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Bells, Tennessee
Main Street in Bells
Main Street in Bells
Location of Bells in Crockett County, Tennessee.
Location of Bells in Crockett County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Crockett
 • Total 2.38 sq mi (6.16 km2)
 • Land 2.37 sq mi (6.14 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
325 ft (99 m)
 • Total 2,437
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,030.79/sq mi (398.00/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-04720
GNIS feature ID 1305093

Bells is a city in Crockett County, Tennessee. The population was 2,437 at the 2010 census.


In 1827 John and William Bell purchased 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) 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 American Civil War, stage coaches were running between Brownsville and Trenton with a stop in Bells Depot.

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 survived.

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 Bells 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 midnight.

Bells was the home of the now-defunct West Tennessee Okra Festival. The festival included a horse show, beauty pageant, street carnival and other activities and shows. The Festival was always held during August, the peak of the okra season.


Bells is located at 35°43′6″N 89°5′7″W / 35.71833°N 89.08528°W / 35.71833; -89.08528 (35.718423, -89.085385).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), of which 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2) is land and 0.44% is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 540
1890 690 27.8%
1900 758 9.9%
1910 753 −0.7%
1920 920 22.2%
1930 919 −0.1%
1940 1,054 14.7%
1950 1,225 16.2%
1960 1,232 0.6%
1970 1,474 19.6%
1980 1,571 6.6%
1990 1,643 4.6%
2000 2,171 32.1%
2010 2,437 12.3%
2019 (est.) 2,444 0.3%

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,171 people, 806 households, and 559 families residing in the city. The population density was 955.6 people per square mile (369.3/km2). There were 878 housing units at an average density of 386.5 per square mile (149.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.11% White, 21.19% African American, 0.46% Native American, 10.78% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.80% of the population.

There were 806 households, out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.6% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,238, and the median income for a family was $31,827. Males had a median income of $26,184 versus $19,602 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,455. About 14.9% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.

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