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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

CHARLES W, CELL. While a farmer and business man in Kansas Charles W. Cell made a visit to California, which turned all the destinies and enthusiasm of his life in this direction and for the past ten years he has been rapidly climbing to and achieving success in Riverside, where he is president and active head of the Riverside Motor Sales Company, an extensive business that grew out of a hardware and implement house.

Mr. Cell was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, February 23, 1878, but from early infancy was reared in Kansas. The Cell family is an old and historical one both in America and in Germany. There was a Matthew Cell named as a contemporary in the Reformation with Martin Luther. Members of the family came to the American Colonies in early days. The great-great-grandfather of Charles W. Cell was a soldier of the Revolution and was with Washington when the latter, at the head of his troops, crossed the Delaware. The late John F. Cell, father of Charles W., served three years as a Union soldier with a Pennsylvania Regiment, was with the Army of the Potomac and also with Sherman on the march from Atlanta to the sea. On leaving Pennsylvania he moved out to Kansas, first settled in Marion County, where his efforts were afflicted by the plague til grasshoppers and drought, and from there he removed to Osage County. His widow, Mary (Croft) Cell, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, of an old American family of German descent, and is now living at Topeka, Kansas. She had brothers who were Union soldiers. Her eight living children are : John F., a practicing lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, who married Florence Musson and has five children; George Croft, who holds the chair of theology in Boston University, married Miss Ella Clark and has three children; Charles W. is the third in age ; Miss Lottie is a high school teacher in Illinois ; Martin Luther is a well known newspaper man at Redlands, California, and is married and has two children ; Mary is the wife of Sherman Shoup, a musician in Chicago, and they have a family of five ; Christian is an ex-service man who was in France ; and Samuel is a clerk in the Chicago mail order house of Montgomery Ward & Co., and is married and has one child.

Charles W. Cell was reared in Osage County, Kansas, attending public schools there and working on his father's farm. At the age of twenty-one he bought land of his own, and his interests were those of a Kansas farmer until he was twenty-eight years of age. He then engaged in the grain and elevator business at Wakarusa in Shawnee County, Kansas, operating as a grain dealer there for three years. Just before he entered the grain business he made the trip to California that decided him in the choice of a permanent home environment. As soon as he disposed of his grain business he returned to California, becoming a resident of Riverside in 1911. Here with limited capital he acquired some stock in the firm of* Davenport, Wheeler, Allen Company, successors to what was known as the old Stewart Implement and Hardware business at 446 West Eighth Street. Mr. Cell as a member of the company became active manager of the business, and as this enterprise prospered he eventually became sole owner. In the meantime he moved his location to 301 West Eighth Street, where the name was changed to the Riverside Implement Company. Recently change has been made to the Riverside Motor Sales Company, of which Mr. Cell is president and manager. The first change of name was due to the transfer of the stock to new ownership and the last change came when the company abandoned its implement department and confined its attention entirely to auto vehicles. The company has the agencies of the Hudson and Essex motor cars and the Moreland trucks, Reo speed wagons and utility trailers, both of the latter being manufactured at Los Angeles and consequently a California product which Mr. Cell always favors in advance of others. Mr. Cell now has the largest motor sales agencies in Riverside County. A large block of the treasury stock has been purchased by E. L. Williamson, who is vice president and assistant manager of the company. Another stockholder is Miss Martha Simpson, who has kept the books of the firm for four years and is head bookkeeper and accountant. Mr. Cell and Mr. Williamson are interested financially in the Monte Belle and Richfield United Oil Wells, where some profitable properties have been developed.

So far as his business obligations permit Mr. Cell has taken a deep and active interest in the welfare of his home city. For the past five years he has been superintendent of the First Methodist Episcopal Sunday School, giving much time to church work. He has been a director for ten years in the Riverside Young Men's Christian Association, and is especially interested in the athletic department of that organization. He is a Mason and a member of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Kiwanis and Present Day clubs. March 1, 1899, he married Miss Ada Burk, a native of Kansas. Her father, Homer Burk, was a pioneer of that state and of an old American family of English descent. Mr. and Mrs. Cell have a daughter, Mary Ellen, member of the class of 1922 in the Riverside High School.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011