Biography of Judge Oscar C. Bell
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JUDGE OSCAR CLIFFORD BELL, judge of the Municipal Court of Cleveland, has been well known in this city both as teacher, attorney and public official. Judge Bell is a man of scholastic attainments, and has had an extended experience among men and affairs.

He was born at Biggsville, Henderson County, Illinois, March 15, 1880, son of William and Sarah Martha (Jathison) Bell. His grandfather, Andrew Bell, was a native of Scotland, and settled at North Argyle in New York State. William Bell was born January 1, 1841, and when he was six years of age his widowed mother took him and her other children to Biggsville, Henderson County, Illinois. George Bell, brother of William Bell, served at one time as sheriff of Henderson County, and it devolved upon him in his official capacity to officiate at the only hanging in that county. William Bell was educated in public schools in Jillnois. and at the age of. fifteen began teaching. For a score of years teaching was his regular vocation. He also served as a member. of the school board of Henderson County for a number of years and is secretary of the Fair Association for seventeen years. The annual fair at Biggsville is one of the most noted fairs in the State of Illinois. After he gave up school work he was a general merchant at Biggsville, later a merchant at Swan Creek. Illinois, then entered the United States railway mail service, and finally, in order to give his children better educational advantages, he removed to Monmouth, Illinois. For twenty six years he was a mail clerk, with a run on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway, and resigned from the service in 1906, on account of ill health, his death occurring a few months later. His wife, Sarah Martha Tamison. was born in Henderson County, Illinois, in 1844. Her father, Calvin Jamison, was a Kentuckian by birth, was a pioneer in Henderson County. Illinois, and became well known as a farmer, bank director and active leader in the community of Biggsville. Mrs. William Bell died in 1916.

Oscar Clifford Bell was reared at Biggsville, attending grammar and high schools. He graduated from high school in 1900 and then entered the University of Illinois. where he completed his law course and received the Bachelor of Laws degree in 1903. Instead of engaging in the practice of law he was for three years principal of the Belmont, Illinois, High School, and subsequently a member of the faculty and athletic coach at Monmouth College. Illinois. From 1907 to 1911 he held similar positions at the Kirksville. Missouri, Normal School.

Judge Bell became a resident of Cleveland in 1911, and for a time was a teacher and coach of athletics at the East Technical High School. He began the practice of law in 1914, associated with Judge J. M. Shallenberger. In 1916 he became instructor in civics and business law at West Technical High School, and was also athletic coach there. On resigning this work he became chief examiner of the Cleveland City Civil Service Commission, and subsequently Mayor Fitzgerald appointed him chief police prosecutor of the Municipal Court. Later Director of Law Lamb, during the Kohler administration, appointed him assistant director of law. This office he resigned in September, 1923, to enter the race for Municipal Court judge, and in November was elected for a term of two years, beginning January 1, 1924.

Judge Bell is a member of the Cleveland Bar Association, the Big Ten Club, the City Club and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. On September 17, 1921, he married Mabel Holland. She was born at Sandusky, Ohio, daughter of John W. Holland. She is a graduate of the Woman's College of Western Reserve University, and she and Judge Bell became acquainted while she was teaching in the West Technical High School.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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