The Sad Story of Frank Bell

The 1910 census for Dunbar is the only one that has Adriano (Andrew) and Custode (Christine) living together in Dunbar, PA. The other census from their time together in America was in 1900 in Blairsville, PA. They moved to Dunbar at least by December 1901 because Gene was born there in December 1901 based on St. Aloyius parish records on file at the Dunbar Historical Society.

We know from Lena’s birth certificate in November 1906 that Andy’s job was listed as a merchant. And from Custode’s testimony in 1912, she said they had been in business for 8 years, so I assume they started the store in 1904, which was before they bought any properties in Dunbar.

Okay – so what’s that got to do with Frank Bell? In the 1910 census, Andrew and Christina George are in Enumeration District 18, which includes the whole town of Dunbar. The houses were not numbered with addresses but rather by house number in the order in which the census taker visited each house. They were house #208 and appear on page 20 out of 40 from the online Census Report on You wouldn’t know from this census report that they ran a grocery store because Andrew’s job is listed as a laborer at the furnace.

At the top of page 20, in order of the census taker’s visit, house number 201 is Dr. William Warner (who delivered Lena and signed her birth certificate) and house number 204 is Dr. David McKinney and house number 207 (either across the street or next door to Andrew and Christine) is Harry McGibbons, who runs a drugstore. Perhaps what planted the seed in Custode’s mind that her boys should be pharmacists.

But what’s that got to do with Frank Bell?  Okay – I’ll get to the point. On page 14 of 40, at the 140th house visited by the Census taker, Frank Bell and his wife Santina, live with their 16 year old daughter Angeline. Frank is a naturalized citizen who immigrated in 1882 and he is listed as a merchant in a fruit store.

I wanted to develop a back story for some of the people that Custode and Andy may have interacted with in 1910 so I picked Frank Bell. When I searched the Connellsville Courier for articles about Frank Bell, I found this one from July 25, 1914, which is printed below in three sections. It is such a sad ending to what seems to have been another example of a successful Italian immigrant making a new life in America.











5 thoughts on “The Sad Story of Frank Bell

  1. Sorry my darn. finger sometimes hits the wrong letter
    . So I lost what I had for your eyes.. What I said is. next step to Uncle Tony and Aunt Phil. was a very nice family. They had a large family but very close to the Galands. . This might lead you some were.. That is all I have about the neighbors. Love your information. I usually read two or three times. THANKS


  2. Dominic – What was the name of the family that was close to Uncle Tony and Aunt Phil. Did they live next door to them? I know there was an Irish woman that lived next door to Grandma George at 126 Connellsville Street. Her name was Catherine Kerwin but she was about 20 years older than Grandma George. Her son William was also a pharmacist.Thanks


  3. Very sad story but the fascinating part of it for me is his name change. The article says “he came to this country a number of years ago. He opened a business and in 1882 went into business on Main St. It was then that he was given the name Frank Bell.” The name Giuseppi Cuperaggi was not acceptable once he wanted to become a businessman? That gives you a little insight into what it was like to try to succeed for Italians in their adopted country. To have to give up something so personal as your name is just so sad to me.


  4. I have nothing to add to your story but did want to sympathize with your research difficulties. I too have an Italian heritage. Unfortunately, my Italian family didn’t leave and personal records, just things like census and city directories. I would so love to know them better. I like your style of writing and look forward to following your story. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Priscilla
      My husband grew up without knowing he was 1/4 Italian. His father was estranged from the family that we’ve only discovered in the past 3 years after my husband had his DNA tested. His father passed away 16 years ago.
      Family members have generously shared the few photos they had and my research has filled in information they never knew because there parents never talked about there childhood.
      Finding the lawsuit was a huge boost to the research even though I’m not sure what to believe.
      So I haven’t really shared my family history story writing on the #FHWC Facebook page yet but maybe I will.
      Good luck with your search too. I got very lucky that my husband’s ancestors lived in two towns that have extensive newspaper records on line.


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