JOHN BELL                                                              JAMES BAILEY AND JANE LEGGETT

Written in 1998 by a  descendant of John Allan Bell

John Bell's Parents - William and Esther - 
John's father, WiIliam, was born in March of 1822 (in Ireland according to the census records). He was married in New YorkCity on 10 June 1853 to Esther Wilson. William was about 31 and Esther was about 20 years old. She was also born in Ireland.
Possibly they were both part of the massive immigration from Ireland to the United States around the time of the Great Famine but I haven't yet found anything about where they came from and exactly when they left Ireland. Much of the information that follows was gleaned from William's Civil War Pension Record and his Military Record from the National Archives in Washington DC. Thanks go to Don Bell of Peterborough for the military discharge certificate that he found in a shoebox full of family papers that was left to him by Alec Bell. Without that certificate, it would have been very difficult to trace this information.

Unfortunately, there is no mention in these files of where in Ireland William or Esther were born. In an affidavit prepared for a widow's pension application, Esther gives details of their wedding, since she couldn't provide the marriage certificate to the pension office. They were married "by the Revd Mr Clements, a Presbyterian" Minister, in his rooms. There was there present Samuel Bell, Robert Irwin, Christopher Gibson, Maggie Law, Esther Scott, Theodocia Irwin, all of whom I believe to be now dead." In another affidavit dated 1900, she mentions Samuel Bell as having died "three years ago", so he may have been a relative with whom she maintained regular contact. William and Esther had three children during the time they were in
New York: John, born 31 May 1854, Isabella, born 16 February 1856 and Eliza Jane, born 2 December 1858.

Eliza Jane died at three years old, in April 1862, just after William had enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the War of the Rebellion (American Civil War). 

Willliam enlisted in Company E of the 79th Regiment of Infantry, New York Volunteers on 18 February 1862. This regiment was known as the Highlanders and at first they wore tartan trews, later switching to the Union Army dark blue. This suggests that William might have had Scottish ancestry. As a Presbyterian, he was almost certainly an Ulster Protestant. When he enlisted, William was described as "age 39, height 5'6", eyes brown, hair black. Born in Ireland. Occupation Labourer." William served for three years in Companies E, B and A and was discharged from Company A on 16 February 1865. According to his military record, he was sent to Beaufort, South Carolina, on the SS Natanzar on 26th February 1862, and arrived in early March but was hospitalized duringMarch and April. He saw action at James Island, South Carolina, June 16 1862. By September 1862, he was again sick and for three months thereafter was on detached service to the Divisional Headquarters at Pleasant Valley, Maryland, serving with the ambulance corps. He stayed with the ambulance corps until sometime in Mayor June 1863 and then took part in the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, from June 8 to July 4 1863, and the siege at Jackson, Mississippi on July 17 1863. He ended up in the convalescent camp at Nicholasville, Kentucky, in July and
August of that year and was later re-attached to the ambulance corps. The 79th fought in the repulse of Longstreet's assault on Fort Sanders, Tennessee, on November 29 1863. He returned to the ambulance corps until February of 1864. He fought at Spottsylvania, Virginia, on May 9 1864. From September to November 1864, he was hospitalized once more. He returned to the regiment on December 13 1864, and was mustered out at the expiration of his term in February 1865. Given the fact that four times as many soldiers were lost through sickness as on the battlefield during the Civil War, it's tempting to say that William spent most of his time at the "real battlefront" of the war.  He was very lucky to survive. According to the pension affidavits, He suffered lifelong health problems as a result of his Civil War service.

Sometime after William returned to New York in 1865 and before the end of 1867, William,Esther, John and Isabella left New York and came to live in Marmora Township. Another affidavit in the Pension Record, this time from William Lough, tells how they and their children "stopped at the house of my father until they got a house to live in oftheir own." There was alot of mineral exploration at that time. The Eldorado Gold Rush happened around 1866 and 1867 and the iron mine at Blairton attracted American capital in 1866 when a syndicate was established to amalgamate the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway Company and the Marmora Iron Company. Perhaps this was the reason for William and Esther's family relocating to Marmora. If that was their original reason for coming to the area, it didn't "pan out". William, like most people, didn't strike it rich. Instead, he took up farming.

