Bedford County

Bedford County

Bedford County was formed in 1807 from
parts of Rutherford County and Indian lands

(Acts of Tennessee 1807, Chapter 37).

The county seat is Shelbyville.

There were fires at the Bedford County courthouse in 1863
and 1934. There was a tornado at the courthouse in 1830.

Selected Published County Histories
  • Bedford County, Tennessee: Family History Book (Bedford County Historical Society, 2002) [name index]*
  • Centennial Celebration, 4th of July, 1876, at Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee (Cooper, 1877)
  • Comin's and Goin's of Flat Creek Boys: The Way Some Country Folks Lived and the Chain of Ownership of the Businesses of Flat Creek, Tennessee  (Hix, 1988)*
  • Duck River Valley in Tennessee and Its Pioneers (Jacobs, 1968) [name index]
  • Early History of Bedford County Tennessee: Two Hundred Years Along the Three Forks of Duck River (Marsh, Marsh & King, 2007?) [name index]
  • Families of Flat Creek, Tennessee: With Special Emphasis on the Twenties and Thirties  (Hix, 1990)
  • Historic Normandy, Bedford County, Tennessee (Cook, 1976) [name index]
  • History of Rover and the 10th District of Bedford County: Lest We Forget the People and Things in our Corner of the World [2 vols.] (Rover Historical Society, 1999-2000) [surname index]
  • History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford (Goodspeed, 1988) [name index]
  • Homecoming 86 History of Wheel and the 18th District (Wheel Homecoming Committee, 1986) [name index in a separate volume]*
  • Liberty Gap (Fults, 1996)
  • Old Times in Bedford County, Tenn. (Hutson, 197?)*
  • On Thompson Creek (Whitney, 2004)
  • Silhouettes from Walking Horse Country (Poplin, 1969)
  • Who, When, and What: Bedford County (Ferguson, 199?)

Additional county and community histories can be found at the Bibliography of Tennessee Local History Sources:  Bedford CountyThe items in the bibliography may not all be available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  


Published Local Records

  • 1820 Census of Bedford County, Tennessee (Porch, 1968)
  • 1850 Census of Bedford County, Tennessee (Porch, 1968)*
  • 1880 Census, Tennessee, Transcription for Bedford County (Sistler, 1978?)
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Bible Records [2 vols.] (Marsh, 1977-) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Bible, Family and Tombstone Records (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Chancery Court Minutes, 1837-1845 (WPA, 1937) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, County Court Minutes, 1852-1855 (WPA, 1937) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, General Index to Deeds [1808-1840] (WPA, 1940) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Marriages, 1861-1864 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, New Hope Lutheran Church Records, 1805-1836 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Will Book (WPA, 1936) [name index]
  • Bedford County, Tennessee, Wills & Vital Records From Newspapers (Marsh, 1996) [name index]*
  • Bedford County, Tn., Wills [1853-1910] (Marsh, 1984) [name index]*
  • Burned Deed Index, 1852-1861, Bedford County, Tennessee (Marsh, 1999) [alphabetical listing]*
  • Cemetery Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (Marsh, 1985) [surname index]*
  • Chancery Court of Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (1988) [surname index]*
  • Clipped Obituaries, Shelbyville Times-Gazette (Fulcher, 1979)
  • Coffee, Franklin & Bedford Counties, TN, Polk City Directory [2004-2007, 2009-2015, 2017-2020] [alphabetical listing]
  • Couch-Patton Cemetery: A Project (East Middle School [Tullahoma, Tenn.], Eighth Grade Class, 1992?) [name index]
  • Death Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (Lynch, 1984) [surname index]*
  • Earliest County Court Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (Marsh, 1986) [surname index]*
  • Family Graveyards: The Cook Family Cemetery and the Crowell Family Cemetery in the 18th Civil District of Bedford County, Tennessee (Cook, 2011) [name index]
  • Frosts and Related Families of Bedford County, Tennessee (Frost, 1962) [name index]
  • Generations of Francis Brothers (1779-1845) : A History of Francis Brothers who Settled in Rutherford County, Tennessee About 1815, and his Descendants [Bedford County cemeteries] (Brothers, 1986)
  • Historical Summary and Church Directory of First Baptist Church, Shelbyville, Tennessee from 1843-1928 (First Baptist Church, 1928)
  • Hoover Funeral and Burial Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (Marsh, 1989) [surname index]*
  • Jennings-Phillips Collection of Early Bedford County, Tennessee Records (Phillips & Jackson, 1998)
  • Keller Cemetery of Bedford County (East Middle School [Tullahoma, Tenn.], Eighth Grade Class, 1994) [name index]
  • Land Deed Genealogy of Bedford County, Tennessee, 1807-1852 (Marsh, 1998) [name index]*
  • Minutes of Wm. Frierson Bivouac, no.8, Shelbyville, Tenn. (United Confederate Veterans, Tennessee Division, William Frierson Bivouac, 1974) [name index]*
  • New Providence Presbyterian Church Minutes of Bedford County, Tennessee, 1826-1860 (Crouthers, 1997)*
  • Newspaper Vital Records of Bedford County, Tennessee (Marsh, 1984) [surname index]
  • *Obituaries of our Ancestors as Transcribed from the Shelbyville Gazette, Bedford County, Tennessee (Cook, 1990) [name index]
  • Official Marriages of Bedford County, Tennessee [vol. 1 1861-1880; vol. 2 1880-1898] (Marsh, 1996) [name index]*
  • One Hundredth Anniversary of the Thompson Creek Baptist Church House, 1889-1989 (Stephens, 1989)
  • Records of the Church of Christ at Flat Creek, Bedford County, Tennessee, 1868-1981 (1981)
  • Shelbyville Gazette obituaries [vol. 1 - 1900-1999; vol. 1a - 1934-1940; vol. 2 - 2000; vol. 3 - 2001; vol. 4 - 2002; vol. 5 - 2003; vol. 6 - 2004; vol. 7 - 2005; vol. 8 - 2006; vol. 10 - 2008; vol. 11 - 2009; vol. 12 - 2009; vol. 13 - 2010; vol. 14 - 2011] (Smotherman, 2004?-) [name index]
  • Shofner Cemetery : East Middle School Project (East Middle School [Tullahoma, Tenn.], 1990) [name index]
  • Soldiers of the Revolution in Bedford County, TN. (Marsh, 1989) [surname index]*
  • South Central Tennessee Regional Polk City Directory: Including Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore Counties (R.L. Polk & Co., 1999) [alphabetical listing of names]
  • Tennessee, Records of Bedford County: Chancery Court Minute Book 2, 1846-1854 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Tennessee, Records of Bedford County: County Court Minute Book, 1848-1852 [2 vols.] (WPA, 1936) [name index]


