Bell, Rev. Launcelot Graham

1789. June 17 born in  Augusta county, Virginia, son of Rev. John Bell and Rebecca Graham. Father was a Methodist minister. Both parents were of Scottish descent

attended an academy in Augusta Co, VA, but not a seminary graduate

mercantile business in Staunton, Virginia

1810 – 15 Mar. married in Berkeley County, Virginia to Margaret Beard of Hagerstown, MD by John Matthews. [another source says married 29 Mar 1830 at Augusta Co, VA?]

war of 1812 – Sgt in General McDowell’s 5th Regiment of VA Militia

1812 or after – at Lewisburg Academy, Lewisburg, VA (now WV) “Mr. Bell came to Lewisburg in the interest of the Messrs. James, merchants of Richmond, Virginia. His store was in the south end of the old Eagle Hotel (the “Long Ordinary “) [On what is now Court Street, about the site of Lewisburg Theatre]. He was a man of education and culture, but was a total failure as a merchant. After teaching a while in the academy and in the county, and a year or two in Montgomery County, Virginia, he emigrated to the far West, entered the ministry of the Presbyterian church”

1827 – licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Abington

1827 – called to preach at Jonesboro, Tennessee
1830 – Federal Census of Washington County Tennessee w/household of 10.
1832 – Oct 5. Call at Jonesboro, Tennessee ended

1833 – pastor of Frankfort, Indiana church for 3 years; missionary to Wabash County Indiana; organized churches in Boone, Frankfort, and Montgomery counties, Indiana.

1836 – moved to Monmouth, Illinois
1837 – moved to near Burlington, Iowa
1837 – helped organize Monmouth IL church and the West Point, IA church

1839 – July 6. organized church at Muscatine, Iowa
1839 – Aug 24. organized church near Yellow Springs, near Burlington IA.

1840 – Sept 14. organized church at Iowa City where Rev. Michael Hummer became first pastor.
1840 – Oct. Presbytery of Iowa set off from Presbytery of Schuyler. Bell became first stated clerk.
1842 – moved to Fairfield, Iowa.

1850 – 1853 – Principal of Female Academy at Fairfield, Iowa.
1850 – Federal Census of Fairfield Iowa w/wife

1854 – missionary to southwest Iowa – to Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa

1860 – Federal census of Fairfield Iowa w/family and girls attending academy?

1861 – moved to Monmouth, IL

1867 – wife Margaret died
1868 – May 30. died at Afton, Iowa; buried Monmouth, IL

Organized 28 churches in Iowa during his lifetime.


  1. Iowa Historical Record
  2. The Presbyterian Church in Iowa, 1837-1900.
  3. Obituary in Fairfield, Iowa Ledger July 2, 1868, Page 3, co. 4.
  4. Lewisburg, WV Academy
  5. Goodspeed History of Washington COunty, Tennessee.
  6. Historical Lectures Upon Early Leaders in the Professions in the Territory.
  7. West Virginia Marriage Records. and
  8. Greenbrier Independent newspaper 1882.

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