Thornton F. Bell

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Thornton Fletcher Bell​

Judge of the Louisiana
1st Judicial District Court
for Caddo and DeSoto parishes​
In office
1912​ – 1919​
Preceded by Thomas Fletcher Bell​
In office
1921​ – October 28, 1938​

Member of the
Caddo Parish School Board​
In office
1919​ – 1921​

Born October 10, 1878​
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA​
Died October 28, 1938 (aged 60)​
Shreveport, Louisiana​
Resting place Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Nannetta Pauline Schuler Bell​
Children Mary Evelyn Bell McGuire​

Thornton Foster Bell​
Thomas Fletcher and Mary Cornelia Buckelew Bell​

Alma mater Clifton Ellis Byrd High School (Shreveport)

Tulane University
Tulane Law School​

Occupation Attorney; Judge ​
Religion Presbyterian

Thornton Fletcher Bell, also known as T. F. Bell (October 10, 1878 – October 28, 1938), was an attorney in his native Shreveport, Louisiana, who served from 1912 to 1919 and 1921 until his death as a judge of the Louisiana 1st Judicial District Court for Caddo and DeSoto parishes.​


Bell was the son of Judge Thomas Fletcher Bell (1836-1912), a native of Lancaster County, Virginia, and the former Mary Cornelia Buckelew (1843-1933), originally from Alabama. Thomas Bell had been a captain in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War and the state adjutant general under Governors Francis T. Nicholls and Murphy James Foster, Sr. The senior Bell was a former school superintendent for Caddo Parish public schools.[1] He donated the live oaks at the courthouse square.

Thornton Bell attended the former Thatcher school and then public schools in Shreveport. One of his classmatews was Caddo Parish Sheriff Thomas Roland Hughes. Clifton Ellis Byrd, for whom C. E. Byrd High School in Shreveport is named, was among Bell's teachers. Bell graduated in 1899 from Tulane University in New Orleans. Two years later, he received his law degree from the Tulane Law School. He practiced law in Shreveport until his father's death, at which time he was appointed to fill the senior Bell's unexpired term as district judge. In 1919, Bell resigned from the bench after nearly seven years of service to enter into a legal partnership with Clare Clyde Clark (1888-1976), a graduate of the Louisiana State University Law Center and a prominent Southern Baptist layman in Shreveport.[2] Bell was elected to the Caddo Parish School Board the same year. Bell was the school board president when when elected in 1921 once again to the district judgeship, on which he served until his death.[1]


Bell died of an extended illness at the age of sixty. He was survived by his wife, the former Nannetta Pauline Schuler (1882–1968), a native of Keatchie in DeSoto Parish;[3] one daughter, Mary Evelyn Bell McGuire (1916–2011); one son, Thornton Foster Bell (died 1960); one brother, W. B. Bell, and a sister, Sallie Bell, all of Shreveport.[1]

Bell's son-in-law, Edward Leo McGuire, Jr. (1914–1983), a native of Taunton, Massachusetts, met Mary Evelyn Bell while McGuire was a second lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps during maneuvers in the Shreveport area. He became a decorated bomber pilot in World War II. McGuire was engaged in the roofing business. Like his father-in-law, McGuire served on the Caddo Parish School Board. From 1964 to 1970, he was one of the first three Republican members of the board, alongside the late Joel B. Brown and Billy Guin, who later served briefly as the Shreveport public utilities commissioner. McGuire lost the 1970 race for mayor of Shreveport to Littleberry Calhoun Allen, Jr., a Republican-turned-Democrat, who remained in the post until 1978.[4]

Services were held at the First Presbyterian Church, of which Bell was a member. Judge Bell and other family members are interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport.[1]

Bell was so respected in the community that government offices closed for his funeral. So did deliberations of a grand jury. At the time of his death, Bell held the distinction as the then longest-serving judge in Caddo Parish history. His colleague, Judge J. H. Stephens, described Bell as "always fair, impartial, just and wise in his decisions. He was loved by both the members of the bar and the people of Caddo Parish."[1]

Judge Robert J. O'Neal, who served on the court until 1961, described Bell's passing at the time as "a great personal loss to me. I, as the youngest in service of the Caddo Parish district judges, have always looked to him as an ideal."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Judge T. F. Bell Dies; Funeral Service Today – District Jurist and Son of Shreveport Pioneer Succumbs Friday. The Shreveport Times (through (October 29, 1938). Retrieved on March 3, 2015.
  2. Clare C. Clark, Prominent Local Attorney, Dies. The Shreveport Times (through (April 16, 1976). Retrieved on March 3, 2015.
  3. Nanette Pauline Schuler Bell. Shreveport Journal (through (March 1, 1968). Retrieved on March 3, 2015.
  4. Shawn Bohannon (May 9, 2014). Edward Leo McGuire, Jr.. Retrieved on March 3, 2015.