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Biography of Lucien B. Bell

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The well-known Lucien B. (otherwise Hooley) Bell was born February 13, 1838, in Habersham County, Georgia, the son of John A. Bell and Jane Martin, daughter of John Martin, first chief justice of the Cherokee Nation. Lucien was first sent to school at Ozark Institute, where, after some time, his health and eyesight failing, he was obliged to leave and sojourn for a while in Rusk County, Texas. Recovering his health in 1856, he entered college at Cane Hill, Arkansas, and there remained until 1858, and at the age of twenty he married. In 1861 he joined the Confederate service, under Colonel Stand Watie, and in 1863 was appointed by the same officer to negotiate with the Confederate authorities for provisions, cotton, stores, etc., for the Southern Cherokee army. At the termination of the war, he went back to Rusk County, Texas, and planted a cotton crop, which, like a large majority of others that season, turned out a failure. In 1867 he moved to Delaware district, Cherokee Nation, and farmed for three years. In 1870 he went to Tahlequah and became clerk of an extra session of the Senate, and was re-elected three terms (six years successively). In 1877 he was appointed a member of the board of education and served two years, resigning in 1879. Mr. Bell was then appointed by Treasurer Bushyhead to look after the revenue of the strip, and was the first man who proved the possibility of deriving revenue from that source. Over $800,000 has been collected and handed in up to last year. The years of 1880, 1881 and 1882 were passed by Mr. Bell in agricultural pursuits. In 1883 he was sent as commissioner to Okmulgee, the Creek capital, to dissuade the Creeks from selling Oklahoma. Later on he was chosen one of a committee of five Cherokees to attend a grand council of all the tribes at Eufaula. In the winter of the same year he was sent as delegate to Washington by Chief Bushyhead. Mr. Bell was first elected to the Senate in 1885, to represent the Delaware district, and was re-elected three consecutive terms, his time expiring in November 1891. During his first and third terms Mr. Bell was president of the Senate. In the warm contest between Mayes and Bushyhead, November, 1887, when the latter refused to vacate his seat, and a quorum could not be effected for the counting of the votes, Mr. Bell with his party entered the executive office and turned over the official seal to Mayes, who was thereupon sworn in, while Bushyhead retired with as good a grace as could be expected under the circumstances. In 1886 Mr. Bell was delegated to Washington by Chief Mayes. In the various important issues that have been brought before the Cherokees in the past ten years Mr. Bell has taken an active part. He is a man of great energy and pluck, aggressive and obstinate in disposition, yet, withal, a statesman of no ordinary ability. His popularity is indicated by the number of high offices which he has held in the government since 1870.


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