John Andrew Bell was the son of John Richard Bell and father of John Fletcher Bell. All three live in Labette County, Kansas in 17751.
But wait a minute. That 1775 Kansas Territorial Census shows the name John W. Bell. How do I know that this is my John A. Bell? This John Bell was born in Indiana and lived in Indiana prior to coming to Kansas. That is what I expected. He was married to Amanda who was born in Kentucky. He had a son named John Fletcher Bell. The ages are about what I would expect. If we examine land records, a John W. Bell owns land adjacent to a Benjamin F. Jones and near John R. Bell and Mildred Bell. Benjamin Fletcher Jones is the father-in-law of John A. Bell. Mildred Bell was his mother. I am convinced that this John W. Bell is the same person as my John A. Bell.
For some reason all records that I have found prior to Labette County refer to a John Bell. In Labette County the records refer to our John A. Bell several times as James W. Bell and then in 1885 as John H. Bell3. When the family moved west to Comanche County for a few years, land records referred to him as John W. Bell.
After the family arrived in Stevens County, John A. Bell was the name used. It was used in court records, land records, tombstone, and a published county history. For now I am leaving the name, John Andrew Bell, in my records, but . . .
Why did the name change? Was it intentional or accidental? I would love to know the reason.
1. Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1875 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: ks1875_10; Line: 75 Ancestry.com. Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
2. "HistoryGeo.com" 14 July 2015 <https://www.historygeo.com/>
3. Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1885 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: KS1885_69; Line: 1 Ancestry.com. Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.