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The old spring has now run dry and the church has been replaced
by another, but the town of Belspring has grown into a prosperous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
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
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
Source:1939 Centennial Edition of the SW Times-Transcribed
by Teresa Ferrell