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Zadok Bell (1803-1826)

 

Zadok Bell had no known encounters with Kate.  Born in North Carolina just before his family moved to Tennessee, he would have been fourteen years old at the time the disturbances began.  Because he was being educated to become a lawyer, it is possible that he spent some of his adolescent years in a boarding school; however, the author has no proof of this.

Zadok completed his advanced education and became a bright lawyer, marrying Katherine Lawrence in Rutherford County, Tennessee in July of 1821 and moving to the “Montgomery Settlement” of southern Alabama soon thereafter.  Shortly thereafter, about June of 1825, he moved farther southward -- to Mobile, Alabama.  Finding a major fever epidemic, he set his course for the village of "Tallahassee," in Florida, to set up a law practice to serve the new Alabama-Georgia compounded territory and the southernmost part of Alabama.

Despite his absence from the rest of his family, Zadok Bell still managed to leave us with a treasure trove of information about his life, among which includes a letter, from Tallahassee, dated November 29th, 1825.  A descendant of John Bell, Jr., living in Maine, donated a copy of this letter to the "Jean Durrett Collection" of historical documents made available to the public.

A historian's transcription of this informative and well-written letter can be found in the Bell Witch group on Yahoo.  You must be a member to view messages posted to the club, but membership is free and easy.

Sadly, the fever epidemic moved eastward, claiming the lives of many people -- including Zadok Bell, at the age of 23.  Some allege that he is buried in the Bell cemetery near Adams, Tennessee, but stronger evidence suggests he is buried in Montgomery, Alabama, most likely in an unmarked grave.

 

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