Alonzo Lyden Bell Colfax County, New Mexico

Alonzo Lyden Bell, a ranchman residing two miles east of Raton, was born in Vinton County, Ohio, about one hundred and twenty miles east of Cincinnati, on the 15th of August, 1845, a son or John and Sarah (Laycock) Bell. He remained in Ohio until 1877, after which he spent two years in Rush County, Kansas, and in 1879 came to New Mexico to fill a contract to cut ties at the head of Chicken creek for the Santa Fe railroad. He was thus engaged for two years and in 1881 he bought cattle and located in Dutchman Canyon, New Mexico, in the stock raising business. The first coal prospectors of that locality boarded with him and his wife, and in 1881 a camp was opened at Blossburg, after which Mr. Bell worked in the mines for a part of the time. In 1886 he and John Towndrow cut the first crop of hay, and they were partners in business interests for a number of years.

In 1887 Mr. Bell took his family to the ranch and about 1889 he built a stone house there. He raised good crops and made his home there for about eleven years, but since 1900 has resided on his present homestead. While on the mesa he gave his attention to farming and stock raising, and has raised and threshed fifty bushels of wheat to the acre. After locating in the valley he was the first to adopt the Campbell system of farming. He did this as an experiment, soon demonstrated its success, and believes it to be the greatest system in the world.

At the time of the Civil war Mr. Bell enlisted in the Eighty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry under Colonel William Hill, and served in 1864 and 1865, being largely engaged in duty in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. He went with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea, and participated in the grand review in Washington. He has been helpfully interested in public affairs in New Mexico, and was the first postmaster at Bell following the establishment of the office in 1891. In politics he is an independent voter.

Mr. Bell was married March 31, 1867, to Louisa Dearth, a native of Ohio, and their children are: Charles Homer and John William, who are living in Raton; and Maggie Melissa, the wife of Thomas L. O'Connor, residing on the home ranch.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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