvis Avenue in Winnipeg. Etta gave birth to her first child around that time.


Son Wesley would have been about 20 years old when the war broke out. As far as we know he didn’t enlist, but he seems to have moved away from home. When the Census of 1916 was taken his parents were recorded alone at Neepawa; John (aged 64), a Farm Labourer) and Ellen aged 52.


We are missing any information about Ellen & John for the next decade and more. Because they apparently both died in Middlechurch (north of Winnipeg), it suggests that one of them (most likely John) reached that age when they could no longer be cared for adequately at home, and that in their final years they became residents of the Middlechurch Home for the elderly.


John & Ellen die in West St Paul (Middlechurch)


On April 13, 1929 John died at the aged of 76 and on Nov 24, 1931 Ellen died (also aged 76), both in Middlechurch (Vital Stats).


Comments and queries about this family are invited at: FORUM Discussing FAMILY OF JOHN WESLEY BELL


============================= Family Details =============================

1. July 26, 1894 ETTA PEARL BELL (m1. Joseph Alphonse Roger MOORE, m2. Joseph LANDMESSER)
2. Dec 3, 1895 WESLEY ROY BELL