"At the end of each sketch, to the extent possible, is shown the source and date of original publication. There are numerous sketches from the Fannie O. Jones Scrap Book. These will be identified by the term, 'FOJ Collection'. In some cases, dates of publication were unavailable" Wayne Spiller , Compiler of McCulloch County History, Vol. I. 1976
The late J. E. Bell, pioneer builder and farmer of McCulloch County,
came to Texas in 1880 from Henderson, North Carolina. He "landed"
in Round Rock, Texas, a young lad of fifteen years with the whole sum of
fifty cents as capital for starting an eventful career in the vast open
spaces of West Texas! From Round Rock he rode west to Pontotoc spending
Christmas with his sister in the year 1881, and later being employed by
a Mr. Hayden on his farm.
In 1882, Mr. Bell managed the Hibdon Gin at Field Creek. In 1883 he learned the cattle game working for a Mr. Latham on Deep Creek. In 1885, Mr. Bell bought his first tract of land and his mother joined him as a pioneer in the West. In 1887, he married Fannie Ellen Scott. In 1891 Mr. Bell moved to Pontotoc and began his mercantile career with a small grocery store, still keeping in touch with his cattle and farming interests. In 1902 he moved to Brady exchanging property in the country for property in town. In 1904 he erected a permanent rock building as his business demanded a larger place for occupancy.
While Mr. Bell was till a merchant his heart was always in the soil-he loved the land and liked best of all to be called a pioneer in farming in McCulloch County.
Mrs. Bell can remember when the citizens of Brady hauled water for all purposes, usually a man would call in the early morning with fresh water for the family barrel, sweeping it clean with a broom and filling it each day for the nominal sum of ten cents. Ten cents a day for the entire water supply! A far cry from the present situation. We were pioneers in many ways in 1902.