Biography of Milton Bell
Howard County, IN Biographies





MILTON BELL was born in Clinton County, Ind., February 13, 1835. His mother, Nancy (Endicott) Bell, was a native of Pennsylvania. His father, Nathaniel Bell, a former citizen of Kokomo (now deceased), was born in Ohio, and was a pioneer of Clinton County, Ind. The educational facilities afforded Milton Bell in early life were at first meager, and ill health afterward thwarted his plans; yet despite all, he moved steadily on to success. Having gained a knowledge of the common English branches in the district schools, by attendance only during the winter terms, he entered Antioch College in 1854, at the founding of that institution. Remaining but one year, because of failing health, he returned home, and became a salesman in his father's store in Clinton County, and also engaged in teaching a district school. In the fall of 1856, his father removed to Cincinnati, and became a member of the silk and millinery firm of Doherty, Franklin & Bell, and Milton was employed as one of their salesmen. There he remained some two years, and in 1860 returned to Clinton County, Ind., and entered into partnership with his father in the mercantile business. In this he was successfully engaged until August, 1862, when he raised a company and joined the Eighty sixth Indiana Volunteers. This regiment went into camp at La Fayette, and was sent to the Army of the Cumberland. After taking part in the pursuit of Bragg and the battle of Stone River, Capt. Bell was compelled to resign, because exposure had brought on his old malady, hemoptysis, thus unfitting him for service. While teaching school, he had purchased a number of legal works, and some time after his return from the army he entered the office of McDonald & Roach, Indianapolis, as a student of law. On being admitted to the bar (in 1865), he commenced practicing in Kokomo. Events soon showed that he had found his true calling. Recognized as a promising young lawyer, he was, in 1867, elected City Attorney, and served in that capacity two years. Hard study and native talent wrought their unfailing results in an increase of clients and important cases. In 1873, in partnership with his brother, Arthur S. Bell (now deceased), H. H. Winslow and J. F. Henderson, he built Opera Hall, a fine structure costing $40,000. Mr. Bell cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas, and has ever since been connected with the Democratic party. With respect to his religious affiliations, he joined, in boyhood, the old Christian Church, but his theological views are somewhat liberal, and he attends the various churches in Kokomo, without distinction of creed. He was married, February 26, 1867, to Miss Belle Purdum, daughter of the late Nelson Purdum, a prominent lawyer of Kokomo, and the first Mayor of that city. Their only child, May, was born January 5, 1868. His success as a lawyer is due in great measure to his candor with clients. He has ever made it an invariable rule never to tell a man he has a case, and lead him into litigation, unless the facts warrant such an action. He excels as a counselor, and in general is deemed one of the best attorneys in Howard County. He also has superior business abilities, as shown by the result of his investments. There is much in his character worthy of commendation, and he has attained a high place in the popular regard.

From:
Counties of Howard and Tipton, Indiana
Historical and Biographical
Charles Blanchard, Editor
F. A. Bettey & Co.
Chicago 1883.


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