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Irvin Monroe Bell

Ozark County, Missouri, USA
Death 7 Aug 1934 (aged 60)
Fremont, Carter County, Missouri, USA
Burial Trail, Ozark County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 36742221 · View Source
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Irvin was the 6th of Henry Harrison & Sarah Jane (Young) Bell's nine children.

The actual date of Irvin's birth is a mystery. The 1900 Federal Census record indicates he was 26 years old, born in February 1874. A copy of his death record was ordered to help solve this mystery, but to no avail. His son, James Elzie Bell, who lived in Van Buren, MO, was the informant on the record. Unfortunately, he could only guess at his father’s birth date, indicating he was born about 1872, and that he was about 62 years old at the time of his death. The date in the 1900 census may be the most accurate. His name has been spelled variously as Irving, Irvin, Ervin, and Erwin.

Irvin was about 19 years old when he married 16-year-old Dicey Jane in Gainesville, Ozark Co, MO on September 23, 1893. (Dicey’s older sister, Lydia, married Irvin’s cousin, William Monroe Bell.)

By 1900 Dicey had give birth to two children who had died. Their names are unknown.

Federal Census
On June 2, 1900,
Irvin & Jane, ages 26 & 21, were renting a home in Brush Creek Township, Douglas Co, MO. They had been married 6 years; Dicey had given birth to 5 children, but only 3 were living. Irvin was a day laborer. Their children were:
James, age 5, born Dec. 1894; Melvie A., 3, born born Oct. 1897; & Dewey, 3, born Dec. 1899.

Irvin and Dicey lived in Trail for a number of years before they moved to Carter Co, MO.

Federal Census
On April 19, 1910,
Ervin M. & Dicey J., ages 40 & 31, lived in Richland Township, Ozark Co, MO, where he farmed. They had been married 16 years; Dicey had given birth to 8 children, 6 who were living. Their children were James E., 16; Melva A., 14; Dewey G., 10; Luetta N., 8; Carlie L., 6; & Henry E., 4 months.

Their last child, William Mark, was born in 1917. In 1918, Irvin developed “pneumonia fever,” but recovered by the middle of April.

Irvin’s cousin, William Monroe "Roe" Bell, lived in Carter Township, Carter Co, MO with his family. Roe was married to Dicey’s sister, Lydia. Perhaps Roe and Lydia persuaded them to move there. Irvin & Dicey were probably in Carter County, on August 15, 1919, when their oldest child, James Elzie, was born.

In 1920, they lived in Kelley Township where Irvin and his son, Alvin, worked at a sawmill. Their daughter, Nora, and her husband, Robert Horton, lived with them.

Federal Census
ON JANUARY 12/15, 1920,
Ervin & Dica J., ages 52 & 45, lived in Kelley Township, Carter Co, MO. Ervin had a job as a blacksmith in a sawmill. Their children were Dewey G., age 20; Lida, 15; Thomas A., 10; Beed, 5; & Mark, 3 years 10 months. Their daughter Nora L. Horton, age 17, & her husband Robert, 21, lived with them. Robert was a farmer.

Later Irvin & Dicey moved to the little town of Fremont, located about ten miles west of Van Buren. JoAnn Cordonier said that her great-grandfather, Irvin, operated the Paint Rock ferry on the Current River. He was sometimes known for supplementing his income by dealing in "unlicensed" alcoholic beverages while running the ferry.

Descendants say Irvin could "make a fiddle talk," and he was often asked to play for local dances in nearby Shannon County. He had a fond appreciation for well made fiddles and was very impressed with a fiddle owned by Ira Moss, a young man who lived in Bowlan, in Shannon County. He made a deal with Ira and traded him his Model-T car in exchange for his fiddle. Irvin was said to have passed his musical talent down to his son, Melvie.

Over the years he and Dicey enjoyed returning to Ozark County to visit relatives and friends. They usually stayed with the Cort Canady family.

A tragic set of events led to Irvin’s death on Sunday, July 1, 1934. He spotted some thieves stealing his boat, and as he ran along the bank of the river trying to catch them, was overcome by heat and collapsed. No one knows how long it was before he was found. He was then taken to the home of his son, Bud, but his condition grew worse.

Dr. W. Endy, of Eminence, MO, was called to the house on August 3, but couldn’t do anything to help. The following Tuesday afternoon, he died in Bud’s home. Heat stroke was shown as the official cause of death on his death certificate. His address was shown as Fremont, Pike Township, Carter Co, MO.

His body was taken to Croy Funeral Home in Van Buren, after which he was transported to Trail, Missouri, and buried in Eaton Cemetery. JoAnn Cordonier said he is buried in the same row as his father, Henry Bell, next to his daughter, Eivin, who died young.

A death notice of his death was published in Van Buren in The Current Local on Thursday, August 9, 1934:
“Heat Causes Death of Aged Citizen - Irvin Bell, 62 years old, father of Joe, Elsie and Bud Bell, a sunstroke at his home near Paint Rock one day last week, and died as a result Tuesday at the home of his son, Bud, on Mill Creek. Mr. Bell was the first victim of the intense heat prevailing over this section during the past month. The body was prepared for burial by the Croy Funeral Home of this place and burial will be made today at the old home near West Plains.”

The above information is edited from my book, "The Family of James and Caroline Bell." James and Caroline were Irvin's grandparents.

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  • Created by: Virginia Brown
  • Added: 4 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36742221
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Irvin Monroe Bell (Feb 1874–7 Aug 1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36742221, citing Eaton Cemetery, Trail, Ozark County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Virginia Brown (contributor 47053782) .