Hon. Theodore Arlington Bell, member of the United States house of representatives from the second California district, by election in 1902, is one of the young and prominent lawyers and politicians of the state, and has had a rapid rise to influence since his admission to the bar only a decade ago. He is a native son of the state, and is a member of a well known family that has been established here for forty-five years, so that it is well representative of the best interests of California.

Mr. Bell is a son of Charles E. and Catherine J. (Mills) Bell. His father, a native of Connecticut, is now living retired in St. Helena, California, being seventy-seven years old. He was one of the first county clerks in the state of Iowa, and in 1859 brought his family across the plains to California, where he engaged in mining for the first three years. He then became foreman shipwright for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company at San Francisco, and from there went into the employ of the government as quarterman shipwright in the Mare Island navy yard, which position he held from 1865 to 1898,--a creditable and most efficient record of service. He and his wife had six sons: Charles Humboldt Bell, now forty-five years old, was born while the family was crossing the plains, and while at the Humboldt river in Nevada; he is now living at St. Helena. Edward Stanton Bell, born in Trinity county, California, August 26, 1862, received his early schooling in the old capitol building at Benecia--the second capitol of the state, having succeeded Monterey, and later having been turned into a school,--and later studied law with his brother Theodore; he was married at San Francisco, July 26, 1899, to Miss Jessie L. Dresser, a native of California and a daughter of early residents of the state; fraternally he has been a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West for the past nineteen years, and is an active Democrat in politics.

Theodore A. Bell was born at Vallejo, California, July 5, 1872, and received his early schooling at Crystal Spring school near St. Helena. At the age of eighteen he was granted a certificate to teach, and for some time taught the Tucker school district in northern Napa county. He was engaged in that occupation for a year and a half and at the same time carried on his studies in law, after which he came to Napa and entered the office of William Gwinn, district attorney, where he studied law until he was twenty-one years old. He was admitted to the bar on his birthday, July 25, 1893, and for the following year engaged in practice. He was then elected district attorney, and at the end of his four-year term was re-elected. At the expiration of his second term he was elected to Congress on the Democratic ticket, and has been one of the young and progressive men during the fifty-eighth session.

Congressman Bell was married in Napa, April 23, 1899, to Miss Annie M. Muller, of Napa, and they have one daughter, Maurine. Mr. Bell affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being elected Grand Warden of that order May, 1904, the Independent order of Foresters, the N. S. G. W., the Eagles, the Druids, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, etc.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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