Latitude / Longitude:
37°30′35″N 88°01′20″W / 37.5097°N 88.0222°W / 37.5097 -88.0222
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Bells Mines is a ghost town which was located between Sturgis and Marion, Kentucky, near the Ohio River, in Crittenden County, Kentucky, USA. Bells Mines is an unincorporated area of Crittenden County.
Bells Mines was first settled in the early 1800s by farmers and settlers from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, eastern parts of Kentucky, and miners from England and Germany. Its name is derived from the vicinity in which a number of coal mines were operated by the Bells Mine(s) Coal Company owned by John Bell (1796-1869), a prominent and affluent antebellum politician and businessman who was once Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and an 1860 Candidate for President of the United States.
The land surrounding and encompassing Bells Mines is now so rich with wildlife, from having been largely unoccupied by people for decades, that it was acquired by the United States Forest Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) for the purpose of creating a Wildlife management area from Caseyville in Union County, Kentucky to the former Bells Mines area. This represented the largest land acquisition by the state of Kentucky in over two decades. The Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and State Forest in Crittenden County was declared formally opened to the public on November 1, 2013
During the American Civil War, on July 13, 1864, Bells Mines was the site of a skirmish between 46 men of Company C of the 52nd Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry and a band of 300 guerrillas sympathetic to the Confederate States of America. According to the company’s reports, one soldier was killed, 11 men were captured (6 of which subsequently escaped according to the Evansville Daily Journal,) and 22 horses were killed.