By 1871 (according to the 1871 Census taken on April 21 of that year) William (age 45) and Esther (age 39) had settled on 100 acres on Lot 21 of Concession 7 in Marmora Township. This property was on the Shannick Road (the concession road that ran between the 6th and 7th concessions. Although the agricultural return shows their status as 'owners', the land registry abstracts for that period show that it was owned by the Canada Company. (The Canada Company was a land company set up in 1824 to sell land in the Huron Tract. John Gait is the best-known of the people connected with the Company. Much land was originally sold to settle damage claims resulting from the War of 1812. The Canada Company was active in land dealings innewly opened areas and operated until as late as 1950.)

William and Esther did farm this land and the census agricultural return shows that by 1871 they had improved 15 of the 100 acres. They produced 3 tons of hay, 80 bushels of potatoes, 4 bushels of buckwheat, 6 bushels of peas, 8 bushels of oats, and 6 bushels of wheat. They owned two oxen. In that year, their two milkcows produced 100 pounds of butter. Their other livestock consisted of two homed cattle and three swine. That year, they slaughtered two swine and cut 10 cords of firewood.

In the Canada Company records of "Improved Lots Leased without Option of Purchase", the ledger shows that William Bell paid rent on this lot from November 1886 until the lease was cancelled on 24 April 1899 (shortly before his death). It must have been quite a culture shock for John and Isabella to move to the relative wilds of Marmora Township from the City of New York, but I don't expect they had much time to think about it. According to the 1871 census, John was still in school at the age of 16 although Isabella was not. They must have put in long hours feeding pigs, churning butter, cutting wood and getting in the hay.

In 1884, when he was about 61 years old, and again in 1891 at age 69, William applied for an invalid's pension for his Civil War service. From his file, it looks as if his second application was successful and he received this pension until his death .  In July of 1899, Esther bought Lot Number 10 on the East Side of Hayes Street in Marmora Village from Hannah Eastwood for $125. On 7 November 1899 at the age of77, William died of a cerebral haemorrhage. Esther applied for and received a widow's pension from the US Government. When she died on 30 March 1915, she was receiving the sum of$12 a quarter or $48 a year. The house on Hayes Street was transferred to John Bell in January 1908 and
eventually sold in December 1920.

Isabella did not marry until she was almost 30 years old on 5 January 1886. Her husband was a widower with two children, Thomas Downard. They had three more children (Samuel, Minnie and Eliza). Thomas and Isabella eventually left Marmora. She was living in Cobalt at the time of
John's death in 1941. 

John Bell was about 12 or 13 when his family moved from New York to Marmora. On October 30, 1878, at the age of 24, John married Catharine Bailey. (See right)






John Bell's wife, Catharine Bailey,  was one of a large family of Baileys who had settled in the Beaver Creek Ditrict of North Marmora Township.  

The original Bailey settlers were James Bailey (Catharine's grandfather) and his wife Jane Leggett. They were from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. According to a letter written in 1837 stored in the Township Papers at the Ontario Archives,
"James Bailey has an improved farm on the east half of lot number five in the eighth concession of this (Marmora) township upon which he has constantly resided since the year 1823." According to the Crown Land Records, they received a gratuitous grant of 50 acres and then an additional 50 acres through the Land Board. This land seems to have passed out of the family sometime in the mid-1860s since it was sold for taxes in 1868 but James Bailey had leased the mineral rights prior to abandoning the property and moving to Harold.  The Baileys later purchased 400 acres at Harold in Rawdon Township. (For more on the Harold Baileys,  see below)

James Bailey (the elder) and Jane had four sons and a daughter that lived to adulthood.  It seems there were two children that died very early (an infant and a son named May 1828-1830) and a daughter Nancy died at the age of 21. The eldest son, James, born in 1821,  married Isabella Quin and stayed in Marmora, probably because his wife had land of her own.     Samuel, the second son born 1825, ended up living at Harold. Their son,  John, born 1832,  lived first at "Pancake Hill" in Huntingdon and later at Harold.    Samuel and John married two sisters, Caroline and Jane Tucker.  They also had a son, Allan,  born 1826,  and a daughter, Matilda.

