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Joshua Fry Bell (November 26, 1811 – August 17, 1870) was a Kentucky political figure.

Joshua Fry Bell
A man with receding black hair, a mustache, and a beard wearing a white shirt and black jacket
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1845 – March 3, 1847
Preceded byGeorge Caldwell
Succeeded byAylette Buckner
32nd Secretary of State of Kentucky
In office
July 2, 1849 – March 16, 1850
GovernorJohn J. Crittenden
Preceded byOrlando Brown
Succeeded byJohn William Finnell
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1811-11-26)November 26, 1811
Danville, Kentucky
DiedAugust 17, 1870(1870-08-17) (aged 58)
Danville, Kentucky
Political partyWhig
Alma materCentre College

Bell was born in Danville, Kentucky, where he attended public schools and then Centre College, where he graduated in 1828. He next studied law in Lexington, Kentucky, and travelled around Europe for several years before returning home and being admitted to the bar.

Bell was elected as a Whig to the 29th Congress in November, 1844. He did not seek reelection and served a single term in the House, March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1847. He was the Kentucky Secretary of State in 1849, and was sent by Kentucky as a commissioner to the Peace Conference held in Washington, D.C. in February 1861 in an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to stave off what became the American Civil War.

Bell served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1862 to 1867. Union Democrats attempted to nominate him for Governor of Kentucky in 1863, but he declined the nomination.

Joshua Fry Bell died in 1870 in Danville at the age of 58. Bell County, Kentucky is named in his honor.[1]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Caldwell
United States Representative (4th District) from Kentucky
Succeeded by
Aylette Buckner


  1. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 34.