Upper Canada, Perth - W & J Bell 1837 15 Pence Remainder Scrip Charlton ON 10-10-08bR
from R. J. Graham's, Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Merchant Scrip -
William and John Bell were twins, born in London in 1806. They accompanied their father, a Presbyterian missionary, to the military outpost of Perth, Upper Canada, in 1817. After a few years serving as apprentices in general stores, the brothers opened their own store in Perth on 4 Jan 1828. Undercutting their competition brought them rapid success, and a branch store was opened in Carleton Place, under the management of John and younger brother Robert. Soon the brothers were involved in multiple enterprises across Lanark County, including potash and lumber shipping.
The financial crises of 1837- 39 and resulting suspension of specie payment found the Bell firm with a large inventory and heavy debts. To sustain local commerce they had attractive issues of scrip printed by Adolphus Bourne of Montreal.
Around the same time William became extremely despondent, and he died in 1844 at the age of 38. Without his guidance, the firm of W & J Bell failed in 1846.
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