This town, named for area pioneer Frances Bell Smith, was founded in 1890 on property owned by Pulaski Sikes Smith, John M. Wood, and Benjamin Berrien Brewton in then Tattnall County. Town lots were platted adjacent to the newly laid tracks of the Savannah & Western Railroad. The railroad depot, constructed soon after the tracks were laid, served as the town`s center of commerce and social activity. Bellville rapidly gained importance as a regional transportation hub for agricultural and timber products such as cotton, naval stores, and lumber, and as the home of Bellville Academy,established in 1890.
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