BELSPRING (Churchwood)


 

From a spring that tinkled as it ran out of the hills on the C. S. Kirkwood farm, the old Bell Spring Presbyterian church got its name. This church was built in 1851. When the railroad was built through that section some years later, Mr. KIRKWOOD donated a lot for the station. In honor of this gift the railroad authorities called the town Churchwood, deriving the name from the Scotch "kirk," meaning church. This name persisted until 1906, when the town was switched back to Belspring, the two words being run together for convenience.
The old spring has now run dry and the church has been replaced by another, but the town of Belspring has grown into a prosperous farming community. The first three farms in the section were those owned by the SIFFORD's, the BROWN's and the LLOYD's. These three families built fine brick homes which are still standing, and four generations have lived on the Brown property.
Railroading has long been an occupation of many Belspring residents. First station agent was S. F. CALHOUN and his sons followed in his footsteps up until seven years ago, at which time H. B. McCLAUGHERTY took over the position. The railroad, as it was first built through Belspring, had a very steep grade and it was necessary to maintain four pusher engines there. To eliminate this extra expense a low grade track was laid in 1900.
Before the railroad was established, however, many people of the section carried on coal mining operations. The earliest of these was on the Joe CLOYD estate some 10 miles west of Belspring. Coal from this mine was used during the Civil war.
Bellehampton is now controlled by a New York company while the Parrott holdings have passed to the Pulaski Anthracite Coal company and only last year were reincorporated as the Parrott, Buckland, Dalton company. Both of these mines have been worked for almost 50 years.
At the Bellehampton, which has two veins, approximately 250 tons of coal was turned out in a day. This process gave employment to 125 men during peak production. Corresponding figures for the Parrott mines, where operations have now been suspended, were slightly higher. Coal there was brought up a 4,500 foot slope, from which entries a mile and a half long extended into the earth. A briquetle plant, manufacturing 175 tons a day of little concentrated cubes of pitch and coal dirt, was also operated in connection with the mine.
The people of Belspring worship at three churches. Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist. The new Presbyterian chapel was erected in 1920 and the present pastor is the Rev. C. J. Walsh. Among the early ministers were Dr. B. W. MEBANE, Dr. L. W. IRWIN and Dr. D. J. CURRIE. The Methodists erected their worshipping place at the beginning of this century while the Baptist church is slightly older. Gov. TYLER was for many years an elder in the Presbyterian congregation.
The school is a great factor in the lives of the people of Belspring. Instruction was first given in a little one-room structure not far from the present KIRKWOOD home. This soon grew to four rooms and then into a junior high school which continued until 1923, when an accredited high school was established. Mrs. Ernest PAULEY is principal for next season.
There are two stores in the town, managed by L. H. BUCKLAND, who has also been postmaster since 1906, and H. A. BRUCE, for many years engineer at the Parrott mines. Earlier merchants in Belspring were R. A. and W. C. BROWN, John DILLON and F. D. CALHOUN.

Farming has always been the chief occupation of the people of that section. From a hill above Belspring a visitor can look out over one of the most beautiful countrysides in the state. In three counties Pulaski, Giles, and Montgomery lie the great estates of the BROWN's, the CHUMBLEY's, the KIRKWOOD's, the WEBB's and many others. An inheritance of rich fields and rolling hills has come down through many generation to the fortunate people of Belspring.

Source:1939 Centennial Edition of the SW Times-Transcribed by Teresa Ferrell



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