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the University of Kansas medical center

Dr. Simeon Bishop Bell, Sr. & Mary Eleanor (Taylor) BellUniver

De Soto Cemetery, 1st addition, Block 15, Lot 1

            Dr. Simeon B. Bell was born in Sussex County, New Jersey on May 13, 1820.  When 12 years old his family moved to Ohio where he became student in Starling Medical College in Columbus earning a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1852.  In the spring of 1857 he came to Kansas eventually settling in Johnson County at town of Aubry near Stillwell.   He served as a surgeon in the Union army on the Kansas frontier and took part in the battle of Brush Creek.  At the close of the war he moved to Rosedale in Kansas City, Kansas.

            Dr. Bell’s first wife was Mary Eleanor Taylor, born August 15, 1824 in Richland County, Ohio.   She was the sister of Charles Hurlburt Taylor and half-sister of Almon Baldwin who both came to De Soto in 1865 forming the Taylor-Baldwin Co..  They invested heavily in De Soto real estate and started a merchandising business here.   Almon soon sold his interest to Charles and moved to Ottawa, Kansas and thus was born Taylor’s Store in De Soto.  In 1908 they built our Masonic hall bldg. and the business was   operated continuously by the Taylor family for 82 years & closed in 1947.

            After relocating in Rosedale, Dr. Bell gave the right-of-way land and helped layout & build the Southwest boulevard.  Eleanor died a year after achieving this goal on January 13, 1866 aged 41 years.  She is credited with helping Dr. Bell lay the foundation of the fortune that he accumulated.  They were parents to 10 children & one was Charles W. Bell, who owned a farm located west of the cemetery in De Soto.  Dr. Bell remarried and had 2 more children.

            Dr. Bell died May 13, 1913 at 92 years of age.  His obituary states:  “He was known throughout the state, and was honored as a public spirited citizen and a benefactor of his community.   Several years before he passed he endowed the University of Kansas with land and other property worth over $100,000 for a medical department, which it was his ambition to establish.”  His greatest work was the founding of the Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital aka Bell Memorial in Rosedale which now is the Kansas University Medical Center.

            The obituary states that the body of his wife, Eleanor was exhumed from the Union cemetery in Kansas City and the bodies of each were buried side by side in the cemetery at De Soto, Kansas.