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Ivory Leland "Ivor" Bell
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Birth: Oct. 22, 1903
West Plains
Howell County
Missouri, USA
Death: May 24, 2003
Kern County
California, USA

Ivory was 50 years old when he married Clara Ihrig, daughter of William & Mary Elizabeth (Glaeser) Ihrig, in Taft, Kern Co, CA on December 25, 1953. This was his second marriage; her first.

Newspaper article with photo of Ivory & Clara provided by FindAGrave member, (#48831967) on September 4, 2015.

Taft - Mr. and Mrs. Ivor L. Bell, whose marriage was solemnized Christmas Day, will be at home Monday at 26-2 11 St., 11-C camp.

The bride is the former Clara Ihrig, teacher of English and Latin at Taft Union High School. The wedding rites were read at 11 a.m. in the Santa Barbara Avenue Methodist Church, Los Angeles, by the Rev. Robert Young, formerly of Taft. The ring was carried by James hall, 12-year-old son of the bridegroom, who was the only attendant.

The wedding trip included Palm Springs and Salton Sea.

The bride, a native of Illinois, is a graduate of Northwestern College, and taught at Calumet City, Ill., before coming to Taft seven years ago. Bell, a 30 year- employee of the Standard Oil Co., is a tool tender at 11-C."


Ivory's parents were;
James Jeffrey Bell (1873 - 1954)
Hattie Emeline Morgan Bell (1881 - 1956)

He was the second of their 10 children. His siblings were: Gladys Marie, Emery Ward, Bessie "Letha," Grace Evalena, Virgie Velma, Laura, Niada Yvonne, Musettie Irene, & James Jeffrey "Jay" Bell, Jr.

On April 28, 1910,
Ivory, age 6, lived in War Eagle, Madison Co, MO with his parents, James J. & Hattie Bell, ages 36 & 39, where they owned a farm. They had been married 11 years; his mother had given birth to 5 children who were all living. Ivory's siblings still at home included Gladis M., age 8; Emery W., 4; Bessie, 2; & Grace, age 3 months. Ivory & Gladys were born in MO. The rest of the family were born in AR.

On January 17, 1920,
Ivory L., age 16, lived with his parents on their farm in War Eagle, James J. & Hattie E., ages 48 & 40. His siblings included Emery W., age 14; Bessie L., 11; Grace E., 10; Vergia V., 7; Neoda V. 4 years & 5 months; & Irena R., 1. His mother's parents, Morris H. & Charlotte Morgan, ages 79, lived with them.

On April 5, 1930,
Ivory L. Bell, single, age, 26, was renting a Bank House room for $5.00 at a Standard Oil Company Lean 11C Bank House, which was located outside the City of Taft in Township 7, Kern Co, CA. He had a job as a Gas Ganger.

Ivory, a resident of Taft, Kern Co, CA was 32 years old when he married Mary Letha Coger, 30, a resident of Huntsville, Madison Co, AR, in Washington Co, AR on April 11, 1936.

On April 4, 1940,
I.L. & Mary Letha, ages 36 & 34, owned a home at 401 1/2 Jackson valued at $1000 in Kern Co, CA. Ivory had a job as a an Assistant Tool Tender in the Oil Fields.

Mary died in Kern after giving birth to their son, James Morgan, on March 12, 1942.

The following is from on August 31, 2015.

