Charles Keith Bell, state attorney general, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 18, 1853. He moved to Texas in 1871; two years later he returned to Tennessee, where he read law. After he was admitted to the bar in 1874, he began the practice of law in Hamilton. Bell was county attorney of Hamilton County in 1876. He served the Twenty-ninth District as district attorney, 1880–82; state senator, 1884–88; and district judge, 1888–90. He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth congresses; he served from March 4, 1893, to March 3, 1897, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1896. He practiced law in Fort Worth until May 1901, when he was appointed attorney general by Governor Joseph D. Sayers. Bell served in that post until 1904, when he again resumed his practice of law. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1906 and at the close of the campaign ceased to take an active part in politics. At one time Judge Bell served as chairman of the Anti-State-Wide Prohibition Association and as chairman of the YMCA of Fort Worth. He married Florence Smith in 1906; they had a son. Bell died on April 23, 1913, and was buried under Masonic auspices in East Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth.
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Biographical Directory of the American Congress (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1859-). Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Anne W. Hooker,
“Bell, Charles Keith,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 5, 2020
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