Isabella Quin (Catharine Bailey's mother 1823-1899),  was the only child of Catharine and James Quin (1794-1832), who  had immigrated to Canada from Killinchy in County Down, Ireland. In the summer of 1822, when James Quinwas 28 years old, the
Land Board of the Midland District of the Province of Upper b Canada issued him a Ticket of Location for 100 acres on the east half of lot 15, concession VI. This is the lot just south of the old Mannora Cheese and Butter Company for those who are familiar
with the area.

People in those days commonly got "location tickets" allowing them to homestead and, if they showed evidence that they had improved the land, eventually they received the
Patent from the Crown. lames paid 4 pounds 8 shillings and eleven pence as the first instalment for his ticket of location. They settled on and improved the farm. James was also one of the first men to be employed at the Marmora Iron Works. But James Quin
died in 1832 within a few days of preparing his Last Will and Testament on April 11. The Crown Patent had not been issued but James' wish was for his wife Catharine to have the use of his property during her natural life and then for his only daughter to
inherit this property after Catharine' s death.

There is a letter dated 1842 in the Township Papers, from an Adam H. Mayers to the Surveyor General pointing out that 30 acres had been cleared and a house and barn built on the property. He had also seen James Quin's will and spoken to one of the witnesses to corroborate the fact that the farm had been left to Catharine Quin and then left "in fee" to his only daughter, Isabella.

James Bailey Sr.  postmaster

By then Catharine Quin had remarried James Crawford who had the adjacent farm and was subsequently known as Catharine Crawford and Isabella Quin had married James Bailey and was known as Isabella Bailey. James Crawford had gone to some lengths to clear his wife's title to the land with no success but eventually, in 1847, the case was heard by the Heir & Devisee Commissioners.  At last, in 1853, the Patent was issued in the names of Catharine Crawford and Isabella Bailey "in fee". The Heir & Devisee proceedings contain a copy of the will, as well as the Ticket of Location and several affidavits.

The crossroads in North Marmora on the centre line of Concession VI at lots 15 and 16 was known for many years as Baileys Corners and the Bailey family was mover in the area. They gave land on the north west corner and helped to build Holy Trinity Church, which has since been demolished. The Marmora Cheese Manufacturing Company was also built on their land (north east corner), as well as the school known as SS No 2. It's interesting to note that when the land for SS #2 was transferred for the sum of $10, Catharine and Isabella signed the deeds, since they could dispose of the property themselves without requiring James Crawford's and James Bailey's signatures.

Isabella and James Bailey had nine children - three three boys and six girls

  • James Crawford. - married Sarah Jones, the daughter of Marmora Township's Reeve, Hugh Jones, one of the early settlers in the area. They had a modest family of three sons and one daughter,   and were farmers in North Marmora.
  • Margaret (Broadworth)
  •  Joshua  married Charity Kellerman, from Huntingdon
    Township. She was reputed to have supernatural powers.
    According to anecdotes told by  Irene McMiIIen, Charity
    could stop cream from turning into butter in the churn and interfere
    with the fertility of women she didn't like. She and Joshua had 11
    children. According to his obituary notice, he dropped dead in the
    Rotunda of the Royal Hotel in Marmora at a ripe old age. He
    seems to have inherited the south half of lot 16.
  • Mary (Jones)  
  • Jane  
  • Catharine (Bell)  was born on 19 June 1856 and was the  sixth child in the family. James was an Anglican and Isabella was a Presbyterian but the Anglican strain prevailed and the Baileys were all Anglicans. Isabella and James acquired title to Lot 16, Concession VI in late 1883.
  • Isabella (Lough)
  •  Ida Frances (Peck)
  • AIlan  married  Matilda and bought the north half of lot 16 but he died when he was about 30 years old leaving a widow and two sons. His widow Matilda remarried within about three years, so the farm passed share and share alike to the two sons - Allan and James Angus. They, however, chose :o join the thousands of young men who were opening the great North West, homesteading in Brornhead, Saskatchewan, and the farm was purchased by Catharine and John Bell in 1917.

Eventually the original Quin homestead on the east half of Lot 15, concession 6 was passed on  by Catharine Bailey Bell to her son James Bell.           

