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Monday, February 6, 2023

Doctor, alderman, library board president and more

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Dr. John A. Bell was born March 19, 1838, in McConnelsville, Morgan County, Ohio. He was the son of John Bell and Margaret Scott. He came with his family to Abingdon, Illinois, in 1853 and started reading about medicine in 1858 with Dr. Andrew McFarland, Superintendent of the Insane Asylum of Jacksonville, IL. He continued studying with Dr. McFarland until 1861.

Dr. Bell married Elizabeth Eagle Aug. 16, 1861, in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, and they were the parents of two daughters, Allie May, who married Charles F. Tyler, and Nettie, who married Dr. William John Truitt.

During the Civil War he served in the 10th Illinois Infantry, first, as Assistant Surgeon in the General Hospital at Cairo, IL and later in the field. After his service in the war Dr. Bell attended Hedding Seminary, Abington, Knox County, Illinois, and then practiced medicine in Cambridge, IL, until 1868. At that time he and his family moved to Naperville.

He received his MD at the Hahnemann Homeopathic Medical College of Chicago and was a member of the Illinois Institute of Homeopathy. Dr. Bell was called as an expert witness at the trial of the murder of Alvaro B. Clark in 1878. He traveled to Leadville, Colorado, with Sylvester Ballou, and Levi Kent in 1879 and practiced medicine there with Dr. David Alden Sykes until early 1880.

Upon his return to Naperville, Dr. Bell became a partner in medical practice with Dr. Charles Naumann. He served the Village of Naperville as a Trustee in 1884, and as 2nd Ward Alderman in 1890.

Mayor Valentine Adam Dieter appointed Dr. Bell to the Nichols Library Board in 1897 where he served as President. Dr. Bell was active in politics and served as a delegate to the State Republican Convention several times.

His wife Elizabeth died Nov. 6, 1908. Several years later, John married Ida Lucetta Murray Goodrich, widow of Howard Henry Goodrich, on Nov. 14, 1911, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Dr. Bell was a life-long communicant of the Episcopal Church and served as a vestryman.

In 1917 Dr. Bell was the Surgeon of Walter Blanchard Grand Army of the Republic Post in Naperville and served on the Patriotic Day Committee for the Naperville Homecoming Celebration which was held to highlight all the recent improvements to the City.

Dr. Bell was a member of Camp Napier No. 908 Modern Woodmen of America.

Dr. and Mrs. John A. Bell resided in a home located at 224 E. Chicago Ave.

He was a member Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M. and served as Master of the Lodge in 1875 and 1876; a member of Euclid Chapter No. 13, R.A.M.; and a member Aurora Commandery No. 22.

Dr. Bell died Sept. 22, 1928, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was buried in the Naperville Cemetery. Rev. Earl Fawcett Collins conducted the funeral services with the assistance of the Walter Blanchard Grand Army of the Republic Post and Euclid Lodge No. 65, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.

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