She wrote,
"Ivory Leland Bell [Ivor]
Ivor's first wife was Mary Letha Coger.
They were married for six years, but she died giving birth to their son, James Morgan Bell. I have copies of letters he wrote to his sister-in-law, Leslie Irene Coger, after Letha's death. In one, written very shortly after her death, he wrote:

"As the dawn comes, I see only,
White capped mountain peaks aglow.
Soon over Trinidad Pass will go -
Cutting our way through ice and snow.
Now the limited has slown to a walk
While around the curve two locomotives are beginning to talk.
As the billows of smoke role -
The grandeur of the West seen to unfold.
So well they have done their part -
The two locomotives seem now
To have taken heart.
We are now speeding on the other side -
Soon to cross the Continental Divide -
Back to the land that had, -
Six years of happiness, -
That in we dwelled -
To me it is now, but an empty space
for never will I - there again -
see her smiling face
How cheap is verse - How cheap is song -
How frivolous is the whole world
When I stop to think - that she is gone.
The supreme sacrifice she made -
To give life to a little Babe.
In her likeness we pray -
Will James develop on life's rugged way.

You note that he wrote an autobiography at the end of his life - I hope he didn't leave her out of his story!

I'm writing in hopes you'll add her to his page, and to that of James's, too - -

Thank you so much!


Following are excerpts from the book I wrote about by Bell ancestors several years ago titled, "The Family of James and Caroline Bell."

Ivory Leland Bell
Ivory ďIvorĒ Leland Bell, the second child of James and Hattie (Morgan) Bell, was born in West Plains, Missouri, on October 22, 1903. He died in Taft, California on May 24, 2003, when he was almost 100 years old. His only child, James, died on January 10, 2004, and Dorothy (Bell) White, his niece, was made administrator of their estates.

When asked her for permission to mention the wealth he had accumulated. This is her reply in part: "I have no problem with your stating something about Ivoryís success. Iím rather proud of his accomplishments. When he went to California as a young man of 19, he didnít even have shoes (so Iím told). His was a good family, but extremely poor. He married at about age 34, and he and his wife had a son in 1942. She died in childbirth. He raised the boy himself until he was about 11, and he then remarried a lovely lady. She later adopted the boy. The success was two fold. She was a highly educated lady, and taught Latin and English. She invested before she was married, and continued to do so after marriage. When the son died six months after his father, it was the last of the family. The estate that Iím handling is over $5 million.Ē

Dorothy obtained an autobiography that Ivory had written when he was 98 years old and has granted permission to include his story. The remembrances of his childhood, providing a brief glimpse into his life and the life of his parents, would have forever been lost if not for this autobiography. Somewhat lengthy, it will be shown in part, but not necessarily in the order in which it was written.

Ivoryís Autobiography
"I, Ivory Leland Bell, being 98 years old, have with the insistence of friends decided to write a book. First of all I was born on October 22, 1903, in a log cabin, built by my father, James Jeffrey Bell, on the west 40 of my grandfatherís homestead, seven miles southwest of West Plains, Missouri, just about a mile east of the Blue-Mound Cemetery. I left there at the age of two in two covered wagons bound for an aunt near Clifty, Arkansas (my grandmotherís sister). One of the wagons was loaded with farm equipment.

Upon arrival I was sent out side with a cousin who would direct two large dogs to bring in the cows. The dogs left, and it was not long before I could hear the cowbells, and the dogs barked occasionally, and down the lane came the two large dogs and two cows. No sooner than they had arrived, out came the large milk pails, and the milking began. As soon as the cows had been milked, the milk was collected, and the cows continued nibbling at the hay which they had been served upon their arrival. So the gate was closed confining the cows to the barn and a small pasture area.

So as a small boy I was ushered into the house, where a large table was set up, and a dinner was served. After which we all set around listening to their big story about the wolves invading Arkansas, killing the farmerís sheep, and were a general nuisance. One occasion, they attacked the farm killing one large dog, and backed the remaining dog against the front door. This was enough, so the farmers shipped in some wolf-hounds, and started their own attack.

Arkansas was covered with large oak and smaller under growth, and when it got dark, it would be so dark one could not see oneís hand before him. This was due in part to the shade from the large oak trees which assisted greatly in the spooky darkness. There were no flashlights, and if one made a trip to the barn checking on the stock, he or one of the party, carried a lantern which was fueled by what was known as coal oil.