          Click here for more on James Crawford Bailey

John Bell  married Catharine Bailey  on 30 October 1878, at the age of 22 in Madoc, witnessed by James Gawley and Isabella Bailey (probably her sister). By the 1881 census, John and Catharine were living in Marmora
Township (perhaps on the Bailey homestead)  and had one son, Allan, born in 1879. Their second son, James was born in 1881 and a third son, William, was born in 1884. Their first son, Allan, died in April of 1885, age 5. By that time, they had purchased a farm of their own. The Land Registry abstracts show that John Bell
purchased the east half of Lot 21, Concession 8 from Robert Blakely for $1,800 in November 1884. They kept this farm until 1927 when it was sold to their son James. A fourth son, John Allan, was born in 1889. After John Allan was born, they leased some additional land. The Canada Company records show that John Bell leased 100 acres - the east half of Lot 21, Concession 9 - from November of 1892 for two years and then again from November 1894 to February of 1905. They bought this land in January 1913 but sold it within two years to George Arthur
Tompkins. They also had two daughters. Edith was born in September 1893, but died on Christmas Eve of that same year during an epidemic of whooping cough in Marmora Township. Their last child, Ruth, was
bom in 1897.

After Isabella Bailey died in September of 1899, her son, James Crawford Bailey, as the Administrator of her estate, sold the Quin/Bailey homestead on the east half of Lot 15, Concession 6 to Catharine Bell for $1150.00 on March  27 1901. According to the estate files, James Bailey senior was suffering from gangrene when Isabella died and couldn't make the trip to Belleville. He didn't expect to survive her for very long. In fact, he lived until 20 January 1906.

In September 1907, according to the Land Registry abstract, John and Catharine bought the west half of Lot 21, Concession 8 from the Rathbun Company.



Including the Baileys of Harold



  • James (b. 1881) married Mary Lucas and went west but he enlisted in the CanadianEngineers and served in the First World War, eventually returning to live in Marmora. James eventually received the original QuinlBailey homestead, as well as the farm at lot 21, concession 8. His children are Cecil, Leslie, Borden and Mildred (MacGregor).   The Land Registry records show that in 1927 John and Catharine's son, James, bought both the Quin/Bailey farm and the old Bell homestead on Lot 21, Concession 8.
  • William (b. 1884) went west to Lanigan, Saskatchewan, where he married Clara McConnell.  They had four children: Ernest, alga, Hazel and Jack. alga eventually returned to the east and settled on a farm in Reid, east of BelIeville, with Vince McDermott. Again, I'm sure there is a wealth of family history to be recorded by someone descended from this line ofthe family.
  • John Allan (b. 1889) went west to Keewatin (near Kenora). He worked for the Five Roses Flour Mill at first and then for the railway, eventually going back to work for the Flour Mill. In 1912, he returned to Marmora to marry Mabel Fletcher, a teacher at the Zion School. They went back to Keewatin where their son Alec was born in 1913. Shortly afterward, John and Catharine arranged to buy the Allan Bailey farm on the north half of Lot 16, Concession VI from the two young sons who had gone west (purchase registered in 1917). In 1915 or 1916, John Allan and Mabel returned to Marmora to work that farm, buying it from John and Catharine in 1922. John Allan and Mabel had six more children in Marmora: Philip, Margaret, Irene, Graham, Allan and Donald. John Allan was President of the Marmora Cheese Manufacturing Company for many years and also Reeve of Marmora & Lake and member of the Hastings County Council. In the mid-sixties, they sold the farm and moved to Peterborough.
  •  Ruth (b. 1897) married Earl Wells and had a large family (3 girls and 6 boys).  Ruth suffered from a heart condition and died in her 50s.


John died on 11 January 1941 (aged 86). According to his obituary, John had spent winters as a teamster in the lumber camps and helped build the Central Ontario Railway. He was "abrupt and outspoken" but was "big hearted and had helped a good many in time of trouble. For several
years he was tax collector during the worst part of the depression and he served the municipality faithfully and at the)same time was lenient to those who were hard hit by Iow prices for farm products .... He was generally cheerful and friendly with a fine sense of humour." I know that John and Catharine frequently financed mortgages, because I have seen them in the land records.

