Oldest Town of Importance in Quitman County Still Ranks Among the Most Prosperous.  A High Grade Citizenship on Every Hand.

The oldest established town in Quitman County is Belen, situated in the western part of the county, about five miles from Marks.  Although an interior town, Belen enjoys an excellent trade all the year around.  The shipping point is Marks since the building of the Y. & M.V. Railroad.

Years ago Belen was the largest town in the county, and was the first incorporated municipality.  At one time this splendid little town had the honor of being the county site, and today the stately and substantial courthouse stands not only as a mark of that distinction, but serves as one of the best school buildings in the county.

originalcourthouse

According to Mr. Alfred Jamison [1895-1947], one of the best informed of the pioneers of the county, the courthouse was first established at Marks in 1877, the year the county of Quitman was formed.  In 1883 it was decided to make Belen the county site, and so the courthouse was built there.  But in 1906, due to the more central location of Marks, and better transportation facilities it was decided to again remove the county site, and it has thus remained at Marks since that time.

One thing that will always maintain Belen as a permanent business and resident center is that it unquestionably is surrounded by the very finest soil in the Delta.  No land, no crops can surpass this neighborhood in production.  Then again, Belen has an extraordinary flow of pure artesian well water, the well at the courthouse supplying a constant stream of water that is so cool it never at any season of the year requires ice like most other water.

While Belen has one of the finest schools to be found in a community of equal size the good people there have not failed to make provision for further improvement, and funds have been appropriated for extension of the high school and its scope whenever needed.

Belen is the most ideal residential neighborhood in this section of the state.  Located along Cassidy Bayou, a well-known stream, it has every advantage for clean life and health for old and young; advantages for church and school, and opportunities that make everyone in the community prosperous and contented.

As a good and profitable farming country it simply cannot be excelled.  Good roads lead to Belen, and no railway advantage is missed, while its disadvantages of noise and accidents are avoided.                                                                                      Cassidy Bayou

Hon. W.T. Covington

Belen is noted for its high type of citizenship.  Here some of the most elegant gentlemen to be found in Mississippi reside.  It is an old, established town and the character of its men is of a high order.
Most prominent among the leading figures at Belen is Hon. W.T. Covington [William Thomas Covington 1861-1930] who is known not only in his own section, but in all parts of the state.  Col. Covington is a member of the State Legislature, having served a four-year term, and having recently been re-elected without opposition [Mississippi House of Representatives 1911-1915].  For the new term [1916], however, he will serve in the State Senate instead of the House of Representatives.

Senator Covington, who is a native of Panola County, came to Quitman County away back in 1886, about nine years after the county was first organized.  In the part of the  county where he first lived he was the only white man making his permanent residence there, having come to manage a large plantation for a friend.

In 1890 he was elected to the office of circuit and chancery clerk of Quitman County, and served from that time for a period of sixteen years [1890-1906], when he voluntarily gave up the office on account of his other affairs.  From that time he accepted no public office until elected to the legislature in 1911.

Senator Covington is vice-president of the Citizens Bank at Marks, one of the largest banks in this part of the state.  He also owns and gives his personal attention to a splendid plantation comprising some two thousand acres near Belen.  Fully a third of this land is now devoted to feed crops, the balance producing some of the finest long-staple cotton in the world.

As an influential citizen and a progressive planter Senator Covington is regarded as one of the most valued assets the county has.  Genial and courteous and energetic, he has drawn to him a host of fast friends whose number increases with each succeeding year.

J.B. White

One of the principal business houses at Belen is owned and conducted by Mr. J.B. White [Joseph Bigger White 1860-1924].  This gentleman has had the good fortune to live at Belen for the past thirty years, and is certainly qualified to speak for the town’s splendid advantages.

Mr. White is now engaged in the general mercantile business, having established the present business in 1909.  This time marked the period when Belen began to take on new life, and Mr. White has had the pleasure of witnessing a marked increase in growth and in enterprise in the Belen section.  Like others he has prospered, and is a firm believer in the future of the Belen neighborhood.

Mr. White does both a furnishing business and a cash trade throughout the year.  He also operates a farm near Belen, devoted principally to raising valuable long-staple cotton, but an abundance of grain as well.  Mr. White has experienced an increase of no less than a hundred per cent since he established the mercantile business he now has.

Belen Drug Company

belendrugcoAll modern features composing an up-to-date drug store, such as is found in much larger centers, are included in the arrangement and service of the Belen Drug Company’s store at Belen.  The fact that it is an inland town does not deprive Belen of any of the advantages enjoyed by other Mississippi towns and cities, particularly as respects this line of business.

The Belen Drug Company is under the management of Mr. W.C. Furr [Walter Currie Furr 1886-1954] who gives his personal attention to the affairs of the store, and who is a joint owner of the establishment with Mr. V.A. Furr [Venn Ammett Furr 1866-1952].

The Belen Drug Company was established in 1910, and is quite a popular place at Belen.  It is located on the busiest corner and is patronized by not only the people of Belen, but by those who come from miles around.

A complete line of drugs, toilet articles, stationery, besides a modern sanitary soda fountain, are features of this popular store.  It is a credit to Belen and to the business enterprise of the people of Quitman County.

Belen Mercantile Co.

belenmercantileOne of the largest mercantile establishments in Quitman County is located at Belen.  This is the Belen Mercantile Company which was established in 1912, and which carries on an exceptionally large volume of business.  It is one of the busiest stores in the county during the harvest season, doing both a furnishing and a cash business.

The Belen Mercantile Company, which is owned jointly by Messrs. G.C. Hollan [Grundy Cicero Holland 1888-1939] and V.A. Furr, is under the direct management of Mr. Hollan, who gives practically all of his time to its management.  It is regarded as the leading general merchandise store in that part of the county.

Everything in the line of clothing, dry goods, hardware, groceries–every description of requirements for the home and the plantation can be procured at the Belen Mercantile Company’s store.  The large amount of trade carried on throughout the year is sufficient evidence of the popularity of the place, and of the high-grade principles that govern the management in his dealings.

Alcorn Place Sold

The model farm of Mr. R.W. Alcorn at Belen has just recently been sold to Mr. Oscar Carr, of Clarksdale, Miss. for $340,000.  Mr. Alcorn had no trouble in 1918 in producing a bale of cotton to the acre on the land.

One of the prettiest country homes in the Delta is on this place, its conveniences including every modern accommodation to be found in the cities.  This home was recently remodeled at a cost of about $15,000.

The farm contains about 1,700 acres and has its own water plant.

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Photos of Old Belen Courthouse, Belen Drug Co., and Belen Mercantile Co. were provided by Marks the Good Old Days at Facebook.
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