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Bell Witch Character Biography

Drewry Bell (1796-1865)


Bell was one of the first people to experience an apparition of Kate, which came in the form of a giant, mysterious bird sitting on a fence by the road leading to the Bell home. When he fired a shot, the "creature" vanished without a trace. This apparition occurred only a short time after his father encountered a mysterious animal in the cornfield.

It is said that Drewry Bell lived his entire life in constant fear of Kate, and harbored extremely bitter feelings toward her because of Betsyís trials and tribulations.  Although he seldom spoke of Kate, he often referenced the physical and emotional torment his sister experienced at the hands of the malevolent force.

The third son of John and Lucy Bell, Drewry was born in Halifax County, North Carolina and spent his early childhood there before moving to Tennessee with his family.  A lifelong bachelor, Drewry Bell made his home across the Red River from the original Bell farm.  He became a successful farmer and amassed six slaves to help him.  It is not clear whether he owned the land he lived on, as the 1830 Federal Census lists him as owning six slaves but no land.

Drewry Bellís slaves built their own place of worship near his home, naming it ďBellís Chapel   After Bellís death, the church was physically moved across the Red River and placed on land near Keysburg Road.  A new building has long since been erected, but the frame and boarding of the original building remains in an adjacent thicket.

Drewry Bell died on New Yearís Day, 1865, and is presumably buried with his parents and several siblings in the old Bell cemetery near Adams, Tennessee.

In his last will and testament, he left Betsy twenty-five dollars ó five times the amount he left each of his other siblings.  It is interesting to note that four of the six siblings Drewry Bell left money to were deceased at the time his will was written, September 2, 1864. Perhaps he had "accrued" the other distributions, then rolled them into a lump-sum for Betsy (4 siblings @ $5 = $20, plus Betsy's standard $5 distribution = $25)?

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Last Update: July 03, 2024