Hamilton B. Bell

  • Birth 31 Jul 1853 Maryland, USA
  • Death 4 Apr 1947 Dodge City, Ford County, Kansas, USA
  • Burial Dodge City, Ford County, Kansas, USA
  • Memorial ID 9058021

Ham Bell was one of the most important people who lived in early Dodge City. He was the finest lawman ever to walk the streets of Dodge, doing more to maintain peace and order than anyone else on our record books. He came to Dodge in 1874 from being a Marshal in Great Bend, Kansas. He was soon Sheriff of Ford County. He was also Deputy Sheriff, and lived to be one of the oldest U.S. Marshals in history. Over the course of his life, he owned many businesses in Dodge City including the Ham Bell Varieties (a dance hall/ saloon), the Ham Bell Elephant Stables, he was a mortician, owning the first horse-drawn hearse in town, and then later, the first motor-driven hearse, he dealt in land and insurance, he had the first automobile dealership in town, as well as the first pet shop. He was so beloved by the citizens of Dodge City for all that he did here, that they called him the "Grand Old Man" of the Southwest. In his later years, the town held an annual picnic in Wright Park each summer to celebrate Ham's birthday and named it "Ham Bell Day". This event evolved into the modern "Dodge City Days". Everyone would stand in line to shake his hand. Ida Rath, one of the early settlers of Dodge said of Bell, "I remember him for many kind things he did and for many kind things he said to others. But probably the best thing we remember him for was that he always laid a floral tribute on the casket of anyone who passed away in Dodge City." Ham was known as a man who would give away much of what he owned for the benefit of others, and he often did so. On a sad note, Ham Bell died a poor man and his monument was donated by a friend who had already purchased the stone for himself, thus the name Dugan appears on the back side of Bell's stone.


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  • Created by: Allen Bailey: Dodge City Marshal
  • Added: 7 Jul 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9058021
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hamilton B. Bell (31 Jul 1853–4 Apr 1947), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9058021, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Dodge City, Ford County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Allen Bailey: Dodge City Marshal (contributor 46500685) .