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 Texas : Towns A-Z : Central Texas North : Bells

BELLS, TEXAS

Grayson County, North Central Texas
U.S. Highway 82
10 miles E of Sherman
13 miles S of Denison
66 miles N of Dallas

Population: 962

Bells Area Hotels
Sherman Hotels | Denison Hotels

Bells Texas underpass
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007

Bells History in a Pecan Shell

Originaly called Dugansville after the first settler - Daniel Dugan who came to the area in 1835. In 1871 it had enough people to warrant a name and Dugansville was selected. The name was changed in 1879 for reasons not clear.

Bells was connected to the outside world by two railroad connections in the 1870s - the Texas and Pacific running East to West and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad which was the first to enter Texas from outside the state.

By 1900, Bells had a healthy population of 400 and a weekly newspaper, plus the usual assortment of business like hotels, grocers and blacksmiths. Prior to the Great Depression, Bells hit the 600 population mark before entering the period of decline felt by most Texas towns.

Bells Texas Scenes:

Virginia Point Methodist Church Bells Texas
Virginia Point Methodist Church NE of Bells
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007
Virginia Point Methodist Church Cemetery, Bells Texas
Virginia Point Methodist Church Cemetery
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007
Bells Texas closed garage
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007
Bells Texas water tower
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007
Bells High School, Bells, Texas
"The former Bells High School in Bells TX....it was built in 1935. It is no longer used and is empty at this time." - Stephen Taylor, May 19, 2006
Bell Texas railroad depot and switching tower
Train depot and Railroad Interlocking Tower 20 in Bells
Vintage photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
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Bells Texas Forum
  • Subject: "Mile of Dollars" Church
    You will probably hear about the "Mile of Dollars" Church. It's the Methodist church that burned to the ground in 1950. In fact, I may as well give you the story as written up many years ago and is always used in the history of the church. ... There are still quite a few people in the church who participated in the events. Here it is - with some notations of my own:

    "The church was established in 1880 at Bailey Junction in northwest Bells. Rev. A.L. Miller, great grandfather of Lois Everheart (who is still an active member), was the first pastor. In 1889, the church moved to south Bells on land given by Mr. W.B. Dugan (g or gg? -grandfather of another very active member).
  • On Thanksgiving Day, 1950, Rev. Baxton Bryant (Rev. Bryant passed away in 1996 at his home in NC) was burning trash when sparks caught in a high wind and ignited the dry grass. In a matter of minutes the grass was a torch destroying the church building. Only a pile of ashes was left. The church, insured for only $5,000, needed twenty-five thousand dollars to rebuild. The congregation pledged $10,000, yet an additional $10,000 was still needed.

    Rev. Bryant and his friend, Rev. Ashley Jamison, Methodist minister of Whitewright, had the idea of finding 10,000 people to donate one dollar each, which after much figuring was determined to measure one mile. This "mile of dollars" idea received nation-wide publicity, including an article in Life Magazine. Donations and best wishes came from all over the United States and foreign countries.

    On May 6, 1951 a mile of dollars was strung out along U.S. Highway 69 south toward Whitewright. The first service in the new brick "Mile of Dollars" church was held January 6, 1952."

    In 1980 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary by burying a time capsule containing, among other things, a copy of the 1951 issue of Life Magazine with the article in it. I've never seen it but figure that at least Fairy Ramsey (mother of the tax collector) has one. Fairy recently celebrated her 90th birthday and kept the nursery in the church for over 60 years until just a few months ago when she broke her hip. I have seen a photo of the church in flames along with an article which was published in the Sherman newspaper.

    ... I've always found it to be a fascinating story - especially since I know many of the people who were part of it. - Margie Jackson, September 22, 2002
    Bells Area Destinations:
    Sherman - Sherman Hotels
    Denison - Denison Hotels
    Dallas - Dallas Hotels

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