One mile from my auntís farm, where we landed, had a large boarding and lodging house where food was served, and rooms could be had. This was owned and operated by an aunt whose husband owned and operated a large blacksmith shop, which was the key to moving about in a wilderness with trails or very poor roads. Hacks, buggies, and horseback seemed to have a habit of breaking down.

A driver could rent horses and buggies, and the ĎDrummersí as they were called, came to town. The ĎLiveryí stable had all they could do renting buggies and horses to drivers who would go on trips through the back woods lasting for days. Giving the ĎDrummersí an opportunity to sell, and these 'Drummers' always had the cash up front, or at least my Aunt Gertie, who owned and ran the boarding and lodging house at Clifty, seemed to think. Her husband 'The Blacksmith' whose anvil never seemed to stop. It's song that could be heard for miles around.

Livestock had free range, and could go where they liked to graze. If a farmer wanted to cultivate corn, he had to fence the land to protect his crop. The first year at Clifty was not so profitable for my father, who rented on 50-50 basis. My father said the soil was so poor; it would not sprout corn after it was planted. When this was discovered, my dad broke the lease, giving his 50% to the owner of the land. He bought a blacksmith shop in Huntsville, Arkansas. That was fifteen miles south of Clifty, so my parents moved to an apartment over the shop.

By this time I had a younger brother that came on the scene, and my dad did not want his two boys to grow up in town. So, eighty acres was discovered three and one-half miles southwest of town. This was acquired, and all of a large stack of hardwood lumber and four mill houses were acquired, and a building site was chosen about the middle of the eighty acres. While we were building a large duplex and barn, we lived in the mill houses. This did not fit in with my mother, but we made it through.

There was a stream that came in at the south, and went out the north end. There were three others which created a wide place in the bottom land, approximately 40 acres of bottom land, about 40 was covered with rolling hills from the sides which made good pasture. The land was a limestone loam that would grow anything. The land had been previously settled, but had been deserted. When congress enacted the Land-Rush in Oklahoma, and there were many such places that made for excellent open range for cattle, and we as well as all the community, took advantage of this. Many of the old abandoned farms had good orchards with peach and apple trees. Many had log homes, many of which had been stripped by other settlers, after they were abandoned.

My Dad worked in town, and batched in the apartment over the shop. He had a good business that was located one block south of the SE corner of the 'square.' The heart of the town was one block square from stone buildings. This design made it possible to close the corners in case of an Indian attack. They had dug a well in the center where all the merchants pailed the water, and carried their water by bucket to each store to satisfy the customers. A cold pail of water was kept freshly filled from the well, and a dipper in the water from which everyone drank.

There was a school built beside the road one half mile to the south of us. It was where I enrolled for my first day of school. Mother took me. We walked carrying my lunch. Mother left me with the teacher, who took me to a seat. The seats were split from white oak logs. My feet hung over lacking at least one foot touching the floor. It was hot, no one my age, in fact the students were grown men, loud and rude. All they talked about was baseball, and tried to play on the side hill to the west of the school building. When lunch came the teacher rang a hand held bell that could not be heard very far.

I found a spot, did not know a sole. Ate my lunch, closed my pail, and started for home. The gal teaching followed me to the road at the edge of the school ground. She was trying to persuade me to stay. No. I had all of this I wanted. So, not long, I walked the three quarter mile, and appeared in the nice breezy hallway at home. So my Mother did not act surprised. She just got me ready, and walked me back to school. After this the school did not last long. I recall my sister joining me, but there was another school in the opposite direction, a new school. Dad served on the board, and all went well until my Dad proposed, raising the per capita tax 2 mills, so we could have six months school in place of the three we were having.

In the evenings Dad would play games with us kids, which was usually 'Blindfold,' where one in the game would be blindfolded, and would try to catch those who were not blinded. We all got many close calls, many snickers, which gave us clues as to where we were. This would not go on too long, as Dad came out from town after shoeing horses all week, and worked all day on the farm, and his bones would pop as he walked giving us a clue as to where he was.

