1837 Dec. 16
Inclusive dates
1837 Dec. 16
Letter, 16 December 1837, sent from Maria Bell Broome in Winchester, Virginia, to her brother Robert S. Bell (1813-1888), a student at Union Theological Seminary in Prince Edward County. The principal focus of the letter is the failing health of their father John Bell (1773-1838). Broome describes in detail his symptoms and the prognosis offered by the doctor. She mentions that their father recently wrote a will, freed a slave named Lotty, and promised Lawkins (another slave?) that he could purchase a slave named George in the coming summer months. Broome also mentions that Hunter Boyd (1814-1865) will marry Eleanor Williams (d. 1890) next month, and John James Royall (1805-1856) has completed his move into a new house in Winchester
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Biographical or historical data
  • John Bell II was born in 1773, the son of John and Sarah Bell of Winchester, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Sherrard (1779-1815), daughter of Robert Sherrard, on 20 October 1796. Bell was a justice of the peace of Frederick County from 1795 to 1813 and was active in the affairs of the young town of Winchester. In 1825 he was appointed as one on a committee to erect an engine house in the town. A successful merchant, Bell was among the first book dealers in the region. He was also an elder of the Presbyterian Church, and an organizer and charter member of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Winchester. When a schism occurred in that church in 1826, Bell and four other elders formed the Kent Street Presbyterian Church. He died on 10 March 1838 and was interred in the Old Stone Church Cemetery. Later he was disinterred and reinterred in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester.
  • Maria Bell Broome was John Bell's third child. She married John M. Broome. Robert S. Bell was John Bell's youngest child, born 2 November 1813 in Winchester. He attended Hanover College from 1833-1835 and then Hampden Sydney College the following year. Upon graduation from college in 1836, Bell entered Union Theological Seminary in Prince Edward County, where he graduated in 1839. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church on 18 July 1841. For more than 45 years after his ordination, Bell preached in the Potomac River Valley in Virginia. Robert S. Bell married Elizabeth Gertrude Green (1820-1886) on 15 December 1842, and the couple had three children. He died in Washington, Virginia, 25 October 1888. Both he and his wife were interred in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester.
  • Andrew Holmes Hunter Boyd (1814-1865), originally of Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia, and Eleanor Frances Williams (d. 1890), originally of Woodstock, Shenandoah County, Virginia, were married in 1838. They lived their remaining days in Winchester, Virginia, where Boyd served as a Presbyterian minister.
Cataloging source
Form designation
  • The Library of Virginia
Immediate source of acquisition
Roberts, Peter J.
Type of unit

Library Locations

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      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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