Location: Bell County KY
Bell County History
The Wilderness Road was constructed in 1775  through what is now Bell County.
Bell County was formed in 1867, from portions of Harlan and Knox counties. It was named for Joshua Fry Bell, an attorney and member of Congress. The county courthouse has been thrice destroyed. In 1914 and 1918, it was destroyed by fire and in 1977 nearly destroyed by flooding. The documents stored there were destroyed as well. The flood occurred in April 1977 and although it caused extensive damage, the historical courthouse survived with substantial water damage to the interior.
The community of "South America" (known as Frakes since the 1930s) in Bell County appears to have been established in the Spanish Era. Spain made land grants in Old Kentucky prior to English settlement. The community of South America links southeast Kentucky to an era of Indian herbal harvest and sales much like the Daniel Boone era in the state.
Bell County has one of the highest ratios of local peace officer deaths of any KY or U.S. county per capita, with 28 deputy sheriffs and 4 county sheriff's K-9 having been killed in the county's history. There has been considerable violence related to the prohibition of alcohol and production of moonshine.
Bell County is the only Kentucky county hosting both a State Park (Pine Mountain State Resort Park) and a National Monument (Cumberland Gap National Historical Park).