Local Records on Microfilm

An inventory of microfilmed Bedford County records is available on our website.  Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1861
  • wills from 1861
  • deed index from 1808
  • chancery court minutes from 1830
  • county court minutes from 1848
  • circuit court minutes from 1840
  • tax books from 1875


The following reels are available on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives:

  • Deed Index -- Mar. 1808 - Dec. 1875 (#106, 1 reel)*
  • WPA Records, Bedford County (Record Group #107, Roll 2, 1 reel) Roll includes General Index to Deeds (1808-1840), Chancery Court Records (1837-1845), Chancery Court Minutes, Pts. 1 & 2 (1846-1854), County Court Minutes, Pts. 1 & 2 (1848-1852), County Court Minutes (1852-1855), Marriages (1861-1864), Will Book 1 (1847-1881), New Hope Lutheran Church Records (1805-1836) and Bible, Family & Tombstone Records (undated).*


Newspapers on Microfilm 

Newspapers were published in Shelbyville.  Scattered early issues are available from 1826, and a complete run begins in 1948.  Microfilms are loaned to Tennessee libraries.  Individual reels may also be purchased.  An Inventory of Newspapers on Microfilm at the Library and Archives is available on our website.   


Selected Manuscripts Material
  • A.H. Riddle and Company General Store (Bedford Co) Account Books, 1905-1951  (Microfilm Manuscript #1614, 1 reel)*
  • Austin Shofner School Books. Bedford County, 1819?  (Microfilm Manuscript #983, 1 reel)*
  • Bedford and Rutherford County Scrapbooks, 1900-1968  (Microfilm Manuscript #266, 1 reel)*
  • Bethbirei Presbyterian Church Records. Marshall County, 1827-1910  (Microfilm Manuscript #24, 1 reel)*
  • Church of the Redeemer Records. Shelbyville, 1867-1969  (Microfilm Manuscript #480, 1 reel)*
  • Cooper Family Papers, 1840-1913 (Microfilm Manuscript #1896, 4 reels)*
  • Enon Primitive Baptist Church Records, Shelbyville, Tenn., 1821-2008 (Microfilm Manuscript #1999, 1 reel)*
  • First Presbyterian Church Records. Shelbyville, 1827-1956  (Microfilm Manuscript #478, 2 reels)*
  • Flat Creek Baptist Church of Christ Records (Williamson County) 1830-1848; Spring Creek Baptist Church Records (Bedford County) 1819-1830  (Microfilm Manuscript #915, 1 reel)*
  • H.F. Hoover Funeral Home Records. Bedford County, 1904-1941  (Microfilm Manuscript #1166, 2 reels)*
  • Jennings-Phillips Collection of Early Bedford County Records  (Microfilm Manuscript #1571, 3 reels)*
  • Leonard F. Chapman Family Papers, 1786-1959  (Microfilm Manuscript #1210, 1 reel)*
  • Liberty Baptist Church (Bell Buckle, Tenn.) Minute Book, 1831-1870  (Microfilm Manuscript #1626, 1 reel)*
  • Mount Pisgah Primitive Baptist Church Ledger, Bedford County, 1834-1923  (Microfilm Manuscript #1763, 1 reel)*
  • New Hope Baptist Church Records. Bedford County, 1809-1912  (Microfilm Manuscript #1480, 1 reel)*
  • Normandy Presbyterian Church Records. Normandy, 1870-1956  (Microfilm Manuscript #492, 1 reel)*
  • William Burdette Papers, 1810-1964  (Microfilm Manuscript #1053, 3 reels)*
  • Winchester and Erwin Family Papers, 1825-1907  (Microfilm Manuscript #908, 1 reel)*
  • Wright W. Frost Collection, 1701-1983 Addition  (Microfilm Manuscript #1110, 1 reel)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 


Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for Bedford County: 1820-1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index: 1820-1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm (Soundex): 1880, 1900-1930
  • Bedford County census records in book form: 1820, 1850*, 1880


Additional Research Aids for Bedford County

Indicates this title may be borrowed on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives.

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Bedford County Formation Act


"An Act to divide Rutherford County, and to form a new county, south and south west of said county, by the name of Bedford."

