FRANK J. BELL, the sixth governor of Nevada and a distant cousin of Alexander Graham Bell, was born in Toronto, Canada on January 28, 1840. His education was limited and attained in the commons schools of his native country. Bell came to the United States as a construction supervisor for a telegraph company that ran lines from Utah to California. He also telegraphed the Nevada constitution to President Lincoln in 1864, and was the first person to demonstrate the telephone in Nevada. Bell first entered public service as warden of the Nevada prison, a position he held from 1883 to 1887. He also served as lieutenant governor of Nevada from 1889 to 1890. On September 21, 1890 Governor Charles C. Stevenson died in office, and Bell, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his short tenure, he continued to carry out the programs and policies of the Stevenson administration. After leaving office in January 1891, Bell continued to stay politically active. From 1893 to 1895 he served again as warden of the state prison, and from 1905 to 1909 he served as Reno justice of the peace. Governor Frank J. Bell passed away on February 13, 1927, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Reno, Nevada.

Sources:

Nevada State Archives: Frank Bell 1890-1891

Nevada State Library and Archives: Nevada Governors' Biographical Information

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.