Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1916 Photograph of William Belle or Bell; taken by Hammond Bros., Lewiston, Maine

Photograph of a young man identified on reverse as William Belle; photo taken by Hammond Bros., Lewiston, Maine; dated November 1, 1916.

Researching online, I found a few possibilities for the man in the photo, but with the spelling Bell, not that the enumerator or indexer couldn't have misidentified him.

Note: be sure to read the comment, at bottom, of a reader, who, after reviewing family photos, feels that the William Bell pictured is not the William Bell in the following paragraph, who was first married to Hettie and then to Marion

In one case, in the 1920 Census of Auburn, Maine, just across the Androscoggin River from Lewiston, I found a William Bell, age about 32, born in Canada about 1888, from parents he indicated were born in England.  He was working for a private family, Charles and Alice Wilson, and indicated he was a widower.  I found a marriage in the Maine Marriages online database for a William E. Bell and a Marion E. Carson, both living in Auburn, Maine, on 16 March 1921, but I haven't yet found them in the 1930 Census.

Perhaps this William E. Bell is the same one whom I found in the 1891 and 1911 Censuses of Canada, in Quebec, in Sherbrooke and Compton, respectively, the son of Walter and Eliza Bell, both born in England.

In the 1910 and 1930 Censuses, I found a William Bell who was married to Flavie, apparently a different William Bell from the above.  He indicated he was born about 1883 and that his father was from Maine and his mother from Canada.

In 1910 this William [indexed as Wm Bill] was living in Van Buren, Maine, a town in northern Maine across the St. John River from New Brunswick, Canada.  By 1930, William and Flavie had moved to Lewiston, the town, incidentally, where this photograph was taken - though Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine and the service center to a wide area.  

I couldn't find a record in the Maine Marriages online database of a marriage between a William Belle or Belle and a Flavie, but Flavie could have been a nickname or they could have married out of the state of Maine, perhaps in Canada.  

I also checked the database for any marriages of a William Belle - nothing.   

Perhaps none of the above is the William Belle in the photograph.  If you have any insights into his identity, please scroll to the bottom of this page to the comments box or contact me directly.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. The William Bell married to Marion Carson was, in 1916, married to my great-aunt Hettie, who died in 1917. So, the William Bell working for the Wilsons must be "my" William Bell. You won't find Marion in the 1930 census- she died in 1927 back in Canada. I have compared your photo with two other good, posed photos of our guy, and I am very confident they are NOT the same person. Bummer.
    Mark Fairbrother, Montague, MA

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! Sorry that this apparently isn't a photograph of someone in your family, but glad that you have narrowed down the possibilities. Perhaps someday we will hear from a relative of the other William Bell(e) above or another likely candidate.