John A. Bell and Amanda C. Jones wed on 7 Aug 18731 in Jasper County, Missouri. In the "History of Stevens County & Its People" several of their children state that this marriage took place in Indiana2. This may have been the story that John and Amanda told their children but no record has been found to show that they were married there or that Amanda ever lived in Indiana. At the time of the marriage they were living in Mount Pleasant Township, Labette County, Kansas3,4. In the years prior, Amanda lived in Kentucky and Missouri. John had arrived from Indiana. Later they homesteaded land in Labette County, near Mound City, where several of their children were born before moving west to Stevens County, Kansas..
At the time of the marriage John Andrew Bell was probably eighteen years old and Amanda was most likely sixteen years old. Was it legal for them to get married at that age? Did their parents approve? In any case, John and Amanda chose to travel from Labette County, through Cherokee County, crossing the Kansas-Missouri border, and to Jasper County, Missouri. At that time it appears that Jasper County may have served as the area's 'Gretna Green'. (Gretna Green is a border town in Scotland, which is famous for weddings of couples who elope.) Twin Groves is one of the townships in Jasper County that borders Kansas. There is a William Bishop in that township in 1880 Census.
So, considering John's and Amanda's ages and location of wedding, is it possible that they eloped?
1. "Missouri, County Marriage Records, 1819-1969." Marriage of John Bell and Amanda Jones. Jasper County, Missouri FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 7 Apr 2013.
2. The History of Stevens County & Its People. pages 367-373, Hugoton, Kansas: Stevens County History Association, 1979.
3. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch
4. Year: 1870; Census Place: Mount Pleasant, Labette, Kansas; Roll: M593_436; Page: 48B; Image: 100; Family History Library Film: 545935