Note: The following is the fourth in a series of columns that will describe towns and communities, past and present, that were settled after Bulloch County was first settled. Some have since been cut into other counties.
The town of Bellwood was created when George Heard opened a sawmill close to the Ogeechee River. There, he soon built two bridges, one a toll bridge and one a railroad bridge. These allowed the passage of citizens — for a fee — and lumber to the Central of Georgia Railway, which passed through what became the town of Rocky Ford on the other side of the river.
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 be a corruption of the name Bay Gall, or it may come from the 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)" and 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 there in 1894.
William Corey soon established the town's first general store. Local businessmen Brannen and Oliver established both saw and grist mills, along with Buford, Daughtry, N.W. Groover, Olliff, A.B. Riggs and Norman Rushing, who all had grist mills. A.C. Williams was the town's blacksmith, and John J. Lane was its doctor.
Some documents indicate the community of Bengal was the first settlement of what eventually became the town of Register.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at email@example.com.