Once again Bill Bainbridge to the rescue with this information.

JAMES BELL ,28, from Gallowsgate , Glasgow , Scotland transported for housebreaking. Tried in Glasgow. 7 years. Arrived on the YORK on 7-2-1831. Assigned to Paterson River.

Certificate of freedom – 9.8.1838

WILHELMINA MCLEOD emigrated from Sutherland Shire Scotland, with her mother JANET MACKAY , two sisters and a brother on the JAMES MORGAN arriving Sydney 11-2-1839. The family moved to the Hunter.

James and  Wilhelmina married on 29-9-1840  at the Scots Church Paterson.


My thanks to Bill Bainbridge at Tweed Historical Society for the following information.

James widow, Wilhelmina Bell (b 1820) did not remarry. She died in 1903 under the name Bell as a widow. She was 83. She was the daughter of William McLeod and Janey McKay. She died on the 2nd March 1903. She married James Bell at age 17 years at Maitland.
At the time of her death her children were:
Mary (Laurie) 57
Wilhelmina (Dinsey) 56
Norman 54
John 52
Margaret (McEachran) 50
Elizabeth (Walker) 48
Christina (Quirk) 47
None deceased.
Given the spacing of the children, there would be no reason to suppose that John was other than the natural child.
Norman was born in 1845. Registered. Presbyterian Parish of Denbie V 1845513 162. So I guess John was born in 1847. Like you I can find no record of his birth.
We hold varying levels of information on the Dinseys, Quirks, Lauries (Not much), McEachrans and the McLeods.


Bill Bainbridge from Tweed has sent me the followi suggestions :
It was not uncommon in those days for families to foster children of friends where the natural kids parents had died or had had accidents. We have one case here on the Tweed with the Boyd family also circa 1850, and any number later on.
It would be unlikely that there would be formal adoptions and records at this time.
1. I take it that there are records of birth for Elizabeth and that they were not twins?
2. Depending on the month she was born it could give you an idea whether it was true whether John was born in 1850 or not, if they were separate births.
3. That he was born on a boat coming to Australia
4. That he was older than you think and born overseas.
Do you know where the Bell’s came from and when?


My great great  grand father was from Devonshire England
William ? Sanders Married Mary Ann Skivings in Exeter

Elizabeth Grace born /10/1850 in Horsley
Harriet Frances born /7/1852 in Yarrabindi
William George born /2/1854 ” ”
Frederick John /10/1855 in Flattorini island
Charles Henry born /1/1860 in Austral Edan
Alfred Sivert born /1/1861 in Fattorini Island
Ernest Albert born /12/1862 in Macleay river
Mary Ann born /11/1864 in Flattorini Island
Walter Thomas born /3/1867 in Kinchela
Agnes Jane born /7/1869 in ” ”
Edred James born /10/1870 in ” ”
Sara Ellen born /1/1872 in ” ”
Christopher George born /7/1873 in ” ”



Hi Lynne,
Thanks for the e-mail re John Bell. I followed up and made contact with Tweed Heads Historical Society on Thursday and they said they would be in touch with me when they re-opened on Tuesday.
I’ve been unable to verify John’s birth details.  Maybe he was born overseas or his birth was never registered.
I believe his Father was James and Mother was Wilhelmina.  James died in 1852 and Wilhelmina re-married to George Dinsey 1865.  She died in 1911.  Their children were Norman 1845, Margaret 1848, Elizabeth 1850 and Christina 1852 or 1853 but no John appears.  John died in 1919 at Laurieton, Taree District.
I’ll attach a few of my notes which I passed on to the Historical Society.
                                                                                                                                Fond regards
Subject: John Bell Landholder prior to 1892
I am a member of Granville Historical Society and am currently researching my wife’s family.
Her Grandfather’s name is John Bell and I have tracked him to THE TWEED after his marriage to Mary Ann Mc Neil in Taree on 27 June 1878.
For your information I’m including what notes I have made  in my search.
At the time of the marriage John gave his place of residence as Rawdon Vale district of Gloucester. From a deceased Aunt I was told that John’s parents were James Bell and Wilhelmina.Witnesses to the marriage were Joseph Laurie (of Laurieton fame) and Margaret Bell.
Joseph Laurie Senior owned property at Rawdon Vale locality. The witness Joseph,was probably the fifth son of Joseph senior.
Refer to “Early History of the Camden Haven” Page 16. “The Lauries”.He was probably Best Man and was living at “Peach Grove” now known as Laurieton, at the time of the marriage. Margaret Bell is possibly John’s sister.
It’s possible John worked for Lauries at Rawdon Vale. After the Wedding they moved to the Tweed River where John was Canefarming.
He was Invalided after an accident and the family moved from the Tweed to Laurieton in 1892.John died in1919 and Mary Ann died in1935.
If you can shed any information on this family ,I would be delighted to hear from you.I can find no record of John’s Birth so I presume he may have been born Overseas.
                                                                                                                Yours Faithfully in anticipation
                                                                                                                    Roy Burton