Shelby  County  Indiana
Newspaper  Articles


The  Shelbyville  Democrat
Monday, September 5, 1910
Page 1   column 5
Domestic and Business Worry
Attributed as Cause of
Dr. J. W. Bell's Sudden and
Mysterious Disappearance
---Other Officials in Powder
Company Not Disheartened and
Say They Will Continue Plans.
          Worry over the unencouraging way inwhich the stock in his powder company was selling, coupled with domestic unhappiness, is said to be the cause of the sudden disappearance of  Dr. J. W. Bell, discovered of the Bell smokeless powder and president and organizer of the company, who left his home in St. Paul in his automobile yesterday.  His parting words were, "I am going west -- out where the people use powder and will buy what I make."
          The strange disappearance of the physician has set the whole town of St. Paul agog, and numerous reports and stories are running rife.  Of the many rumors afloat it is believed that the one attributing the doctor's disappearance to his domestic troubles is the most reliable.  According to this report  Mrs. Bell,  after a quarrel with her husband last week, attempted to commit suicide by taking poison, and was only prevented from fulfillment of her rash design by the timely arrival of her husband, who snatched the phial from her hand.  Conjugal bliss was not restored, so the story goes, after this event and Sunday the storm broke afresh.  After the quarrel Dr. Bell, it is said, decided to leave the country.  The report that he was intoxicated is vigorously denied by friends.
          As is evident from his parting words the physician was not over-encouraged by the sale of stock in his powder plant, which, it is reported from reliable sources has been vanishing very slowly into the hands of eager investors.  It is believed that combination of worrying propositions, domestic and business, was a potent factor in persuading the physician to leave his home and friends without first giving an explanation.
          Dr. Bell's disappearance has caused a wild flurry among those who had money invested in the concern of which he was president, but it is known that he did not take any of the company's money with him as it is in the hands of  J. F. Jarrad,  the company's treasurer.  Rev. G. W. Swartz, one of the officials, has the formula in his possession and it is the intention f the stockholders and directors, as far as can by learned, to re-organize the company and continue the plans which have been laid out.
          The company was organized some months ago and since that time Dr. Bell and other officials have been busy selling stock.  Altho the stock was not selling fast the powder possesses undoubted merits; in point of force and cheapenss of production, it far excells any powder now manufactured.  It was the intention of the company to leave the actual plant at St. Paul and to locate their shell loading plant and executive offices in this city.  The capital stock was $300,000 and quite a large block had been disposed of.  A number of citizens of this city are stockholders.
          Last week the company gave a public demonstration which proved to be a success at the new city park site, where three stumps were blown out.  It was here shown that the powder was more effective in proportion to the amount than is dynamite.  Today enaother demonstration was booked at the park.  A large elm tree was to be blown up and the company had widely advertised this and desired a large crowd to be present.  It was, however, called off when it was learned that Bell had left.  The other officers of the company are:  G. W. Swarts, secretary;  Dr. C. W. Pagel, vice-president, and  J. F. Jarrard, treasurer.  The officials of the company are somewhat depressed by the strange movement of Dr. Be.., but their faith in the merits of the powder is not dampened by this fact and they say that they will re-prganize and continue their plans.
          Some of Dr. Bell's friends are inclined to the opinion that he will return home when his exictement abates and his anger dies down and he takes time to consider the gravity of his action.  Others think, [two or three words missing] he will not return.
          They believe that he intends to go west and organize a new company for the manufacture of his powder.  Dr. Bell has spent many years in perfecting the powder and it was probable that he became somewhat disappointed when others were a little slow in becoming as enthusiastic over it as he himself was.  He doubtless thinks that in the growing west, he can do better than in this state.  Before leaving he filled his auto with a large quantity of his effects.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Shelbyville  Daily  Democrat
July 19, 1899
          Joseph Bell  willmove here from Columbus into the property of  H. C. Moore  in Maplewood.  Mr. Bell is employed in the Blanchard factory.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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