Biography of Edward S. Bell
Alameda County, CA Biographies





Edward Stanton Bell, who commands a large law practice in Oakland, has made an enviable record in the courts of this section of the state, having been unusually successful in the trial of causes, and enjoys a well established reputation as a trustworthy and dependable attorney.

Mr. Bell was born in Trinity county, California, on the 26th of August, 1861, and is a son of Charles Edward and Catherine Jane (Mills) Bell, both of whom were descended from Revolutionary stock. Charles E. Bell was born in Darien, Connecticut, in the same house in which his grandfather was born, and on the maternal side was a lineal descendant of John Howland, who came to this country on the Mayflower. The paternal grandmother of our subject was a member of the Schofield family, who founded Stamford, Connecticut, and built Stamford University. Mr. Bell's mother was born in South Norwalk, Connecticut. His uncle, Jacob Bell, of the firm of Brown & Bell of New York, built the "Niagara," Commodore Perry's flagship in 1812, it being the first vessel built by contract for the United States government.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Bell were married in Connecticut and in 1857 migrated to Montgomery county, Iowa, where Mr. Bell erected the first gristmill in that section of the state. In the spring of 1859 his health failed and his wife started with him, in an ox cart, ford Pike's Peak, Colorado. When they reached St. Joseph, Missouri, they learned that the Pike's Peak boom had subsided, and so they joined a train of emigrants bound for California, the company being commanded by Captain Charles Parker. On reaching the coast they located in Lewiston, Trinity county, California, and, the trip having greatly improved Mr. Bell's health, he went to work as a miner. In 1864 he became superintendent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company at Benecia, where he remained until 1866, when he removed to San Francisco, to which city the company moved its offices at that time. He retained that position until June, 1868, when his wife and children returned to Connecticut and he went to Coos Bay, Oregon, with Senator Piper, and there built a steamship, which they operated until 1874, when it was sold to the Mexican government. Mrs. Bell and her children then returned to California, locating in Vallejo, where Mr. Bell entered the employ of the United States government as a master ship builder in 1869, holding that position until 1898, when he retired. His death occurred in 1920, when he had reached the advanced age of ninety four years. In 1876 he had bought a ranch of four hundred and fifty five acres, four miles north of Saint Helena, and there the family lived for many years, the mother's death occurring there, when she was seventy four years of age. The father was a republican in his political views and was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Edward S. Bell spent his boyhood at Vallejo and secured his education in its public schools. In 1881 he began to work at the carpenter trade, which he followed there and in Oakland until 1892, when he ran for the office of justice of the peace at Saint Helena. He was elected and during his tenure of the office he took up the study of law. About that time his brother, Theodore E. Bell, became district attorney and Edward S. went into his office and there completed his studies, also gaining valuable experience in legal procedure. He was admitted to the bar and a year later embarked in the practice of law at Napa, California, in which he was successful, remaining there until 1919, when he came to Oakland. Here he has since been located, having his offices in the Latham Square building. His brother served as district attorney for eight years; was for two years a member of congress, and was three times a candidate for governor.

In 1899 Edward S. Bell was united in marriage to Miss Jessie Dresser, who was born at Folsom City, Sacramento county, California, and is a daughter of William and Mary Dresser, the former of whom was a pioneer of this state, having come here in 1849.

Mr. Bell has always given his political support to the democratic party and has been actively interested in public affairs. He is a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, is justifiably proud of the great state in which he lives, and has given his earnest support to every worthy public interest of his city and county. Possessing a splendid personality and an agreeable manner, he is deservedly popular among his acquaintances and is held in high regard among his fellow lawyers.

From:
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928


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