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A Moment in History The life of

The Bedell Family

As you walk near the western edge of Union Campground Cemetery, you will notice several old tombstones bearing the name BEDELL. Inscriptions on the stones are as follows:

Mary Bedell B:14 Nov. 1851 D: 2 Sept. 1920

Nathan Bedell B: 12 Jan. 1843 D: 27 Apr. 1912 Father

Harry Bedell: B: – – –  D: 5 Dec. 1908

Quoting from an article written by Ora Elizabeth Logan for Ozar’kin, Vol. V, No.1 (Spring 1983), the following account is given for the White Bedell family and the Black Bedell family (portions have been omitted because space is limited):

“David Hudson Bedell (a White man) and his father, David Bedell, arrived in Greene County, Missouri in January 1834. David Bedell had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War. They came by covered wagon from Baird’s Forge in Burke County, North Carolina and settled in the vicinity of Ebenezer, about 10 miles north of Springfield. The wife of David Hudson Bedell was Marina Wallis, whose family also settled in that area. The Bedell and Wallis families homesteaded many acres north of, and including, Crystal Cave, and became prosperous farmers.

“Leanah Bedell, a slave, accompanied the Bedells to Missouri. Leanah was thought to have been born the latter part of 1818 in North Carolina. She had nine children (one of the nine was Nathan, listed above as buried in Union Campground Cemetery). The slave children of Leanah were given the surname ‘BEDELL,’ as it was customary for slaves to have the name of their masters.

“As the Black children grew, they farmed and worked alongside the white Bedell and Wallis families and became a close-knit unit. The group built a log church (Old Salem Methodist) and both Black and White worshipped together.

“Following the death of David Hudson Bedell, sometime in 1860, the Bedells found it necessary to divide their property, including slaves. The family members decided to sell the slaves within the family to keep them together, with the exception of Julia, who was sold and shipped to ~exas ..•

“Details of the slave sale are as follows: Marina Bedell, widow of said David H. Bedell, chose to take as her dower slaves Leanah and Nathan, at their valuation, being $1,500.00, leaving a balance of $5,850.00 to be divided among the heirs … lother names of slaves were listed).

“There are numerous descendants of Leanah Bedell’s children, and after five generations many of them continue to live in Springfield. The Bedells are all hardworking and industrious people, many working all their employed years for the Frisco Railroad. Many have excelled in education and music.”

In November 1994 an interview was conducted with Mrs. Beulah Benton Bedell Beller of Springfield, Missouri. Her daughter, Kay Witherspoon, was also present. The interview was conducted by Jean Gaffga Rayl, member of the Greene County Historical Society.

Mrs. Beller had in her possession a family tree of the White Bedell family dating back to Colonial America. Recorded on this family tree the name of Nathan Bedell occurs on a listing of slaves, with birth date of January 12, 1843. According to Mrs. Beller, the land owned by the White Bedells was located in Township 30, a few miles north of Union Campground Cemetery. Many of the White Bedells are buried in New Salem Cemetery.

Genealogy furnished by: Mrs. Ora Elizabeth Logan, Great Granddaughter of George and Eliza (Bedell) Crittenden. Excerpts from Ozar’kin Vol. V. No.1, published by the Ozarks Genealogical Society.