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

Bell, J. W.

(born: 1861  -  died: 1947) 

Rev. J. W. Bell lived in Louisville, KY, where he was one of the early pastors of the Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. In 1873, he was elected secretary of the CME General Conference. That same year, he was named Book Agent of the CME Publishing House and editor of the Christian Index, the CME monthly news publication. The CME publishing operation had been moved from Memphis to Louisville.

After a month, Bell was limited to editing the newspaper only, and W. P. Churchill of Louisville was named the new book agent.

Bell produced the first issue of the Christian Index in Kentucky; the newspaper was six-years-old, having been first published in 1867. A few months later, a disagreement occurred between Bell and Bishop Miles, and Bell was relieved of his duties at the newspaper and at the Center Street CME Church. He was replaced by Alexander Austin.

In 1884, Rev. J. W. Bell was a pastor in Hopkinsville, KY [source: Proceedings, Sermon, Essays, and Addresses of the Centennial Methodist Conferenceedited by H. J. Carroll et. al., p. 17]. He had also been the pastor of the Israel Church in Washington, D.C. [source: Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D.D. ("Uncle Joe"), by M. F. Jamison, p. 170].

Rev. J. W. Bell was born in 1861 in Mississippi, the son of Ed and Bessie Bell [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Registrar's #2744]. He was the husband of Millie Bell. He died in Louisville at 510 E. Madison Street on June 12, 1947.

For more see The History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by C. H. Phillips.

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“Bell, J. W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-09 13:41:57