Bedford County TN Biographies


Lem F. Bell moved to Springfield with his parents when he was but four years of age and he was educated in the local schools and in the Webb School at Bellbuckle, Bedford county. His three ambitions were: first, to have a large diamond; second, to be a news butcher; and third, to gain a college education. The latter two ambitions he outgrew, however, as he was married in his junior year at the Webb School, but he realized his first, for his wife presented him with a beautiful diamond and an apology for having been the cause of his blighted ambitions. In 1893 Mr. Bell made his initial step into the grain and feed retail and wholesale business and three years later he associated with C. A. Bell & Company, a general merchandise concern. He was active in that connection until 1904, since which time he has been in the fertilizer and implement business as a successor to C. A. Bell & Company. The business is now conducted under the name of Lem F. Bell & Company. He is likewise associated with the wholesale wire, seed and implement business of Bell, Long & Geistman, who also represent the International Harvester Company. This firm is located at Nashville. Mr. Bell has been president of the Tennessee Retail Hardware Association and he was one of the committee of one hundred of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. During the World war he served as chairman of innumerable committees and gave generously of his time and money in the furtherance of the government's interests. On the 17th of May, 1893, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Bell to Miss Lizzie Stark, a daughter of John W. and Polly Ann (Powell) Stark, both natives of Tennessee. To their union three children have been born: Dick, who is twenty-eight years of age and was in the United States army during the World war but did not serve overseas; Mattie, who is the wife of R. F. Long, cashier of the Peoples Bank of Springfield, and the mother of one child, Betsey; and Polly, who is the wife of John C. Pope, a successful tobacconist of Springfield. Mr. Bell is a strict adherent of the democratic party and the principles for which it stands. He indulges in politics only as a pastime and has never sought nor desired public preferment. He assisted in the management of Austin Peay's campaign for governor in 1918. He failed of election but is now an active factor in the present campaign of Mr. Peay for the same office. Mr. Bell managed John Thomason's campaign for comptroller of the state, and Mr. Thomason was elected and still fills that office; and he also managed the second campaign of Ham Patterson in this county for governor.

He, together with Ad Payne, likewise managed Albert H. Roberts' campaign for governor. Mr. Bell numbers among his friends some of the most prominent men in the country and he was a schoolmate of Edward Elliott, a brother-in-law of ex-President Woodrow Wilson. Mr. Bell is fitting up a farmers' rest room over his store, where the farmers and their wives may make their headquarters during their visits to town. It will have every convenience and comfort of a fine club and will be one of the valuable assets of Springfield in attracting trade for the home stores. Although never having realized his ambition for a college education and having achieved substantial success without it, Mr. Bell is a stanch supporter of advanced education and he raised most of the money for the building of the Peoples-Tucker Preparatory school, extended mention of which institution is made elsewhere in this work. For many years Mr. Bell has been secretary and treasurer of the school and he is one of its largest donators. He is very proud of this institution and considers it one of the best assets of the county. Mr. Bell is a man of scholarly attainments, and the library in his home is one of the finest and most complete in Springfield. He is now interested in selling his old home and he plans to build one of the most modern residences in this city. According to his plans there will be but one sleeping room, a sleeping porch, a library, kitchen and breakfast room. Mr. and Mrs. Bell do not wish a more spacious home, as their children are all grown up and away from home. The residence will be constructed of stucco on tile, making the house warm in winter and cool in summer. Mr. Bell is conceded to be one of the leading citizens in Springfield and he well merits the confidence and esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens.

The Goodspeed History of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford, Marshall TN 1886

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