Robert Scott Bell
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Robert Scott Bell

Rev. Robert Scott Bell was born September 15, 1805 in Caldwell County, Kentucky, and when a young man moved to Arkansas and located in Monroe County, being one of the early settlers of that locality. In 1850 he settled in White County, where he was engaged in his work as a Presbyterian minister, also serving as county clerk for four years. While in Monroe County he served as county clerk, and occupied the office of county judge for several years.. He remained in White County ten years, but subsequently removed to the Chickasaw Nation, going there as a missionary and a teacher to that tribe. In their midst he remained until his death, which occurred in 1880. He was a son of James Bell, of Irish descent, who was a missionary Baptist minister, and died in White County.  His first wife, Louisa Jacobs was a daughter of Joseph Jacobs, of Vermont, who came to Monroe County at an early age, being one of the early settlers. Mrs. Louisa Bell died in 1848, after which Mr. Bell married Arvilla A. Waterman.
Robert S. and Arvilla A. were teachers at the Burney Institute, which was established in 1854 by the Chickasaw Council.  The first post office, Burney Academy, was established on July 3, 1860, with Robert S. Bell serving as postmaster throughout the Civil War.

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