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Biographies ~ Bell, Edmund (1838-1889) & Adair, Mary (1836-1924)
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Edmund Bell, descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran, was born September 29, 1838 in Cambria County, Pennsylvania to John and Christianna Bell. With his parents, three brothers and a sister, he came to Hangtown (Placerville) in the early days of the Gold Rush. They returned to the East so he, his father and two brothers could enlist in the Civil War. His father and his brother, Jesse died of yellow fever during the war.

Edmund originally enlisted in California, but the young men in his company felt they would do more good fighting southerners back east than fighting Indians around Fort Crook (near Fall River in eastern Shasta County) so the whole company deserted and went back east to enlist under other names Captain Edmund Blanchard a.k.a. Edmund Bell.

On May 28, 1836, Mary Adair was also born in Pennsylvania, near Saltsburg where her father had a large farm. Her family had deep roots in this country; her mother was a Hershey and Phillip Sheridan was a first cousin on her mother's side of the family; she had even ridden the horse that he rode through Georgia. Mary remembered a second cousin on her father's side of the family, Andrew Carnegie, as a poor boy.

Edmund met and married Mary Adair, May 5, 1864 in Pennsylvania where Edmund's mother and sister settled during the war. After the War, with daughters Jennie and Rosaline they moved to Oil City, Missouri; daughter Margaret was born there.

Oil City was a frontier town at that time with wolves prowling around their cabin and buffalo wandering near their home. Frontier heroes like Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok were their friends; Joe Bell had been an Indian Scout with Buffalo Bill in the last days of the Civil War.

About 1874, the family, with Uncle Joe and six other men traveled by ox and mule team to Ouray, Colorado where they heard silver mining was good. (Growing up with ten brothers probably helped Mary through the years in Oil City and Ouray where the population was largely cowboys and miners.) Their fourth daughter Ruth was born in Ouray, May 2, 1879. Ruth's memories of Ouray included sledding, fishing, pet donkeys and prowling mountain lions.

In 1886, they came to Shasta to visit Judge Aaron Bell and his mother who had returned to California to live with him. (Christianna Bell survived until 1899.) This visit persuaded them to move to California, so Edmund and Mary returned to Colorado, packed their belongings and early the following year they moved to Shasta.

Soon after they moved to Shasta, they acquired the Sunny Hill mine which was about fifteen miles northwest of Ono which was quite successful, but much of the profits were sunk in other ventures which were not as profitable. December 8, 1889, while; repairing a footbridge across Cottonwood Creek near the mine; Edmund was drowned.

Mary managed the mine and raised the girls in their home in Shasta. Rosaline never married; Jennie married her cousin, Jessie Bell and they had no children; Margaret married Bruce Ross and after his death, she married Jack Wolfe. Ruth married Louis Garrecht, who later served as Assessor for Shasta County; they had two daughters.

Mary devoted her time to her family, the church, W.C.T.U. (Temperance Society) and community afffairs until her death in 1924.

Source: Shasta Historical Society
February 12, 1994

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