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Memorable Manitobans: William Robert Bell (1845-1913)

Soldier, farmer.

Born at Brockville, Ontario on 28 May 1845, son of Robert Bell, he was educated at Brockville. He lived in the western United States for a time but returned to Canada at the time of the Fenian raids and served in the affairs of 1866 and 1870 in Ontario. He received medals issued for those campaigns. He retired in 1875 as Major of the 41st Regiment. During the 1885 North West Rebellion, he had charge of the transport under Frederick Middleton. He was a member of the first Wimbledon rifle team, and was the originator and first commanding officer of the Manitoba Club Rifle Association. Bell operated a farm of some 50,000 acres at Indian Head [North West Territories, now Saskatchewan] from 1882 to 1895. Later he moved to Winnipeg and was associated with the Edmonton Coal Company. He was married twice, first to Catherine A. Elwood (?-1895), a daughter of James G. Elwood and second, on 31 March 1897, to Catherine Ormiston with whom he had four children. He died at Winnipeg on 17 February 1913 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Bell Avenue in Winnipeg.

See also:

William Robert Bell, Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Sources:

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Major W. R. Bell called by death,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 February 1913, page 5.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

We thank Frank Korvemaker for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 October 2014

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