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Bell Witch Character Biography

Zadoc 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 south central Alabama soon afterward. About June of 1825, he moved 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.

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, 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  A descendant of John Bell, Jr., living in Maine, donated a copy of this letter to the Jean Durrett Collection of historical documents made available to the public. Mrs. Durrett was a  Robertson County, Tennessee educator and historian.

Sadly, the fever epidemic moved eastward, claiming the lives of many, including Zadok Bell. He was 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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Last Update: July 03, 2024