The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
www.bellamybridge.org
The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

The Legend & True Story of Elizabeth Jane Bellamy

The legend of Bellamy Bridge revolves around what may well
be Florida's best known ghost story, the tale of a young woman
named Elizabeth Jane Croom Bellamy.

THE LEGEND

As the story goes, Elizabeth was the beautiful young daughter
of a wealthy North Carolina planter. She fell madly in love with a
dashing young doctor from her home state named Samuel C.
Bellamy. Her sister had already married Samuel's bother, Dr.
Edward C. Bellamy.

After a prolonged courtship of the time enjoyed in that day and
age by the young people of the planting aristocracy, the
couple's engagement and wedding plans were announced.

According to the legend, Samuel and Elizabeth - along with Ann
and Edward - had already decided to move to Florida and it was
there that Samuel built a magnificent mansion as a wedding
gift for his young bride. She was so taken with the home that
she asked if they could be wed in its rose gardens. Samuel
agreed.

The wedding took place, according to tradition, on May 11,
1837. Surrounded by the roses of the beautiful garden,
Elizabeth supposedly ended her vows with an extra line, "I will
love you always and forever. Never will I leave you."

The couple and guests retired inside the mansion for a
magnificent reception and ball. There was dancing, music,
food, drink and something for everyone. As was the custom of
the day, however, Elizabeth soon excused herself and retired
upstairs to the master's suite to rest. She sank down into a
cushioned chair and, surrounded by her luxurious gown, fell
soundly asleep.

The story-tellers say that while she was sleeping, her arm
knocked over a candelabra. Elizabeth awakened suddenly to
sensations of intense heat, light and pain.

Downstairs the party was in full swing when her shrieks were
suddenly heard from upstairs. As everyone turned to look, the
young woman came running down the staircase, engulfed in
flame from her head to her toe. Her husband and others tried to
save her, but she was so badly burned that she lingered only a
few days before passing away. Her last words, according to
legend, were "I will love you always and forever. Never will I
leave you."

Elizabeth, the story continues, was true to her promise. When a
depressed and alcoholic Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy took his own
life in Chattahoochee 15 years later, she rose from her grave
expecting to join with him to continue their journey together to
paradise. But Samuel never came.

Suicide victims in that day and age were not given status in the
church and he was buried in an unmarked grave in
Chattahoochee and forgotten. Elizabeth, believers say, walks
the swamps around Bellamy Bridge to this day in search of her
true love.

THE REAL STORY

Truth is sometimes more amazing than fiction. Samuel and
Elizabeth were real people. She was the daughter of a wealthy
North Carolina planter and he was a prosperous young doctor.

They were not wed in Florida, however, but in North Carolina.
And Elizabeth did not die of fire on her wedding night, but of
malaria contracted in Florida three years later. She lived long
enough, in fact, to give birth to a young boy named Alexander.
The child was 18-months old when Elizabeth died, three years
after she and Samuel were wed on her family estate in North
Carolina.

Samuel's private letters and an obituary that appeared in the
Tallahassee newspaper of the day indicate that Elizabeth died
on May 11, 1837, and that her little boy died seven days later,
also from the fever. She was only 18-years old at the time of her
death.

The rest of the story is true. Samuel did fall into the despair of
depression and severe alcoholism and he did take his own life
with a straight razor at Chattahoochee Landing fifteen years
after the death of his beloved bride. His last request that he be
buried by her side was ignored and he rests today in an
unmarked grave somewhere in Chattahoochee.

With the exception of the burning bride part - which was
blended into the story in the 1940s from an antebellum era
novel by Caroline Lee Hentz - the story is true. And the claims
that Elizabeth's ghost haunts the environs of Bellamy Bridge
have been around for a long, long time.

The oldest report of a ghost being sighted at Bellamy Bridge is
from a Marianna newspaper of 1890 that mentions the "lady of
Bellamy Bridge has been seen of late."

To read more a more detailed account of the legend and its
real history, please visit:
www.exploresouthernhistory.com/bellamybridge.

And don't forget to purchase a copy of
The Ghost of Bellamy
Bridge: 10 Ghosts and Monsters from Jackson County, Florida.

It is now available in print and Kindle formats and all proceeds
support the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail:
The "Other" Ghosts of Bellamy Bridge

Three other ghost stories are told about the
bridge and its vicinity. All originate from the
early 1900s and add an additional air of
mystery to historic Bellamy Bridge. They
surround three untimely deaths.
Click here to Read More!
Jackson County Spanish Heritage Trail

The site of Bellamy Bridge has been used
as a place for crossing the Chipola River for
hundreds of years. Spanish documents
indicate that the expedition of Marcos
Delgado crossed the river here in 1686.
Read about Marcos Delgado at Bellamy!
Battle of the Upper Chipola

An important battle of the First Seminole
War was fought near the Bellamy Bridge
Heritage Trail in March 1818. U.S. Creek
troops, led by Brig. Gen. William McIntosh,
attacked the Red Ground chief here.
Read about the Forgotten Battle.
History of Bellamy Bridge

The historic steel-frame bridge turns 100
years old in 1914 and stands on the site of
earlier wooden bridges that date back to
1851. The history of the bridge itself
provides a unique look back through time.
Read the History of Bellamy Bridge
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail

Learn more about the new Bellamy Bridge
Heritage Trail, print out the self-guided tour
brochure and take a look at photographs
and video of this great new Florida heritage
attraction!
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail Info
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