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George Bell, pastor of St. Paul’s Presbyterian church, Walkerton, was born in Perth, Ontario, September 8, 1819. His father, Rev. William Bell, a native of Airdrie, Scotland, was a pioneer preacher at Perth, and pastor of a Presbyterian church there from 1817 to 1857 just forty years, and there died in August, 1857; and his mother’s name was Mary Black, a lineal descendant of one of the first Huguenots who fled from France at the massacre of St. Bartholomew, in 1572, and she was born on the farm on which the progenitor of the family settled in Scotland, more than 300 years ago.
Our subject was educated partly in private, and at the grammar school, Hamilton, and Queen’s College, Kingston, he being the first student that entered the college March 7, 1842. He finished his studies in 1843; and was licensed to preach September 8, of the same year; was ordained at Cumberland May 30, 1844; preached at Cumberland and Buckingham until the autumn of 1848; at Simcoe until February 1857, and at Clifton until July 1873, when, on account of ill health, he resigned his pastorate, and had three or four months’ rest.
From November 1873 to February 1874, Dr. Bell lectured at Queen’s University, Kingston, and has since lectured there on two or three occasions, for a shorter period, his specialty being science and theology. He received the degree of B.A. from that institution in 1847, and LL.D. in 1874.
In February 1874, Dr. Bell came to Walkerton to establish a mission, there being at that time no Presbyterian church in the place; he has worked with unremitting zeal, and out of that mission has grown a church of fair strength, organized in May 1874. An elegant brick house of worship, costing with furniture, &c., $8,000, was dedicated in March 1877.
Dr. Bell was local superintendent of schools most of the time while residing at Simcoe and Clifton, and is inspector of schools in this town; has been a trustee of Queen’s University for many years, and has held the office of convener of the General Assembly’s committee on church polity.
Dr. Bell prepares his sermons with great care, and they are logical, scholarly, pointed, and full of religious instruction, calculated to make his congregation grow in knowledge as well as grace.
Dr. Bell was first married in 1846, to Miss Mary Whiteford, of Montreal, she dying in 185], leaving three children, two of them still living; and the second time in 1855, to Miss Ellen Chadwick, of Simcoe, by whom he has two children. His eldest son, William Whiteford, is a royal engineer in the employment of the Bombay government.