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE,That a new county be, and the same is hereby established south and southwest of, and adjoining the said county of Rutherford, by the name of Bedford, in memory of Thomas Bedford deceased; which said county shall begin at the south west corner of Rutherford, and south east corner of Williamson County on the Duck-river [sic] ridge, and run thence with said Williamson County line, to the line of the county of Maury; thence along the same southwardly to the south boundary of the state; thence eastwardly to the east boundary of Rutherford county; thence along the same to the ridge that divides the waters of Duck River from those of Cumberland; thence along the same westwardly, to the south east corner of Williamson County, leaving Rutherford County its constitutional limits; and all that tract of territory included in the above described lines, shall be included within the said county of Bedford; and all the lands north of the first described line on Duck River ridge where the said line intersects White county line, then north with said line until it strikes the corner of Rutherford and Wilson County line at a place known by the name of Rush Spring, then to follow the old line of Rutherford County, as by law established, shall be and remain the county of Rutherford.

SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That for the due administration of justice, the first court, and all subsequent courts shall be held in said county of Bedford, until the end of the next General Assembly, at the improvement lately made and occupied by Mrs. Payne, near the head of Mulberry Creek, and all courts held in and for said county of Bedford, shall be held by commission to the said justices, in the same manner, and under the same rules and restrictions, and shall have and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction as are or shall be prescribed for the courts of the several counties in this state.

SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That the courts of Bedford shall be held regularly by the justices of said county, on the fourth Mondays of December, March, June and September, annually.

SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of said county of Bedford, to hold an election at the place of holding courts in said county of Bedford, on the first Thursday and succeeding day in March next, for the purpose of electing one colonel and two majors for the said county of Bedford, under the same rules and regulations as are prescribed by law in similar cases; and the militia of said county of Bedford shall constitute the twenty eight regiment, and be attached to the fifth brigade.

SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the elections for company officers for the county of Bedford, shall be held at such places as the commandant of said county may think proper to appoint; which said elections shall be held on the fourth Monday in June next, under the same rules, regulations, and restrictions as are prescribed in like cases.

SECTION 6. BE IT ENACTED,That said county of Bedford, be a part of the district for electing a governor, representative or representatives to congress, electors to elect a president and vice-president of the United States, and members of the general assembly, to which it hath heretofore belonged, and that the elections be held at the place of holding courts in said county; at the time and in the manner by law directed, and that the sheriff or returning officer, make a return of polls at the court-house in the town of Jefferson, on the day next succeeding each election, to the sheriff or returning officer for the county of Rutherford, and upon comparing the votes, they shall declare the candidate for the representation of said counties of Rutherford and Bedford, who may have the highest member of votes duly elected, and give a certificate accordingly; and it shall be the duty of the sheriff of Rutherford County, to make the return for senator of said district, as heretofore directed by law.