Oz Cunningham was an outstanding member he came from Arkansas and went to driving a team for Honolulu Oil Co. He never lacked for words when he took the floor to speak. I remember him when Mom and Dad made short call on them at their farm in Arkansas. It was located on a ridge about half way between Eureka Springs and Huntsville Arkansas, where the Cunningham family lived. We drove up in Dadís new surrey with the tassels hung all around. My sister and I occupying the rear seat while Mom and Dad sat in the front. We made short calls on many friends in the Clifty area that day where we had spent the previous year.

Grandpa Melechi Bell was a hardy and rugged individual, raised cattle, and accumulated some money, including $1,000 he received from the sale of the pine on his homestead. There were no banks in the country that Melechi would trust, so in the west side of Melechiís yard there was a large tree, at the base of this tree Melechi built a vault from flat rock. On top of this set three hives of bees, and in one of these hives was a black bee, that was very mean. One could not get within ten feet without being attacked, and this is where grandpa did his banking."

Ivory went to Taft, California, when he was 18 years old, where his sister, Gladys, was living. Three days after he arrived in Taft, he was hired by Standard Oil Company, and worked at various jobs during his 45 years of service. Space prevents telling of his many historic and sometimes humorous adventures.

Mary Letha Coger, a school friend from Huntsville, Arkansas, visited relatives in Buena Park. When Ivory learned of her arrival, he contacted her, and went to visit. They were married in Taft on April 12, 1936. Their son, James, was born on March 4, 1942. Mary died eight days later, and Ivory accompanied her body back to Huntsville for burial. When he returned to California, he took James back with him. Over the years, he made arrangements for his care.

He met Clara Elizabeth Ihrig on a blind date, and they were married December 25, 1953. Ivory said that she adopted James, and they became a family. He told a humorous story about a trip that he and Clara took in 1971.

Ivory wrote, "About three miles from Melechiís farm was a relative who owned the Rock Bridge mill. The mill was powered by a large spring with a rock wall tying into the bluff, about 15 feet high, that created the reservoir that held the water back from where it was harnessed to power the machinery that ground the corn and wheat for the farmers for miles around. Clara and I were on vacation in 1971 so we stopped at 'Rock Bridge.' The large red mill stood idle, but the stream was well stocked up with fish, and people coming from St. Louis to fish. The motel units were all taken. They said the Miller's big house that stood upon the hill had some beds to take care of the overflow, but it was not very desirable because it was supposed to be haunted, and they were tired of refunding people's money in the wee hours of the morning. I told them we could sleep with the 'demons' for one night, as it was miles to a motel, and we were tired.

So, reluctantly we were given a bed in the haunted house. The large room was fitted with closets built against the wall with places to hang your clothes, with a door on the front side. We went to bed, and Clara went to sleep, but it wasnít long until I heard music, a metallic pleasant sound. I listened to this until I saw that I wasnít going to get any sleep. The music was coming from a closet at the foot of our bed, so I decided to find out what was going on. I reached for my flashlight, slipped out of bed and to the front of the closet, and yanked the door open, flooding the closet with light at the same time, and there it was. A mouse was out on the wire clothes hangers pulling them so they were striking together, while two other mice sat upon the shelf above facing the music. With the flood of light, the educated mice took off, and I slept all night.Ē

On Standard's 100th birthday, Ivory was credited with 14 inventions that benefited the company. James Madison Lance, a welder at Standard, taught him how to weld using rented tanks.

Ivoryís first project was his wrought iron fence. He then created and installed porthole windows out of the doors from old washing machines. He built an electric hinged ladder and a power clothesline. He created air ducts and venting for the heater in his house and the cooler in his workshop. He was offered a job by the Hughes Tool Company after he retired, when one of the men saw his powered garbage can door. He said the ideas came to him at night, and if he didnít write them down he lost them.

