1778: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" lists James Bell as a Bedford County gunsmith on the basis of the following entry in the Bedford County portion of Volume 7 of the "Pennsylvania Archives", Third Series. To me, the phrase "Paid James Bell for a musket" neither proves nor disproves that James Bell was a gunsmith.
The authors of the 1983 booklet did not include James Bell as a gunsmith in their 1991 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" or in their 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania".
Sellers' 2008 book "American Gunsmiths" lists a James Bell as a gunsmith for the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety in 1778. Sellers indicates his source for the information is "C&W". Based on Sellers' bibliography, I think "C&W" is a reference to the 1984 book "Pennsylvania Gunmakers, A Collection" by Chandler and Whisker. I haven't found any information supporting the assertion that James Bell was a gunsmith for the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety in 1778, but I have not seen the 1984 book by Chandler and Whisker. James Bell is included in this project to promote additional investigation.
1779: As shown by the following composite image, James Bell is listed on the 1779 tax assessment of Ayr Township, Bedford County. This means that James Bell did not reside within the present bounds of Bedford County in 1779, and is beyond the scope of this web project.
1781: James Bell is listed on the 1781 tax assessment of Ayr Township with 50 acres of land held by improvement, two horses, and one horned cattle.
1785: James Bell is listed on the 1785 tax assessment of Ayr Township with 100 acres.
The following excerpt from the Fulton County portion of the 1876 book "An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" describes the formation of Ayr Township:
1790: Although there are eight individuals named James Bell in the transcript of the 1790 census of Pennsylvania, none were enumerated in Bedford County.
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