maternal grandparents, Leslie and Mary Eloise Agee, lived all their lives in
Crockett County, TN with most of that time in Bells. We visited them often at their
home on Christian Av. When traveling there, we knew
we were close when we could see the Bells water tower which was
about 300 yards behind their home.
I have fond memories of going fishing in grandpa's Red Truck,
white Christmases, cramped quarters (a one-bathroom house and
EVERYONE came over), walks to town, Grandmother's coconut cakes and
best of all listening to the train go by in the back room while
taking a nap.
My grandparents knew everyone in town and everyone knew them.
They attended the Bells Church of Christ where Leslie was an elder.
Leslie worked at many jobs in his life: grocery store owner,
banking, utility company. But the one I grew up remembering was his
work at the cotton gin in Maury City. He was an accountant ... which
didn't interest me much. But I still loved going to work with him so I could
watch the big machinery of the gin.
My grandmother was the ultimate
cook and homemaker. Her oven was huge (two sided, 6 burners) and
could pump out huge breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Anytime anyone
came over, there was always enough food for everyone and then
some. She also had a goodly sized garden.
Those were good
times. I treasure them fondly.
I found the following history of Bells on a Crockett County
map—you know, the ones with a map in the center and
advertisements all around it—and thought I'd make a page in
tribute to my grandparents and Bells.
HISTORY OF BELLS, TENNESSEE
In 1827 John and William Bell purchased 1,000 acres of land on which
Bells now stand. This land was purchased for one dollar an acre.
Bells Depot, then in an area called Haywood County, was founded in
1855 and was named in honor of William Bell who built the first
dwelling in town.
In the early eighteen fifties, before the Civil War, stage coaches
were running between Brownsville and Trenton with a stop in Bells
The first merchant in Bells Depot was C. C. Clay, who began selling
goods in 1859. During the Civil War years no business was transacted
at Bells Depot as all the stores were closed.
A full company of soldiers was organized at Bells Depot at the start
of the Civil War. It was known as Company G, 27th Regiment of
Tennessee Infantry and it saw action in the Battle of Shiloh, the
Battle of Franklin and many others. Only three men out of the 170
Bells Depot was incorporated in 1868 with Hardy L. Windburn as the
first mayor. Newspaper service began in 1874 when the "Bellville
Enterprise" was established.
Then in 1880, by an act of government, the word "Depot" was
eliminated from the name of the city and Bells was made a part of
Crockett County instead of Haywood County. In 1887, the population
of Bells was about 600 people. It was the largest and most important
town in the county. Land was worth $9.72 an acre. At this time Bell
was one of the leading cotton markets and trading centers in West
Tennessee. Also the first bank was founded this year.
Utilities came into being in Bells in 1898 when telephone service
was furnished inhabitants. Then in 1910 railroad service came into
Bells. The Fire Department was organized in 1913. This was followed
closely in 1915 by the formation of the Bells Light and Water
Company. The electric power was turned on at dark and off at
Bells is the home of the West Tennessee Okra Festival. The festival
includes a horse show, beauty pageant, street carnival and other
activities and shows. The Festival is always held during August, the
peak of the okra season.
From the Crockett
Southern Engineering, Glenn, MS, 1988
This info added to
Wikipedia on August 4, 2006