BELL, MARY ANN WHITEHEAD (1858 ~ 1935). The following biography was provided by descendant, James D. Walsh:
"Mary Ann Whitehead Bell, Confederate widow, was born in Hopkinsville Texas, a small community which no longer exists, on the 29th of March 1858. Hopkinsville was just South of Jeddo, but was just over the line in Gonzales County. Mary Ann, or Polly as she was known, was a twin but her sister was stillborn as happened quite often in those days. She was the 5th child and 1st girl born to Henry Harvey Whitehead and Mary Ann 'Polly' Priest. She was also the first child to be born in Texas as the 4 boys were all born in Mississippi. The family had moved to Hopkinsville between 1854 and 1858 and in 1862 the family moved to Houston County near Crockett Texas. The family bought a farm while in Houston County and sometime after that Mary Ann's Mother died and was buried on the property. Some records show the year as 1865 and others show it as about 1870. We do know that the family moved to Jeddo before 1879 where Mary met and married Pierre Auguste Coquat. He spoke almost no English and she spoke no French at all, so the story goes that Mary Ann's brother, Richard did most of the courting for them. After they were married, August took her to his log cabin in Bastrop County where they lived for many years. His farm was an odd shaped piece of land and lies just to the East of State Hwy 304 where it crosses the line into Caldwell County. We know that their first 3 children were born in that log cabin starting with William Richard in 1880, then Mary Minerva Ann in 1883 and finally Fannie Emmy Elizabeth in 1885. We suspect that their 4th child could have been born there also but it is possible that he was born in Jeddo in 1891. He was also a surviving twin.
August sold the farm after 1890 and bought a cotton gin in Jeddo, one which had belonged to Mary Ann's brother, Richard. Richard had gotten himself into some real trouble and we think that he sold it to August to help pay lawyers' fees. The family lived in Jeddo, across the road from the gin until about 1900 when they moved to Galveston. August was not very good at running a business and we think that he lost the gin to debt. It was during this time, just prior to 1900, that the family met 2 Mormon Missionaries and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This took place in 1897 and we understand that the family underwent a degree of persecution from that time on. I'm sure that this influenced their decision to move to Galveston along with the fact that the island had just been devastated by that great hurricane and there was a lot of work there.
We know that Fannie and August moved to Galveston with the family but think that Richard might have stayed for a time. August passed away after only 3 years in Galveston and Mary Ann was left with a 12-year-old son to provide for. She soon married Joseph Anthony Walsh, her daughter Fannie's Father-in-law. They remained in Galveston for the next 6 years when in 1909, Anthony was killed in a street car accident.
Mary was married again in 1911 to J. W. Peters who passed away in 1915 in Galveston. She then moved to Austin to be near her 2 daughters, Mary and Fannie who had just recently moved there also. In 1917, she met and married a man by the name of Washington Hassell. We're not sure when he died but it was before 1925 because during that year she married her 5th husband, Joseph Tully Bell, a Civil War veteran. After his death Mary lived her remaining years in the old Confederate Home which is located on West 6th St. in Austin. She died on the 14th of March, 1935 and was buried in the State Cemetery on East 7th St. in Austin. It was said that she was sparking with another Confederate veteran at the time of her death.
We know very little about Mary as to the kind of person she was but we do know that she remained a good and faithful member of her Church until her death. Her daughters said on several occasions that their parents never had much in this life because they always shared that which they had with those who had a greater need."
Other biographical information available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.