Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at the founding and general history of southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.
Said to have been the largest town in Bulloch County at the beginning of its existence, the booming town of Bengal was also known to some as Bengall.
Legend says the name may either be a corruption of the name Bay Gall, or may come from sugarcane brought from Bengal in Eastern India that was introduced to Bulloch County in the 1820s.
Located at the intersection of Blacksack Branch and Lotts Creek, Bengal sat on an indian trail that became the old Burkhalter Road. Eight miles southwest of Statesboro, this community of some 20 families was established in 1855 and had the second post office established in Bulloch County.
On Dec. 16, 1861, a new mail route from Bengal to Reidsville was laid out by the Georgia Legislature. It was described as “a mail line, for weekly service, from Bengal in Bulloch County, (the terminus of a mail line from Halcyondale on the Central Railroad. It ran "by the way of William DeLoach's mills in Bulloch County, thence to Ben. Brewton's mills in Tattnall County, and thence to Reedsville (sic) in said county of Tattnall.”
The postmasters were (in order) Thomas Nevil, Joshua Williams and Franklin Pierce Register, who settled here in 1894. William Corey soon established the town's first general store.
Local businessmen Brannen and Oliver established both saw and grist mills here, while Buford, Daughtry, N.W. Groover, Olliff, A. B. Riggs and Norman Rushing all had grist mills.
A.C. Williams was the blacksmith, and John J. Lane was the town's doctor. Some documents indicate the community of Bengal was the first settlement of what eventually became the town of Register.
Who could think of a better name for a town than, well Better. Elisha S. Woods was postmaster of Better, in this community that was located just north of Middle Ground Road on Metts Road.
Another of the first towns in Bulloch County was Black, named after J.W. Black. This town was located east of Statesboro in what and eventually was renamed Leefield. The post office was open from 1883-1887, with postmasters Winfield S. Lee and then Emma S. Bradley.
Settled even earlier in the area was the settlement of Blackacre, which then became known as Black. The postmaster was Winfield S. Lee, who served in Capt. Samuel Harville's Company D of the Second Georgia Infantry during the War Between the States.
One of the many railroad towns that popped up across Bulloch County was Bland, which was also referred to by some as Bland's Spur. This village was a stop on the Savannah, Augusta and Northern Railroad. What is left of the town is located halfway between Portal and Highway 67 along Highway 80.
The village of Bliss was located on Sculls Creek on the northwestern boundary of Bulloch County, some 20 miles from Statesboro. The nearest railroad station was Portal on the Foy Railroad line. When Andrew J. Knight became postmaster, he asked to name it Merry, which was rejected. Finally, he suggested Bliss, which was accepted. It later became part of Jenkins County.
The town of Blitch is located 10 miles from Statesboro and 2 miles from the Ogeechee River. Blitch was built as a stagecoach stop about 6 miles southwest of Dover, which became the nearest railway station.
Blitch had a population of 51 in 1900. It was located at the intersection of Lakeview Road and Old River Road North. The Post Office was located in the W.H. Blitch store, and the postmasters were William H. Blitch and W. Oscar Lane.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.