Obituary Details

Thomas "Tom" Bell

(11/20/1863 - 01/07/1940)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/11/1940

Tom Bell, Pioneer Eastern Wyoming Cattleman And Oilman, Passes In Florida

Word was received in Lusk on Monday, January 7, of the death of Tom Bell, who passed away suddenly at his home in Kissimmee, Florida. Bell was one of the pioneer citizens of Wyoming. He was born in Canada in 1864 and first came to this country in the latter 70's. Settling here he worked several years for James Shaw on Platte River near Orin establishing himself in the cattle business and after the turn of the century built up one of the major cattle outfits of eastern Wyoming. He resided in this state for almost fifty years before retiring to move to Florida.

On December 7, 1892 he was united in marriage to Miss Cora Root, daughter of a pioneer family of eastern Wyoming. Five children were born to bless this union, his wife and two children, a son, Lionel, and a daughter, Miss Irene, together with the widow survive his passing. Three sons preceded their father in death. Tom, Jr., Floyd and Max.

Tom Bell was one of the pioneers in the Lance Creek oil field. During the early days of the field he was instrumental in organizing the Buck Creek Oil company and later the Tom Bell Royalty company, both of which at one time controlled thousands of acres in the field. late in 1917 the Ohio Oil company brought in the discovery well in the Lance Creek field, a gusher adjoining Bell's ranch. In the spring of 1918 Bell organized the Buck Creek Oil company to explore his own vast holdings. Almost overnight the oil boom grew and Buck Creek stock, although $1 at par rose to as high as $11 a share. Tom Bell Royalty soared to $2.50 a share. At that time it was reported that Bell refused $3,000,000 for his interest in this field. Then almost as suddenly as it grew, the boom subsided and oil production dwindled away. Major companies withdrew from the field and for a time it seemed the field would prove a dud.

Mr. Bell at one time served as mayor of Lusk, being elected to that office in 1909 and serving until 1912. Twelve years ago he disposed of most of his interests and retired from active business life, moving to Florida.

In 1936 a new and more prolific sand was discovered at deeper levels in the Lance Creek field, which has again brought increased activity to the field and gained it a place as the greatest producing field in the Rocky Mountain area. During the boom days Bell was interested in the building up of Lusk and several of the present day business structures were backed by him financially.

Tom Bell was one of the most picturesque and interesting pioneers of this state. Coming to Wyoming he settled down and established one of the finest cattle herds in the west. His brand, the Car Link is one of the best known in the West. A resident of this community for almost fifty years he was well and favorably known to thousands of older residents of the state.

In 1927, after retiring from active business, Mr. and Mrs. Bell and the family moved to Kissimmee, near St. Cloud, Florida. His death came suddenly on Monday, being attributed to heart trouble. Directors of the Buck Creek Oil company were in session at Lusk when first word of his passing was received here.

No word of funeral arrangements had been received here at the time the Herald went to press.

Thomas was born in Canada. There are some reports that his death was January 8, 1940, at Saint Cloud, Osceola County, Florida. He was born to Pet Bell and Elizabeth Webb. He is buried at Mount Peace Cemetery at Saint Cloud.

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