Belltown, Delaware

Historical Summary

In Delaware, the community of Belltown was established on land donated for that purpose by a free black man named Jacob Bell. Bell acquired and appropriated land in 1840 with the intention of creating a town. By 1850, Belltown was attracting black settlers, many of whom found employment in nearby agriculture or fishing jobs. Local farms were very self-sufficient, and the town had a church, school, and numerous businesses. Unlike some of the antebellum black towns that strove for American Christian normativity, Belltown gained a reputation as a place where both black and white customers could procure voodoo practices for a price. Jacob Bell, a free black man, established Belltown on land he donated for the endeavor. The town developed quickly, and residents built a church, school, businesses, and homes.[ref] “Cultural Resources Survey, Delaware Route 1, Five Points to Rehoboth, Sussex County Delaware” DelDOT Archeology Series: No 79[/ref]  Belltown continued to thrive and provide a welcome home for African American migrants well into the 20th century.[ref] John Milner Associates, “Cultural Resources Survey, Delaware Route 1, Five Points to Rehoboth, Sussex County Delaware” DelDDT Archeology Series: No. 79 1990 [full cite].[/ref]

 

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