LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS S. BELL was born at West Chester, PA, May 12, 1838. He was the third son of Hon. Thomas S. Bell; was also a lineal descendant of Colonel Joseph McClellan, who was distinguished in the Revolution as a brave, active, and vigilant officer, and who during a long life was held in high estimation by his fellow-citizens.
Colonel Bell's education was chiefly acquired at the West Chester Academy. In the juvenile exercises at that classical seminary he gave brilliant indications of the genius that was then in process of development; and on all subsequent occasions manifested a graceful power of oratory, even surpassing the rich and rapid eloquence for which his father was distinguished. He studied the law under the direction of his father, and was admitted to the bar of Chester County at the April term, 1859.
March 11, 1858, he was commissioned aide-de-camp to the major-general of the Third Division of the uniformed militia of Chester and Delaware Counties, and October 3, 1859, he was appointed paymaster of the same division, with the rank of Major. May 20, 1859, he was appointed by Governor Packer a notary public for Chester County, and at the general election in October, 1860, he was one of the candidates of the Democratic party for the State Legislature.
In the spring of 1861, while hopefully engaged in the business of his profession a call was made by the President of the United States for volunteers. Mr. Bell was among the foremost to respond to the call, and was a lieutenant in the first company that marched from his native town. He was appointed adjutant of the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment of three months' volunteers, and held that position during their term of service.
He was then commissioned by Governor Curtin lieutenant-colonel of the Fifty-first Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Hartranft. At Roanoke Island Colonel Bell had command of part of the regiment, and his gallant conduct is said by those familiar with the details to have aided much in the success of our arms. At Newbern he had command of the entire regiment. He was ordered to charge the enemy's batteries, which he did, took the first battery, and was the first man to mount it. At Camden he had command of the brigade to which his regiment belonged, which on that occasion was foremost and led the charge. In all these and other engagements he distinguished himself by his skill and bravery.
When the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Pennsylvania Regiment, composed largely of Chester County volunteers, was formed, Lieutenant -Colonel Bell was named for colonel, but the order of the War Department relative to officers changing their positions prevented his acceptance of the honor.
He was killed at the battle of Antietam, after the desperate charge upon and capture of the stone bridge, being struck with a grape-shot in the back part of the head, and fell mortally wounded, September 17, 1862. He was taken to a farm-house in the vicinity, and died about five o'clock of the same day. His remains were brought to his home at West Chester, and interred by the side of his mother, in the Oaklands Cemetery, where it was his expressed wish to be laid.
Colonel Bell possessed a fine form and features, and looked, as he was, every inch a soldier. His disposition was most amiable, and he was in the highest sense of the term a Christian. He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
BENNETT, ___ The earliest record of this family is obtained from an old Bible which was brought over by the emigrant ancestors of the present generation. The entries are as follows:
John Bennet, son of John Bennet, of Overly, in the County of Worcester, England, and Ann Brinton, daughter of William Brinton, of Nether Gowrnal, in the parish of Sedgley and county of Stafford, were married 4, 18, 1684, at a meeting at Stourbridge, in Staffordhire. John and his father Edward doubtless came to Pennsylvania soon after this date, and John was appointed constable of Birmingham Township 10th month, 1686. He settled at first on land of his father-in-law, William Brinton, but in 1696 purchased 500 acres adjoining on the north, the deeds for which are now in possession of his great-great-grandson of the same name. John Bennett died in 1709, leaving four children, - William, Olive (married to William Pyle), John, and Ann (married to Joseph England).
Of these, John married, 7, 17, 1719, Sarah Maris, daughter of John Maris, of Springfield, by
whom he had the following children: 1. John, m. Hannah Seal, who died with all her
children, and he next m. Ruth Way, 12, 18, 1754, daughter of Jacob, the father of John,
now on the original tract, and Titus Bennett, the bookseller, and author of "Bennett's
Arithmetic," b. 8, 10, 1768; d. 6, 27, 1841. 2. William, m. Martha Jefferis and went to
Anne Arundel Co., Md., where they died, leaving several children. Three of their sons came
to live with their relatives in Chester County, viz.: William, who m. Alice Hoopes and lived
on the western edge of West Chester; James, who m. Her sister, Hannah Hoopes; and
Silas, who m. Abigail Woodward. 3. Titus, b. 8, 12, 1732; d. 12, 2, 1825. 4. James, b. 9, 10,
1734; d. 3, 24, 1825; m. 12, 23, 1761, Hannah Gilpin, and settled in Pennsbury. They were
the parents of Isaac Bennett, father of Gilpin Bennett; also of Mary, who m. Cheyney
Jefferis, of East Bradford.