Dr. Charles Cameron Bell was born on the 14th of June, 1875 in Chatham Ontario. His father was Judge Archibald Bell and his mother was the former Elizabeth Cameron. He was the eldest of 4 children and his siblings were; Annie, George and Margret. In 1911, the family was living at 3 Stanley Ave., in Chatham. Dr. Bell was a gifted student and he attended a local public school and Chatham Collegiate Institute (C.C.I.) High School.
Dr. Bell graduated with a B.A. in 1896 from The University of Toronto and secured a masters degree the following year. In 1900 he graduated M.B. from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. While in university, Dr. Bell was an accomplished student. He was second in overall general proficiency upon graduation. He held office on the Editorial Board and with the Science Association. He served for 3 years on the Athletic Association and held the offices of Treasurer and Secretary. He also played rugby.
According to the 1928 Medical Register, Dr. Bell became a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 4th of June, 1900. He went to England and obtained his M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. degrees, graduating in 1902. From February of 1902 until August, of 1902, he was the surgeon about the S.S. Diomede that traveled to Japan and back. Upon his return to Chatham he went into practice with Dr. William R. Hall in November of 1902. An advertisement appeared in the 27th of November, 1902 edition of the Chatham Daily Planet advertising Dr. Bell and Dr. Hall’s practice on Sixth Street, next to the Fire Hall.
Dr. Bell married Grace MacDonald on the 3rd of February, 1904 at the bride’s parents residence, on Raleigh Street in Chatham. She was born on the 13th of January, 1878 in Chatham, the daughter of Hugh MacDonald and the former Ellen Gill. Her father was a merchant in Chatham. Mrs. Bell had a younger brother Roland. Mrs. MacDonald was an outstanding student herself and earned a gold medal at C.C.I. Mrs. Bell attended the University of Toronto in 1900 and graduated with her B.A. Upon returning from their honeymoon, they resided on William Street in Chatham.
From 1905 to 1908, Dr. and Mrs. Bell lived in Australia and New Zealand. Their son, Archibald MacDonald Bell was born on the 20th of August, 1906 in Grafton, N.S.W. Australia. After returning from Australia they settled again in Chatham. Their daughter Sheila Margaret was born in Chatham on the 2nd of March, 1913.
Dr. Bell served during World War I as the Director of Medical Services for Western Ontario District in London, Ontario. It is reported that Dr. Bell retired from medicine after the war. He continued to be involved in the community, by serving as Honorary President of the Chatham Horticultural Society, Chairman of the Chatham Kent Museum Board and he belonged to the Kent Nature Club. Dr. Bell was also a 50 year member of the Wellington Lodge No 46 A.F. & A.M.
He enjoyed nature and gardening and he was considered an expert in mushroom identification. Mrs. Bell died on the 19th of September, 1953 and Dr. Bell died on 15th of August, 1957. They are buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, Ontario. At the time of his death he resided in the family home of his parents, at 3 Stanley Ave., in Chatham.
*Dr. Bell is also featured on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
**Dr. William R. Hall also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.