BEALE, WILLIAM, son of Thomas and Catherine, of Calne, in Wiltshire, England, was born near Calne, August 14, 1709, and about the year 1728 or 1730 came to Pennsylvania. He settled in the Great Valley, in Whiteland, on the farm now Preston Thomas' clover-mill property, his lands including a part of what is now Thomas Downing's farm. His first wife was Mary Jenkin, born April 9, 1715, died August 25, 1771, daughter of David Jenkin who died in Uwchlan in 1743. William Beale, with his wife and children, were received into membership at Uwchlan Meeting 3, 21, 1750. He was married again, 3, 23, 1774, at Caln Meeting, to Rachel Lewis, widow of Phinehas Lewis, of East Caln.

The children of William Beale were, _1. Thomas, b. August 6, 1735; d. June 30, 1803, in Tuscarora Valley, where he settled in 1763. He was one of the judges of Mifflin County, and a prominent man in his day. His wife was probably Sarah Todhunter. 2. William b. December 24, 1738; d. After 1800. 3. John, B. December 12 1740; d. January 25, 1777, a soldier under Lafayette; m. About 1764 Tamar Burgoyne, daughter of Joseph Burgoyne of East Bradford. 4. Susanna, b. December 16, 1742, m. About 1763 Noble Butler, Jr., and died in Kentucky after 1803. 5. David, b. June 20 1745; d. February 6, 1828, at his home in Beale township, Juniata County, PA, he was a prominent man in political affairs, and for many years associate judge in Mifflin County. 6. Mary, b. October 8, 1747; m. 5, 21, 1772, to Samuel Hunt, of East Caln, now Downingtown; d. 9, 24, 1820. 7. Joshua, b. November 19, 1749; lost at sea in a voyage from the East Indies, 1787. 8. Edith, b. June 13, 1752; m. 2, 24, 1779, to Phinehas Whitaker, of East Caln.

William Beale died 11, 27, 1800, in West Whiteland, and was buried by the side of his first wife, on a portion of his farm now belonging to Thomas Downing. Besides his property in this county he owned large tracts of land in the Tuscarora Valley, on which he settled his sons.

John and Tamar Beale left a daughter, Mary, who married 10, 14, 1790, Anthony Gray, of East Bradford; also a son, Joseph, who was placed by his grandfather as an apprentice with Benaniel Ogden, cabinet-maker, near West Chester, after which he went to Philadelphia and became an extensive manufacturer of furniture in the firm of Beale & Jemison. His son, James M. Beale came to Chester County in 1830, and died at his residence near Coatesville January 1, 1881. Horace A. Beale, iron-master, of Parkesburg, is also a son of Joseph, and another is Joseph Beale, late surgeon-general in the U.S. Navy, now on the retired list by reason of age. Their mother was Margaret, daughter of Captain James McDowell, of Upper Oxford.

BELL, HON. THOMAS, son of William and Jane (Sloan) Bell, was born in Philadelphia, October 22, 1800; studied law under the direction of James Madison Porter, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar April 14, 1821, several months before he was of age. In May of that year he removed to West Chester, the seat of justice of Chester County. He was entirely unknown in the community in which he settled, and for a time struggled for a livelihood, but his active mind, fluent elocution, and legal knowledge speedily gained for him a prominent position in the profession.

On the election of Governor Shulze, in 1823, he was appointed deputy attorney-general for Chester County and held that office from December, 1823, until August, 1828. In 1829 he was appointed one of the visitors of the Military Academy at West Point and in that capacity acted as chairman of one of the committees to report on the state of that institution.

He continued in the uninterrupted pursuit of his profession until May, 1837, when he became a member of the convention to revise the constitution of the State, as a delegate from the senatorial district composed of the counties of Chester and Montgomery. In October, 1838, he was returned as a member-elect to the State Senate from the same district, and took a leading part in the difficulties which distinguished the beginning of that session commonly called the "Buckshot War." Owing to alleged errors in the returns, his seat was contested, and awarded to his competitor, Nathaniel Brooke.

May 16, 1839, he was appointed by Governor Porter to succeed Judge Darlington as president judge of the Judicial district composed of the counties of Chester and Delaware, the duties of which office he discharged with ability and impartiality until November 18, 1846, when he was appointed by Governor Shunk a judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. This position he held until December 1, 1851, when the tenure of office was changed by the constitution.

He was also, from March, 1855, until December of the same year, president Judge of the judicial district composed of the counties of Wayne, Pike, Carbon, and Monroe, to which he was appointed by Governor Pollock.

He represented Chester and Delaware Counties in the State Senate in 1858, 1859, and 1860.

In every position in which it was his fortune to be placed he acquitted himself with great credit. As a lawyer he was learned, faithful, and diligent. In his intercourse with the bench and the bar he was uniformly courteous and honorable. He had a mind remarkably quick of comprehension, mastering his subject almost by intuition, and there were few more ready men in debate. He was a very fluent speaker, and a clear and forcible writer. Judge Bell was twice married, first to Caroline, a daughter of Judge Darlington, and afterwards to Keziah, a daughter of William Hemphill, Esq. His second wife was a granddaughter of Colonel Joseph McClellan, a veteran soldier of the Revolutionary war.

Judge Bell died in Philadelphia, June 6, 1861, at the residence of his daughter (the accomplished wife of Dr. Godell, late of Constantinople), and was interred in the Oaklands Cemetery, near West Chester.

This page updated on March 1, 2009