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17 Jul 2012

Percy Hammond-Bell

Finally Percy Creed Bell born 1873 Abersychan Monmouthshire run to ground as Percy Hammond-Bell, acting as best man to a fancy wedding in Hollywood June 1896 and then witnessing gangland Chinese murder the next month, July 1896 and having to undergo long trial which seems to have culminated in October.See Californian Digital Newspaper Collection.  Not surprisingly, Percy vacated the area and pops up in Omaha NE, Washington State and finally Salem, Oregon, near where his brother is also recorded as living in the 1930 census.  He survived the trial over sixty years, dying about age 85 in 1958.  I wonder if his family in Somerset followed the news.  He was described as a gentlemanly looking Englishman, and occasionally wavered over testimony due to the pressure.  He was a 'kingpin witness'.  His father was a Methodist minister, then of Ipswich (per newspaper and Hill's Arrangement which lists ministers).

The science part? I saw Percy H Bell in the US censuses. I pondered on (a) if he was ours, then (b) what would the H stand for. I had earlier found that his sister's middle name of Hammond was actually their grandmother's maiden name (source: probate indexes, familysearch) and concluded that searching the internet for 'Percy Hammond Bell' might just be worthy of my time. It took me straight to our Chinese gangland moment.

Further updates? Percy lost his elder son in the Columbia River, 1919, and lost his reputation a matter of years later. His younger son was much engaged but seemingly the last of the line, passing in 1977.

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