The Bell Family has been established in El Monte and vicinity since 1858, When W. C. Bell, crossed the plains to California, and on the 20th day of October of that year, arrived in El Monte, where the name became prominent in agriculture circles as well as in the general upbuilding of the community.
W. C. Bell was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, September 17, 1832, the second in a family of five sons and two daughters. His father, William Bell, was also a native of Pennsylvania, who in 1850, removed to Richland County, Illinois, where he engaged as a farmer and millwright. His wife was in maidenhood, Jane Caldwell, also a native of Pennsylvania. W. C. Bell was reared in his native state, until he was fifteen years old, when he came as far west as Ohio, where in Concord he learned the trade of shoemaker. It was in 1852, that he first started to California, taking passage on the old Missouri river Steamer, Saluda, which blew up at Lexington, Missouri, whence he walked to Independence and thence to St. Louis. Temporarily abandoning his California trip, he went to Clinton, Illinois, and followed his trade, and subsequently was variously located until 1857, when he went to Texas, thence the following year to California, by the Southern Route.
Mr. Bell was a member of the train commanded by Captain Coffee. Upon his arrival in El Monte, he engaged in freighting to Arizona by the Owens River Valley, and continued this occupation for fifteen years, during which his family resided in El Monte. In 1880, he discontinued his freighting business and located permanently in the El Monte district. Renting a tract of land from E.J. Baldwin, Mr. Bell engaged in farming for a number of years. He held various public positions, among them that of road overseer, in which capacity he served for six years. He was affiliated with El Monte Lodge No. 188, A.O.U.W. Politically, he was a Democrat, and was prominent in all local affairs.
He was married in El Monte in the spring of 1859, to Mrs. Rebecca Ann (Fears) Cundiff, a native of Clinton, Illinois, who came to California in 1858 across the plains, and died in El Monte in 1901. Mr. Bell died in 1909.
Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bell: Thomas, Jack, Charles M., Susie, John and Annie, all deceased.
Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.