Monday, December 28, 2020

But what became of Col. Bellor?

Far too much time was frittered away (by me) on Sunday, trying to figure out what became of C.C. Bellor, who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth at some point following the death of his wife, Ella, in Chariton during July of 1928. He was in his early 70s at the time, so most likely death was the cause. But I sure would have liked to have found him --- dead or alive. Oh well ....

This photo from the Lucas County Historical Society collection was taken about 40 years earlier, ca. 1890, when Mr. Bellor was operating a meat market in a frame building on the north side of the Chariton square --- in a building destroyed in a fire during March of 1894. Presumably one of the two aproned men standing in front is the proprietor.

There's been some misunderstanding over the years about Mr. Bellor's given name. His parents, Dominick and Lucille Bellor, probably named him Christopher Columbus Bellor when he was born ca. 1856 in Michigan, but at some point he reversed the two and was known thereafter as Columbus C. Bellor, Col for short. He was most definitely not a military veteran and certainly not a colonel.

Col and his older brother, Barney, seem to have arrived in Chariton together about 1878. He married Ella Hawkins during September of 1880 and after working as a butcher for others opened his own meat market on the north side of the square during 1887.

Rather than children, the Bellors had a mother-in-law, Margaret Hawkins, who moved in when they were married and remained until her death during 1909 at the age of 82 after a lifetime of what was described as fragile health (and nine children), lovingly tended to by Ella.

By 1909, Col Bellor had moved on --- sort of. He sold his business in Chariton during 1900 and relocated first to Ottumwa, where he went to work as a butcher, occasionally as a clerk. He also lived in Des Moines for a time. And by 1928, he was a resident of Boone.

Col and Ella remained married and newspaper reports record his occasional trips home to Chariton to visit with wife and friends; rarer visits by Ella to wherever Col happened to be living at the time. The couple had built a cottage at 420 South 8th Street, where Ella continued to live with her mother.

Although still married, it would be stretching that fact to suggest that the Bellors were close. Ella's health was failing by 1928 and during the spring of that year, the couple sold the family cottage to Zora Harper, a close friend of Ella's, although she continued to occupy it.  Col was called to Chariton from Boone when Ella died on July 9, 1928, but had not been present for her passing. After paying her burial expenses at the Chariton Cemetery, he returned to where he'd come from and (from my point of view) vanished.

Ella had prepared a detailed will, carefully disposing of her furniture and other personal property among her friends --- but there was no mention of her spouse.

Ella's only cash bequest, $200 (as well as use for life of her furniture), went to Helen Hettinger, who had lived with Ella since the death of her mother 20 years earlier. Mrs. Harper allowed Miss Hettinger to remain in the Bellor cottage until she died at the advanced age of 93 on May 10, 1930.

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