Catharine lived till 18 May 1941 (age 84) outliving John by just a few months. Her obituary says "she was held in high esteem by many relatives and friends. Friendly and cheerful, she was a good neighbour and friend." I think that she must have been a woman who knew her own mind. While she sometimes appears in the land records as "and wife", she also appears in her own right as "Catharine Bell (a married woman)". 




Mabel Fletcher had been raised by a foster mother, Esther Fletcher, and never talked about her own parents.  Mabel's mother was supposed by family tradition to be the person known as Aunt Dee. Her name was Delia Derry and she lived in Madoc. On their marriage licence,   John's parents are listed as John Bell, farmer, and Catharine Bailey. In Mabel's case, her father is listed as Lewis Shaw, with the note that "She is an unlawful child".

Her mother is listed as Adelia Derry,   Louisa Clairmont and Maud Deck  witnessed and signed the licence. On the other side of the licence,
written vertically by the minister, is a note to the effect that "Mabel Derry Fletcher was adopted by a widow, Mrs Esther Fletcher, but there were never any papers drawn up, so she is being married with both her natural and her adopted mother's name - Mabel Derry-Fletcher".

Who was Esther Fletcher and why did she look after Mabel?   and where was Adelia?  

The 1871 census revealed Adelia living  in the household of James and Agnes Thompson of Madoc, aged 22. Her relationship to the Thompson family is listed as "domestic".  By the 1901 census, Mabel Fletcher is listed as an adopted daughter (10 years old) of Mrs John Fletcher, a widow of 64 years of German origin. Mabels origin is listed as Irish (usually an indication  of fathers heritage) The census indicated  she was living as a boarder in Madoc with an English widow named Elizabeth Schildrick, aged 72. Delia's occupation is listed as 'tailoress' and her age is 30. She was still single. Much later in life, when she was 42, she married Jack Henderson, a widower with one son, Jack, and continued living in Madoc. Jack Henderson was the owner of the Henderson-Connelly Talc Mine near Eldorado.



And what about the mysterious Lewis Shaw?

Lewis William Shaw was the third son of William John Shaw and Jane Richardson.  

He was born in the Township of Madoc on August 20, 1869.  Family stories have it that "Lewis travelled to the United States when he was nineteen years old and worked for ten years in logging camps. Of course these dates are by word of mouth, so he could have been older than the stated age. He married there on August 4, 1898 .... They returned to Canada shortly after the wedding and their first child was born here in June 1899. He returned to
the States and remained there until 1903, when he travelled to Edmonton, Alberta, and later to Tomahawk, a settlement that he himself named." He passed away on July 29, 1950, in Tomahawk, Alberta.
As it is, he seems the most likely of the three Lewises listed in census records. And perhaps the most likely explanation for Mabel being born out of wedlock is that Lewis left Madoc for the logging camps in the United States before Mabel was born. Delia fostered Mabel to the care of Esther Fletcher but never lost contact with her and certainly Mabel was well cared for. She had a good education and attended the Normal School (teacher's college) in Kingston.

The Derrys

The Derry family had come from Portadown in County Armagh, in present-day Ulster (Northern Ireland).  Delia Derry's grandparents were John Derry and Martha Kelly.  They had married in Drumcree, Ballinagone, near Portadown in 1809.   They had four children in Ireland (Philip, Henry, John and Martha) before leaving for the United States. They arrived in 1824 and settled near Heuvelton in St Lawrence County, New  York State (close to Ogdensburg). One son, Henry, died, and they had four other children - twins named William and James, Thomas and Robert Henry (popularly known as Henryy after the deceased older brother).

Robert Henry, baptised in 1831, was Delia's father. John and Martha purchased 25 acres from a Jacob van Heuvel in 1824 but lost it in a
sheriffs sales in. Lot 6. Their last child, Margaret was  born in Marmora  in 1833 so,  they must have relocated to Marmora sometime between 1826 and 1833. 

