From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Mack, Mary Bell

(born: December 4, 1872  -  died: December 7, 1945) 

Bishop Mary Bell Mack was the founder of the Spiritualist Church of the Soul. She was a bishop as early as 1926 [source: "St. Mark's Church of the Soul," Youngstown Vindicator, 02/20/1926, p. 21]. She had a number of churches under her jurisdiction, including the Cincinnati Spiritualist Church in Ohio; St. Paul's Spiritualist Church in Newport, KY; and St. Matthew's Spiritualist Church in Lexington, KY. In the book, George Russell: the story of an American composer, by D. Heining, Bishop Mary Mack is described as being very wealthy with mansions and a chauffeur. Rev. Mary Mack is listed in William's Cincinnati (Hamilton County, Ohio) City Directory in the 1930s and 1940s.

The following comes from the article, "News of Local Colored Folks," Youngstown Vindicator, 08/11/1943, p. 11: "Large crowds are attending the services in the Thornhill School, Wardle Ave. each evening when Bishop Mary Mack of Cincinnati leader of the Spiritual Churches of the Soul preaches. Divine healing services follow each service." In addition to being a bishop, Mary Mack owned a confectionery and a grocery store.

Mary Bell Mack was born in Nicholasville, KY, the daughter of Lovis and Wallace Bell. The family of five is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Mary Bell married Ross Mack in 1892, they had two children. Ross Mack was also from Kentucky. The couple is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census: Mary Mack was a cook and Ross Mack was a barkeeper. Mary Mack moved to Cincinnati in 1903, where she lived on Richmond Street with her mother, daughter, sister, and a lodger [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Bishop Mary Mack died in Cincinnati on December 7, 1945 [source: Ohio Deaths], and the birth date of 1883, inscribed on her tombstone, is incorrect.  While her birth year is inconsistent in the census records, Mary Bell Mack is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a 6 year old; therefore, her birth year was prior to 1883. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

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“Mack, Mary Bell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 30, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-17 19:38:11