The Overall Gang #1~Horace Bell

The Overall Gang

A lot of time while writing about our ancestors, we focus on those who would be considered successful by current standards. After all there is usually far more documentation and sources that we can draw from that makes developing the story of their lives much easier. Looking through photos I made a discovery! I have quite a few pictures of my ancestors wearing farmers overalls. The majority of my ancestors spent their whole lives making a home and raising a family on a farm. To them, wearing overalls was a sign of honor, and they were proud of what they did. So, to honor these hard-working men I will highlight the life of one of the “overall gang” each week, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

This week I am highlighting my paternal 1st cousin Horace Helm Bell. Horace was born August 12, 1901, in Odessa, Lafayette County. Missouri. He was the youngest of 8 children born to Manlies and Elizabeth (Doak) Bell. He was raised on a farm just outside Odessa where he fell in love with working the land and watching things grow. He married Bessie Marie Willard on January 5, 1926, and they had 6 children, 4 daughters and 2 sons.

Their farm was about 70 acres and Horace rotated his crops between Rye and Barley and he had a yearly crop of Indian Corn that grew very well in the rich soil. He also had a small Red Delicious Apple orchard. Since Horace and Bessie got married at the start of the Great depression, their first few years were very difficult. However, because Horace’s knowledge of farming, the family not only had food for their own tables, but the Bell’s helped out several people who lived in town.

The photo is Horace leading his horse and foal towards the barn. Horace was 5 ft 10 in tall so you can tell how big the foal is. Horace looks so comfortable in his overalls, the symbol of his blessed life. He died on October 12, 1989, at the hospital in Higginsville, Missouri at the age of 88 years old.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

8 thoughts on “The Overall Gang #1~Horace Bell

  1. Horace was my great grandfather, Leona was my grandmother….thank you so much for bringing back memories!! I spent a lot of time with my great grand parents, on the farm, in the orchard and in Higginsville. Thank You so much!!

  2. The interesting fact not listed is that Grandpa and Grandma’s love for each other. Grandpa died on Grandma’s birthday and if I am remembering correctly Grandma died on his birthday.

    1. Wow, that is amazing. I would love to hear more about them. I write a blog a day (sometimes 2) and this particular series is just to honor those who were farmers. I don’t go into their lives too much. I would love to learn more about them so I could write a more in-depth blog about their lives.

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