Memorable Manitobans: William Bell (1863-1936)
Born at York, Ontario on 26 January 1863, one of ten children of William Bell (1825-1904) and Susan Walker (?-?), brother-in-law of George Alexander Paterson, in the spring of 1882 he came to Brandon with his family and was the principal partner in the construction firm of Bell Brothers (with his brothers George and James) and, later, William Bell and Sons. These companies were responsible for building several important commercial and domestic structures in western Manitoba, noted for their “high quality materials and fine workmanship.” He was also one of the owners of the Brandon Brick Company.
Bell lived in Toronto from about 1895 to at least 1901 before returning to Brandon. He and wife Rosa Ellen Tomlin (1873-1914; sister-in-law of Albert Seymour Doyle) had four children: Mossie May Bell (1893-?), James Henry Bell (1895-?), William Edgar Bell (1900-?), and Gordon Walker Bell (1908-?). After the death of his wife, he returned to the Toronto-Hamilton area where he continued to work in the building trade, retiring around 1923.
He died of tuberculosis at Wentworth, Ontario on 1 May 1936.
Some of his construction work in Manitoba included:
Ontario birth and death registrations, Ancestry.
Birth registrations [Mossie May Bell, James Henry Bell, Gordon Walker Bell], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.
“Wm. Bell has passed away,” Brandon Daily Sun, 7 June 1904, page 3.
“William Bell will build sanatarium,” Brandon Daily Sun, 27 May 1909, page 1.
“Wm. Bell,” Brandon Sun, 7 November 1912, page 15.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
Death registration [Rosa Ellen Bell], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Brandon old boy seeking kinfolk,” Brandon Sun, 12 July 1980, page 5.
“John Sandison House,” Manitoba Heritage Council Report, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, March 1996.
Holy Ground: The Story of the Manitoba Sanatorium at Ninette by David B. Stewart, J. A. Victor David Museum, 1999.
We thank Terry Warsaw for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 28 May 2023