05 December 2011

Rev. Thomas H. D, Bell

Brother Bell was born March 7, 1836, in Coshocton, Ohio. He died March 81, 1878, of inflammation of the brain at Wilmot, Stark county, Ohio, aged forty-two years and twenty-four days.

He was blessed with devoted parents, who early and faithfully taught him "the principles of the doctrine of Christ." He became a willing student in "the school of Christ" very early in life. He was converted when fourteen years of age under tbe labors of Rev. A. 8. Moffltt. The clearness and satisfactory character of his conversion he attributed, under Divine trace, to the careful training of his Christian mother. He was known as a young man of studious habits, with a high sense of religious and moral obligation. When he united with the church he became a faithful working member, strictly attending to all his duties. At the age of fifteen he entered the West Bedford Academy. After a close attention to study for two years he commenced the work of teaching, in which he was successful and popular. Eleven years of his life were devoted to this noble work; meanwhile he gave attention to reading and study, enlarging his knowledge of the sciences and of general literature. While engaged in the work of teaching he did not forget the work of his Master, to which he felt a special call. In some instances nearly his whole school were converted through his earnest and prayerful efforts. The church of his early choice, seeing his "gifts, graces and usefulness," urged upon him the work of the Christian ministry.
He was licensed to preach in 1864, and in the fall of 1866 was recommended to the North Ohio Conference and received on trial. The same year, September 12, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Crout.

His first appointment was to the Mt. Union Circuit, with Bro. Ralph Wilcox as preacher in charge. Here he spent one year in acceptable labor.

His next appointment was to the Bakersville Circuit, where he remained two years, leaving the charge with over three hundred members added to the church and the cause of Christ greatly advanced and strengthened.

His next field of labor was Mt. Eaton, where he remained three years, doing faithful work in organizing new societies, supervising church building and leading many to Christ.

His next three years were spent on Shreve Circuit. Here he built a fine parsonage; had extensive revivals, and added many to the church. While on this work, after deep exercises and drawings of the Holy Spirit, he was led to experience the saving power of Christ as he had never known it before.

His next and last appointment was Wilmot. After a brief illness, during which he was unconscious most of the time, he breathed his last. Five dependent children and a devoted wife who had cheerfully shared his toils and sacrifices are left to mourn his untimely departure.

After suitable religious services at Wilmot his remains were taken to Dresden, Ohio, where he sleeps with his kindred. The ministry of Bro. Bell, though comparatively short, was abundantly useful. On all the charges that he served he has left abiding monuments of Christian labor.

In conversation with his wife a short time before his death he remarked that, if in his last moments he could not be permitted to speak, he hoped the Lord would permit him to raise his hand in token that he was landing safely on the golden shore. This desire was gratified. Early in the morning of the day he died, not being able to speak, he raised his hand as high is he could reach, thus signifying that all was well.

As a Conference we shall long remember his manly form, his genial spirit, his words of Christian testimony. May the Spirit of Christ that was in him ever abide with us. Thos. J. Qard.
Source: Minutes of the North Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, North Ohio Conference, 1871, pages 31-32.

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