Clara died in December 2002. Ivory accomplished much in his lifetime, never losing sight of moral values. He was a wealthy man, not only in personal possessions, but in the esteem he was held in by those who knew him. He died on May 24, 2003.

"Ivory L. Bell
Cryptside funeral services will be held in the West Side District Cemetery Mausoleum on Thursday, at 10:00 a.m., for longtime Taft resident, Ivor Bell, 99. Pastor Mike Harrell of the First United Methodist Church and the Officers of the Taft-Midway Lodge #426, F.&A.M. will officiate at the services.

Mr. Bell was born in West Plains, Missouri, on October 22, 1903, and passed away at his home on May 24, 2003. He came to Taft at a time when Taft was barely 10 years old and was a true pioneer of the area. The trip to Taft was made when Bell was 18 years old and by an automobile owned by a friend and his wife who needed him to drive them to California. They spent 18 days on the road.

After arriving in the Los Angeles area, Mr. Bell made the trip to Taft where his sister and brother-in-law lived, traveling over the old Ridge Route. He arrived in Taft during the very bitter oil strike that had paralyzed the oil industry and at a time when the oil companies kept the lights on the old wooden oil derricks on at night as a means of preventing vandalism. Hardly a day went by before he was hired by the Pacific Oil Co., the forerunner to the Standard Oil Co. in this area. Pacific was in the process of building what became known as the 11-C Camp after the Standard Oil Co. bought Pacific Oil. Mr. Bell was earning $5.00 per day at that time and was working seven days a week.

Before too long he was working in the Tool House and became its foreman. Mr. Bell became very well known for his inventions, many of which the Standard Oil Co., later known as Chevron, acknowledged and honored him for the many improvements that his inventions made in the daily operation of the company. In his earlier years with the company, he lived in the bunk house for single men, but after he got married, he lived in one of the 72 homes located on the camp 11-C Camp.

Mr. Bell was a member of the Taft-Midway Lodge #426, F.&A.M. for almost 75 years. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies, Bakersfield, 100F Taft Lodge #426 and the Petroleum Production Pioneers.

Mr. Bell was preceded in death by his wife, Clara, in November of last year. His survivors include his son, James Morgan Bell of Torrance; and his sister, Nidia Brown of Greenfield.

Mr. Bell had requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made in his memory to a favorite charity. No visitation hours are scheduled and the services are under the direction of the Erickson & Brown Funeral Home."

Erickson & Brown Funeral Home
Published in the Bakersfield Californian
May 28, 2003 - May 29, 2003

Researched and compiled by Virginia Brown
August 2015

Family links: 
  James Jeffrey Bell (1873 - 1954)
  Hattie Emeline Morgan Bell (1881 - 1956)
  Mary Letha Coger Bell (1905 - 1942)
  Clara Ihrig Bell (1910 - 2002)
  James Morgan Bell (1942 - 2004)*
  Ivory Leland Bell (1903 - 2003)
  Emery Ward Bell (1905 - 1986)*
  Letha Bessie Bell McBroom (1908 - 1988)*
  Grace Evalena Bell Goucher (1910 - 1984)*
  Virgie Velma Bell Harrington (1912 - 1978)*
  Laura Bell (1914 - 1914)*
  Irene Bell Wallingford (1918 - 1986)*
  James J Bell (1920 - 1982)*
*Calculated relationship
West Side District Cemetery
Kern County
California, USA
Maintained by: Virginia Brown
Originally Created by: Diana Satterfield
Record added: Mar 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25548978
Ivory Leland Ivor Bell
Added by: Virginia Brown
Ivory Leland Ivor Bell
Added by: Zuzu*s Petals
Ivory Leland Ivor Bell
Added by: Zuzu*s Petals
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- Virginia Brown
 Added: Aug. 31, 2015

- Zuzu*s Petals
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 Added: Aug. 27, 2010
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