In 1845 John and Martha Derry purchased part of Lot 13, Concession 9 in Marmora Township but may have been living on the land earlier than that.  Delia's father, Robert Henry married a Mary Anne Murphy and purchased half of the 50-acre lot from his parents in 1866, finally paying for it in 1872. He entered into many mineral leases on this land. This was about the time of the gold discoveries and land speculation was at a high pitch. The famous Richardson Mine at Eldorado had been discovered in 1866 in Madoc Township. In Marmora Township, the Sovereign Mine (Lots 15 and 16, Concession 11) and the Dean & Williams Mine (Lot 7, Concession 9) also went
into operation. The Deloro Mine opened in 1871. The family tradition is that Henry and Mary Anne both died relatively young and around the same time between 1872 and 1878. (Theyappear on the 1871 Census but not on the 1881 census.) John by this time was 95 years old and may not have been in possession of all his faculties. He re-sold Henry's land in 1878 (in spite of the fact that it should have gone to Henry's heirs).

After some litigation, the ownership of the 25-acre homestead on Lot 13, Concession 9 was returned to the eldest son Thomas Williamby  by quit
claim. John Derry died at 97 in 1880, probably pre-deceased by his wife, Martha. John and Martha may be buried on the homestead, as no one has yet found their graves. This John Derry is probably the one commemorated in the refrain recalled by Philip Bell: "I'm Protestant John Derry from Portadown. Show me a Catholic and I'll show you a corpse."   While this sentiment would not be out of place in present day Portadown, his heirs have definitely not carried on the tradition, freely mixing the Derry genes with many others of the Catholic persuasion.

Robert Henry and Mary Ann Derry had seven children altogether: 
 Henry's eldest son, Thomas William, was left with the task of raising his brothers and sisters. According to family tradition, Thomas William sent his siblings to school every day and to church on Sunday and cared for them in every way. 

• Thomas William (b. 1852)  married Nettie Istead and moved to Bruce County and then to Yorkton,
Saskatchewan. They had two sons, Royal (Roy) and Philip, both of whom inherited
hemophilia. Philip died at a young age from a fall. They also had eight daughters. Marg
Korchinski is a granddaughter of Roy. She says that many of Roy's sisters were short-lived
and Nettie ended up raising a number of her grandchildren.
• Martha (b. 1855)  married Charles White of Madoc. Their farm was near Bannockbum. The Jack White
who worked with John Bell on the railway in Kenora and was scalded to death during a train
derailment was probably their son. Another of their children, Ethel, married James Bailey, a
son of Joshua Bailey and one ofCatharine Bailey's nephews.
• Philip (b. 1859) married Veteline Turcotte. He was living in Cobalt when he died in 1938 after many
years in the mining industry.
• Abraham (b. 1860) married Rachel Augusta Tennyson and became a cheesemaker. He lived at Gilmour
for a while and was working at the Gunter Cheese Factory in 1899. They had 13 children.
• Ira Derry (b. 1864)  was killed in an explosion at the Blairton Mine in 1900. Ira was said to have had
many premonitions and visions. On the day he died, he told his sister Martha that the previous
night he had been visited by his mother (long since deceased) who told him she would be
seeing him soon. While setting a dynamite blast that afternoon he and another young man from Blairton were both killed .
• Elizabeth Ann (b.  1865)  married a George White of Madoc, who was likely a brother of Martha's
husband Charles.  She died young, possibly in childbirth .
•  Adelia (b. 1871) worked at the Gill farm in Madoc Township  and, after Mabel was born on March 5, 1891, worked on the Thompson farm. By 1901, she was working as a tailoress in Madoc. She remained single until 1913 when, at 42, she married Jack Henderson of the Henderson-Connelly Talc Mine. He was a widower with one son, Jack Jr.

Lillian Derry Walker

Reeve Graham Bell's last wife, Lillian Derry Walker, was part of the same Derry line. She was in fact a great-great-great-granddaughter of John Derry and Martha Kelly, the original Derry family who came to Marmora via the United States from Ireland. She was descended from William Derry (one of the twins born to them in Heuvelton, New York). William Derry (like Robert Henry) also married a Murphy. Robert Henry's wife was
Mary Anne and William' s wife was her cousin, Maria. Their first son Thomas Henry Derry married Fannie Wannamaker. Their first son, William Henry, married Maggie Darragh. Their son, Charles Millen Derry, was Lillian's father. So the connection is there but it goes way back to the first generation of Derrys in Marmora Township.