Belle Plain, six miles southeast of Baird in Callahan County, was established in 1876. Nelson M. Smith purchased state school land for the site in 1875 and laid out a town with wide streets and a designated business district. The site was intended to become a commercial center for the county. Some attribute the name of the community to some bell-shaped contour in the surrounding country, but more likely it was the name of the first child born at the townsite, Katie Belle Magee. By the summer of 1876, the town had three businesses, including a saloon operated by J. W. Cheatham. After Callahan County was formally organized in 1877, voters selected Belle Plain over nearby Callahan City as the first county seat. The new county seat prospered, drawing citizens from Callahan City and other smaller towns as well as new settlers. It eventually had several stores and saloons, a stone jail, two fraternal lodges, eleven lawyers, and four physicians. A newspaper, the Callahan County Clarendon, was begun in 1879. The population was never large (about 400 in 1884), but the town served as a regional supply center and exporter of wool, hides, and cotton.
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Belle Plain is classified as a Town
- (Callahan 1)
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