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Fort Worth Flashback: Belle Burchill tried to tame Hell’s Half Acre

Posted March 25, 2013

In honor of _ _Women’s History Month_, each week in March Fort Worth Flashback will take a look at the role of women in our city’s history._

Belle Burchill

Belle Burchill

Belle Burchill (1847-1937) served as postmistress in the 1880s and is credited with starting home mail delivery in Fort Worth.

According to the book North of the River: A Brief History of North Fort Worth, during Fort Worth’s rowdy saloon days, Burchill and another woman, Delia Collins, frequently assisted a Methodist minister on “errands of mercy” in Hell’s Half Acre and the north side red-light district.

“A truly enlightened woman, Mrs. Burchill talked the Tarrant County commissioners into buying a house of ill repute to use as an orphanage for the children of the ‘fallen women’ they had been assisting,” the book says.

That orphanage would later be known as the Fort Worth Benevolent Home.

Her daughter, Edna M. Burchill, developed the Burchill Addition in east Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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