SECTION 7. BE IT ENACTED, That the sheriff or collector of public taxes for the county of Rutherford, shall have full power, and authority to collect any taxes that are yet unpaid, from any person or persons in said county of Bedford, and to collect any money that may be due on writ of Fieri Facias, that is at this time in the hands of said sheriff of Rutherford County, in as full and ample a manner as if the said county had remained a part of Rutherford County.

SECTION 8. BE IT ENACTED, That said county of Bedford shall in all cases, be considered and remain part of Mero district and send two jurors to Mero superior court; and Rutherford County shall send two jurors less than formerly compelled by law to do.

Passed on December 3, 1807

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Bedford County Bibliography

PLEASE NOTE that the Tennessee State Library and Archives does not hold copies of all of the items listed in this bibliography. Please check the Tennessee State Library and Archives Online Catalog or visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives and verify we have an item in our collection. We will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.

Subjects :

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Bedford County in General
  • Bedford County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
  • Bedford County farm progress. Shelbyville, Bedford Co. Farm Bureau, 1942- 1949. 7 vols.
  • Bedford County historical quarterly. v.1, 1975-. (quarterly)
  • Bedford County Hist. Soc. Doors to the past: homes of Shelbyville & Bedford County. Shelbyville, Times-Gazette, 1969. 88 pp.
  • Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969. (Bedford County, Preliminary #5). Nashville, TSLA, 1968. 58 pp.
  • Bright, John M. Speech of John M. Bright, esq., against Know-nothingness, at Flat Creek, Bedford County. Nashville, G.C. Torbett & Co., 1855. 32 pp.
  • Cavender, Anthony P. A phonemic & phonetic analysis of the folk speech of Bedford County, TN. UT thesis, 1974. 51 pp.
  • Centennial celebration, 4th of July, 1876, at Shelbyville, Bedford County, TN. Chattanooga, W.I. Crandall, 1877. 31 pp.
  • Derryberry, Mary A. Growing up in TN. N.p., the author, 1995. 35 pp.
  • Faulkner, Charles H. Introductory report of the Normandy Reservoir salvage project: environmental setting, typology & survey. Knoxville, UT Dept. Anthropology, 1973. 534 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of TN (Bedford County, pp. 861-884, 1126-1189). Goodspeed, 1886.
  • Gordon, Robert. "Hunting lies & fishy stories from Bedford County." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 43 (1977), pp. 23-26.
  • Green, Ben A. Biography of the TN walking horse. Nashville, Parthenon Press, 1960. 236 pp.
  • Gunter, Charles R. Bedford County during the Civil War. UT thesis, 1963. 146 pp.
  • Helsley, Jodie W. The country doctor & his people, 1910-1923. Knoxville, the author, 1983. 88 pp.
  • Hutson, J. L. Old times in Bedford County, TN. Shelbyville, Lion's Club, 1934. 20 pp. (reprinted by Bedford Co. Hist. Soc., 197?).
  • An industrial brochure of Shelbyville & Bedford County, TN, prepared by the Chamber of Commerce. Shelbyville, Chamber of Commerce, 1958. var. pp.
  • Information-impressions of Shelbyville & Bedford County: a book of facts & data about our community. Shelbyville, Times-Gazette, 1988. 176 pp.
  • Isom, Wiley S. My village. N.p., the author, 1994. 174 pp.
  • Jacobs, Lucile F. Duck River Valley in TN & its pioneers. N.p., 1968. 124 pp.
  • One hundredth anniversary of the Thompson Creek Baptist Church House, 1889- 1989. Raus, the church, 1989. 11 pp.
  • Owsley, Harriett C., ed. "William Eakin's memoirs." THQ 23 (1964), pp. 269- 278.
  • Phase II archaeological investigations at site 40BD137 Bedford County, TN. MSU Dept. Anthrop., 1985. 54 pp.
  • A pictorial history of Bedford County, TN. Shelbyville, Times-Gazette, 1994. 160 pp.
  • Poplin, Richard H. "The letters of W. Thomas Osborne." THQ 22 (1963), pp. 152-169.
  • Poplin, Richard H. Silhouettes from walking horse country. Shelbyville, the author, 1969. 67 pp.
  • Records of the Church of Christ at Flat Creek, Bedford County, TN, 1868- 1981. Flat Creek, TN, the church, 198l. 12 pp.
  • Shelbyville Times-Gazette. Sesquicentennial historical edition 1819-1969. Shelbyville, Times-Gazette, 1969. 262 pp.
  • Smith, Dwight L. "An antebellum boyhood: the school days of Samuel E. Tillman." THQ 66 (1987), pp. 148-156.
  • Smith, Dwight L. "An antebellum boyhood: Samuel E. Tillman on a middle TN plantation." THQ 67 (1988), pp. 3-9.
  • Soil survey, Bedford County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1938, 1947. 120 pp.
  • Stewart, Rose T. Pioneer schools of Bedford County & their masters.
  • Talley, Thomas W. "De wull er de wust (The will o' the wisp)." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 66 (1992), pp. 14-37 (reprint)
  • TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Bedford County. 2 vols. Knoxville, TVA, 1934. var. pp.
  • United Confederate Veterans. TN Div. William Frierson Bivouac #8, Shelbyville. Minutes of Wm. Frierson Bivouac, #8, Shelbyville, TN. Shelbyville, 1974. 229 pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Chapel Hill, Rover, Fosterville, Webbs Jungle, Beech Grove, Farmington,
  • Unionville, Deason, Wartrace, Noah, Belfast, Bedford, Shelbyville,
  • Normandy, Ovoca, Belleville, Booneville, Cumberland Springs.
  • Wassom, Earl E. The rolling store. Unpub MS. 69 pp. Western KY U. Folklore, Folklife & Oral History Archives. (taped interviews with the operator of a traveling store in Bedford County, TN)

