Dr. Charles Cameron Bell was born in Chatham on the 14th of June, 1875. His father was Judge Archibald Bell and his mother was the former Elizabeth Cameron. Dr. Bell was the eldest of 4 children and his siblings were; Annie Hope Bell, George Arthur Bell and Margaret Evelyn Bell. In 1911, the Bell 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.).
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.
Dr. Bell joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 4th of June, 1900. He travelled 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, Dr. Bell was the surgeon aboard 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 medical practice next to the Fire Hall on Sixth Street.
Dr. Bell married Grace McDonald on the 3rd of February, 1904 at the bride’s parents residence on Raleigh Street in Chatham. Mrs. Bell was born in Chatham on the 13th of January, 1878. She the eldest of 2 children born to Hugh McDonald and the former Ellen Maria Gill. Her father was a merchant in Chatham and her sibling was her brother Roland Gill McDonald. Mrs. Bell was an outstanding student herself and earned a gold medal at C.C.I. She attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a B.A. in 1900. 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. Incidentally Dr. Bell’s uncle, Dr. Malcolm Leslie Cameron lived in Grafton during the time Dr. and Mrs. Bell lived in Grafton. After returning from Australia they settled again in Chatham. Their daughter Sheila Margaret Bell was born in Chatham on the 2nd of March, 1913.
Dr. Bell is listed in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. His residence was listed as 3 Stanley Ave. and the telephone number was 138. His medical office was listed at 31 Fifth and the telephone number was 182.
Dr. Bell served with the Canadian Army Medical Corp (CAMC), during World War I. He was appointed to the commissioned ranks on the 18th of October, 1915. In 1918, he held the rank of Major. His medical history indicates that he was 6’1″ tall and weighed 190 pounds. He had brown hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion. In 1917, Dr. Bell exhibited poor heart health and exhaustion due to overwork and he was sent home to Chatham to recuperate. As of November 27th, 1918 Dr. Bell had not been sent overseas during the war and worked as the Director of Medical Services for Western Ontario District in London, Ontario. Dr. Bell served with the CAMC until the 1st of December, 1918.
Dr. Bell was 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 at her residence on the 19th of September, 1953. Dr. Bell died at his residence on the 15th of August, 1957. Dr. and Mrs. Bell still resided at the Bell family residence at 3 Stanley Avenue. Dr. and Mrs. Bell were buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Dr. Charles Cameron Bell is also featured on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
**Dr. William R. Hall also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website. Dr. Bell’s uncle Dr. John Charles Bell also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
***Dr. Bell’s brother Dr. George Arthur Bell became a dentist, who practiced dentristry in Guelph.
****Mrs. Bell’s brother, Dr. Malcolm Leslie Cameron also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.