|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 2nd district
March 4, 1903 – March 4, 1905
|Preceded by||Samuel D. Woods|
|Succeeded by||Duncan E. McKinlay|
Theodore Arlington Bell
July 25, 1872
Vallejo, California, U.S.
|Died||September 4, 1922 (aged 50)|
San Rafael, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Odd Fellows Cemetery in St. Helena|
|Political party||Democratic (before 1921)|
Born in Vallejo, California on July 25, 1872 to Charles E. Bell and Catherine J. Bell (née Mills), he and his family moved to St. Helena, California in 1876 where he attended primary school at the Crystal Spring school.
At 18, he received a certificate to teach, doing so for a year and a half in northern Napa County, during which time he continued to study law.
Early political career
After his admission to the bar on July 25, 1893 (his 25th birthday), he began his political career as District Attorney of Napa County, California from 1895 to 1903. During this time, he was married to his wife, Anna Marie Muller, with whom he had one daughter, Maurine.
He went on to run for Governor of California in 1906, 1910 and 1918, losing twice as a Democrat with around 38% and 40% of the vote and once as an Independent with 36%. In his closest election in 1906 he was only 2.6% behind Republican James Gillett. He was a delegate to the 1908 Democratic National Convention, where he gave William Jennings Bryan's nomination speech, and 1912 Democratic National Convention before later switching parties to become a Republican in 1921.
Though Bell himself, representing California wine country, was not a prohibitionist, his mentor Phelan was a strong teetotaler. To accommodate both sides, he lobbied for a tax increase on wines with sugar, which came from out of state. In doing so, he made a move to regulate the consumption of alcohol, which would not harm local vintners but would increase tax revenue and decrease the likelihood of prohibition.
Death and burial
|Democratic||Theodore A. Bell||21,536||49.2|
|Republican||Frank Coombs (incumbent)||21,181||48.3|
|Socialist||G. H. Rogers||731||1.7|
|Prohibition||W. P. Fassett||367||0.8|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
|Republican||Duncan E. McKinlay (incumbent)||22,873||49.2|
|Democratic||Theodore A. Bell||21,640||46.6|
|Socialist||J. H. White||1,524||3.3|
|Prohibition||Eli P. LaCell||431||0.9|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
- "Theodore A. Bell Killed in Auto Smash. Twice Candidate for Governor of California" (PDF). New York Times. September 5, 1922. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
- Weber, Lin (17 September 2013). Prohibition in the Napa Valley: Castles Under Siege. The History Press. ISBN 9781625845429.
- "S. Doc. 58-1 - Fifty-eighth Congress. (Extraordinary session -- beginning November 9, 1903.) Official Congressional Directory for the use of the United States Congress. Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing by A.J. Halford. Special edition. Corrections made to November 5, 1903". GovInfo.gov. U.S. Government Printing Office. 9 November 1903. p. 7. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
- Spencer, Thomas (2001). Where They're Buried. Clearfield. ISBN 0806348232.
- 1902 election results
- 1904 election results
- Media related to Theodore A. Bell at Wikimedia Commons
- United States Congress. "Theodore Arlington Bell (id: B000347)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.