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Bell Buckle
  • Barr, Charlotte. The Bell Buckle years. Bell Buckle, Iris Press, 1992. 56 pp. (poetry).
  • Bell Buckle United Methodist Church. 100 years 1883-1993. Compiled by Mildred Locke. Bell Buckle, the compiler, 1993. various pp.

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  • History of Fairfield, TN, from 1796 to 1963. Eagleville, n.p., 1963. 21 pp.

  • Isom, Wiley S. My village. N.p., the author, 1994. 174 pp.

  • Cook, Jerry W. Historic Normandy, Bedford County, TN. Normandy, the author, 1976. 238 pp.

  • History of Rover & the 10th district of Bedford County. Rover, Rover Historical Society, 1986. 374 pp.

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  • Cogswell, Robert E. History of the First Presbyterian Church, Shelbyville, TN 1815-1965. Nashville, Parthenon Press, 1965. 279 pp.
  • A directory of greater Shelbyville: Shelbyville, TN, 1948. Prepared by Marshall & Taylor Directory Service, 1948. 112 pp.
  • An industrial brochure of Shelbyville & Bedford County, TN. Shelbyville, Chamber of Commerce, 1958. various pp.
  • Ingram, Joe M. The educational history of Shelbyville, TN, 1870-1954. George Peabody College thesis, 1954. 70 pp.
  • Jno. W. Ruth & Sons. The centennial anniversary of TN's oldest retail jewelry business: Jno. W. Ruth & Sons, Shelbyville, founded in 1822, one hundred years ago. Nashville, Baird-Ward, 1922. 32 pp.
  • Marsh, Timothy R. Shelbyville 1810: the beginning. Shelbyville, the author, 1992. 22 pp.
  • Shelbyville, TN city directory. US West Marketing Resources, Johnson Directory Division, 1990-. (various years)
  • Shelbyville Times-Gazette sesquicentennial historical edition, 1819-1969; turn back the clock 150 years. Shelbyville, Times-Gazette, 1969. 262 pp.
  • You can live & make a living in Shelbyville, TN: unlimited opportunities await the house seeker, investor, manufacturer or merchant. 1926. 16 pp. (reprinted from Merchant & Manufacturer, July, 1962).

Webb School
  • Holliman, Glenn N. "The Webb School junior room, the symbol of a school." THQ 36 (1977), pp. 287-304.
  • McMillin, Lawrence. The schoolmaker: Sawney Webb & the Bell Buckle story. Chapel Hill, NC, UNC Press, 1971. 186 pp.
  • Parks, Ed W. "Sawney Webb: TN's schoolmaster." NC Hist. Rev. 12 (1935), pp. 233-251.
  • Stokes, Walter, Jr. "The school maker: Sawney Webb & the Bell Buckle story." THQ 30 (1971), pp. 419-422. (an essay review)
  • Webb School in celebration of its 75th birthday. N.p., 1945. 48 pp.
  • Webb, William R. "Sawney Webb." Sewanee University Press, 1942. 16 pp. (reprinted from the Sewanee Review April 1942).

  • Homecoming '86: history of Wheel & the 18th district, prepared by Ed Perryman, Fay Neill Hurt, Jean Neill Rodgers. Wheel, Homecoming Committee, 1986. 155 pp.

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